Rubble set to go

A huge pile of rubble contaminated with lead has now been left next to a play park in Clifton for nearly eight months.

Contractors left the giant spoil heap on a patch of grass off Observatory Road in May, after carrying out drainage works at the play park nearby. 

Because of the lead, the soil has to be sent to a specialist site in Dudley, a town in the West Midlands, according to Green Councillor Paula O’Rourke, representing Clifton. Speaking at a Downs committee meeting on Monday, November 13, she said negotiations were ongoing.

She said: “There’s been a lot of discussion about who’s responsible for what’s going to happen, and there’s lots of different types of negotiations going on. We feel that we’re very close to reaching the point where the soil will be removed soon. I’m not 100 per cent sure who’s going to pay for it.”

The original plan was for contractors to remove some soil from the play park, and spread it across the Downs. But after they found out the soil was contaminated with lead, they left it in a fenced off pile next to the park.

Stuart Fenton, a Clifton resident, said: “Bristol [City Council] shouldn’t be getting away with what’s going on. They should have done due diligence on the site and had a ground investigation. We have a contractor who’s playing games.

“Bristol council is the landowner, the commissioning authority, and they have a public duty not to create a nuisance. To hell with the budget, they should sort this out. It’s unpleasant and it’s an avoidable scenario. It should be dealt with.”

Katy Grant, the other ward councillor for Clifton, has told the Voice that the council’s Parks department will fund the removal, which it intends to carry out early in 2024.

Includes reporting by Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service