The West of England - A BBC West Debate A Mayor for...

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For centuries, they Mayor has been the centre of municipal power. It


has been warned by Lord Mayor is for years, what a great privilege for me


to have it for one year. Now the people are collecting an additional


Mayor, for the West of England. What will that person do? That person


will be responsible for developing the economy of the region. Almost a


million of us from the great cities of Bristol and Bath to the busy


towns of Thornbury will choose at Metro Mayor. The winner will compete


with the northern Para has and the new Midlands engine, for jobs and


investment, for Bath, Bristol and beyond. First, they have to convince


the voters. I don't think we should have won. Waste of money. Would-be


employer may? I wouldn't mind having a couple of grand each month. The


long-term budget is ?1 million, control over jobs, transport and


where we live. There aren't enough decent homes, not nearly enough.


Fixing that will be right at the top of the new Metro Mayor's to do list.


From our safe harbours... To the dangerous waters of the River


Severn, can a Metro Mayor broaden our horizons?


Tonight, the six people who want to be Metro Mayor are here,


at the Bristol and Bath Science Park in South Gloucestershire.


In a special debate, we will be finding out who's got


what it takes to represent this vibrant part of the world on the


Hello welcome. It is good to be with you.


This is their interview with you, the voters.


Their chance to impress you as you make your


So, let's meet the people who want to be mayor


For the Conservatives, Tim Bowles, a councillor


For Ukip, Aaron Foot, who is a farmer.


The environmental consultant Darren Hall


She is a Diversity and Equality Manager for the NHS.


The only independent candidate is the businessman


and hospital chairman, that's John Savage.


And the ex-Bristol West MP and former government minister


Stephen Williams is standing for the Liberal Democrats.


I should does tell you that our audience tonight is made up of


community campaigners, local business people and supporters of


the candidates, some of their families are here as well and they


are welcome. Of course the political dynamic completely change this week


after the Prime Minister surprised us all by collie that General


Election. With that in mind, let's take our first question. The Prime


Minister is calling a surprise election in June, will this and


Brexit overshadow the role of the Metro Mayor and also the election in


itself, will it affect your focus on the job? My fears at the moment and


I am a Remainer through and through, is that this role is our safety net


and we need to make sure that whatever happens, the region and its


security is put at the top of the priority list. Whatever happens with


Brexit? All right, Tim Bowles, was Theresa May right to go to the


country and will it overshadow what we are doing tonight? We have been


asked how we think it will affect the election. I welcome the General


Election in that sense because I think it will help us raise the


profile of what is happening here. It will certainly mean we have more


media opportunities and I think it is a really positive thing for us to


be able to go and take our message is out. I voted to remain. Your


message to Theresa May is what? My message is to get the best deal for


the country and that is what will be working for. John Savage, are you


concerned about voter turnout? Yes I am. I think there is quite a lot of


voter boredom with politics in general and it is interesting how


quickly the magnet of central politics can draw the minds of


people away. This is a really unique opportunity. I think it strengthens


me to understand that we have got to make it work. The idea that we can


get more say about our own future is very important and it is a shame


that there has been this rather big hiatus. It is a spur to keep going.


Stephen Williams. I think it is a cynical and opportunist moved by the


Prime Minister to call an election, there is no pressing national reason


to do so. The only reason Theresa May is doing this is because she


recognises the fact that in Jeremy Corbyn led party, it is the best


scenario they could dream of in order to call a snap election. Three


years earlier than she needs to. In order to win a political advantage.


There is no pressing Brexit reason for doing so, it is simply naked


party advantage. However, are now in that situation


and the Liberal Democrats and myself and the selection will be putting


forward how we can still resist a Brexit, I am not in favour of a soft


Brexit, I think Brexit will be damaging to the regional economy. We


rely on our European partners for our trading links and if I am


elected as regional Mayor, I will be putting forward a case to put


forward to the Prime Minister to say this is what you need to protect us


against. It has put you on the spot, because you wanted to stand as a


candidate in Bristol as a Liberal Democrat and you're standing for


this, what would you prefer? I hope to win this election on May the 4th


and I think I have a good chance of doing so. And if I win this job, it


will actually be more important than a member of Parliament. I was a


member of Parliament for ten years. This is a huge opportunity for


someone to make a difference on the issues that used to frustrate me


when I was a councillor and an MP. I relish the challenge of winning this


position. So you would prefer this job? I would actually. Darren Hall.


