PICTURES: 'Angry' campaigners rally to support Old Mill Road businesses
PUBLISHED: 14:20 07 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:21 07 November 2017
An estimated 1,000 people turned out to voice their anger at plans to redevelop an industrial area in Portishead.
A second march to show solidarity with Old Mill Road businesses was held on Saturday – coinciding with Standard Life Investments showcasing its plan to transform the area to provide flats and leisure facilities.
The large crowd, armed with banners, placards and signs, congregated outside the Folk Hall before marching in support of businesses who face being turfed out when their leases end in 2019.
Standard Life wishes to build 350 flats, a cinema, gym, shops, bars, restaurants and cafés at Old Mill Road and held two public consultation events last week.
The events were seen as an opportunity by a large proportion of the community to make their voices heard.
Patrick Gardner, owner of T&G Woodware in Old Mill Road, was pleased with the ‘very successful’ turnout.
In a letter to the Times, he said: “The turnout was very well received with more than double our previous attempt.
“Again the march was attended by our town councillors and many well-informed people who have anticipated the problems this development will create.
“With more time we would have achieved 2,000 people but the agenda was set by Standard Life which is desperately trying to appease a very angry populace who see the Old Mill Road development as a conflict of interest to the town’s needs.
“At the end of the march, outside the library, Standard Life had its presentation and if I were to say that exaggeration was used that would be understatement.
“It has one goal: get the planning with very little restriction. What it leaves behind will not be good for Portishead.
“Portishead is now over-developed having had more than 4,000 homes built within a town which had a population of just over 11,000 and very little addition to the infrastructure.
“This development will not touch this issue. The railway cannot be included in any plans until there is a more substantive advance, although Portishead is desperate for the trains to come.
“This march of 1,000 Portishead residents should send out a very strong message to, not only the developers, but also, the members of North Somerset Council planning committee and the relevant officers.”