I think you picked up a really important point, because the UK is


the most centrally controlled country in Europe and this is the


biggest opportunity in a generation that we have to have some control


back here. That has never been more important than now, when the


government are trying to set a autocracy up in London over the next


couple of years. People now have an opportunity on May the 4th to set


the scene for this region to be a beacon for equality, as opposed to


the kind of right wing mentality that we are getting from London at


the moment. And your views on Brexit? I would class myself as


European. I feel European and feel part of that family of countries who


were working together on a global scale. This idea that we are going


to go back to the Great Britain of old is completely ridiculous. We


need to work together on global problems. Don't think that we


support the people of this area by doing anything other than trying to


take positive steps. You would support Brexit? I am very clear that


we ought to have the opportunity to vote on what the deal is as part of


this process. We must move on. Lesley Mansell. Well, it is


affecting the election already because what we have found in the


Labour Party is that lots more people have got involved in the door


knocking and talking to people. It has really enthused the Labour Party


membership and the Co-op party membership. But I think it will also


do is hopefully in those more of the community to get involved. We have


found some people on the doorstep you are not quite sure about the


Metro Mayor but we are starting to get quite pointed questions asked of


us and so we should. I think we're in this position now because the


Conservative government have made a right hash of negotiations with the


Europeans, they have put their demands on the floor, on the table


and the European Union has said, we are not having that. 27 countries


have said we do not want that. Are you the person who can actually


mediate between the difficult political exchanges that there will


be? Well, I have been a trade unionist for 30 years now and one of


my fortes is trying to solve problems, to bring people together


and I can demonstrate how I have done that. You would do that with


the Conservatives as well? Absolutely. I have worked with them


as a local councillor. Aaron Foot. I think it is overshadowing it. We are


trying to get the message out of what the Metro Mayor is an people do


not know what it will involve, the powers that it will give us here in


the region and I think if we can try and engage with people and get the


fact that we will be taking on transport and housing and taking on


education and things like that, it would be an important message. It


has been overshadowed now by a government that wants a second


referendum technically on a General Election and I feel that the Tories


want to have a bigger mandate to have a soft Brexit. They don't want


to have a higher Brexit and they probably don't even want to have a


Brexit, they want to try and get the hard Brexiteers daily to down and


that is why they are pushing forward is to try and increase the majority


and I think it has been overshadowing the selection. You are


in favour of hard Brexit? I am a true Brexiteer. I would like to see


powers back to the people. Thank you. Let's take our next question


and it is from Richard Jordan. Good evening. What I would like to ask is


why do we need another Mayor with all the attendant staff and costs


and expenses? Particularly as the proposed Mayor does not include the


whole of the Greater Bristol area. Thank you for your question. Let's


talk to the Deputy Leader of North Somerset Council. North Somerset


have decided not to be part of the new Metro Mayor set up. Why is that?


Why aren't you joining not. I have to agree with the previous bigger.


We can see no reason for a Metro Mayor. We have worked perfectly well


with our colleagues in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. We have been


part of the West of England partnership. We worked on joint


transport, we have never had a quarrel in the ten years we have


been doing it and we have made real progress. There is ?1 billion of


government money over 30 years. That money, that part remains the same


but North Somerset is not part of it. Fine, we don't have a problem


with that because at the end of the day, the other local authorities are


going to have to borrow a great deal more than that


to be able to do things and we wouldn't want to be part of the


debt. Can I make one other point and that is that it is naive to think


that a Metro Mayor is going to tell the government what to do, the


government, whatever party it is, will tell the Metro Mayor what to do


or they will not give the money they think they are getting. Stephen


Williams, do you agree? I don't. It is a big mistake to opt out of this


arrangement and I think the residents will regret it perhaps


before their political leaders. In order to make this region work,


whoever is elected to this position will have to have a good


constructive relationship with all of our neighbours, certainly with


North Somerset but also with the historic county of Somerset,


Wiltshire and Gloucestershire as well. With the Welsh Government on


some issues as well, in order to rebalance the power of


decision-making away from our overcentralised system of government


that we have had for so long, to establishing strong leadership in


this region. The ?62,000 a year salary, is that


the beginning of it or is there more money? The important thing is it


actually makes somebody accountable for the investment and


opportunities, clearly defined in what those powers are. For us to be


able to start delivering for the region. The whole point of having a


regional mayors that we actually realise where there are strategic


roles, housing, transport, jobs and skill challenges, that allow us to


think collectively by working with our leaders to come up with those


solutions. That has to be done in a constructive way. It's one of the


things that has come out very much... It's another layer of


management, isn't it? The Tories are taking out managers from the NHS,


and putting them in. This is another layer? It's about making somebody


directly responsible for those strategic decisions, and somebody


who was then working with our leaders who are here this evening,


somebody who will have that skill and experience and expertise. That's


worth the extra money? None of us here on the stage today make any


decisions about the salary. Darren Hall, we have had a lot of anger


from viewers about this. Saying, what on earth do we need this


position for? I think, I have to say that North Somerset have made a


mistake. I agree, that in not being part of it, and the reason why is


that this area works as a system. Economists will talk about it as a


functional market area. People commute in and out of Bristol.


Because that is the way the system works. If you look at housing and


transport, part of the problem is because we have tried to break it


up. At the heart of some of the problems that are faced by this


functional market area. I'm pretty sure that by the time we get round


to, in four years' time, the voters of North Somerset will be saying to


their counsel, we had to be part of this agreement. We are being left


out. And you have said you will do it for half the money? What I have


said is that, why should I be paid more than the average of the region,


to highlight the fact that the average wage in this region is


around about ?30,000 a year. Its link to housing. If you want to try


to get a mortgage, four times ?30,000 a year does not enable you


to buy a house in this region. I don't think the average is dirty, I


think it's less. We have some other council leaders in our audience


tonight. -- I don't think the average is 30. The newly elected


Mayor of Bristol, are you worried that you might be big footed by one


of these guys? I'm not worried at all. What I need to hear from the


candidates are some clarity over how they see this position, relating to


the existing leaders of the authority. And the sovereignty


within our own authorities now. I have been concerned that some of the


language talks about coming in, being in charge, even just now I


have had a number of candidates talk about their relationship to


government with no reference to the existing authorities. We have an


elected ads leaders of our area with a mandate. I have said, one of the


most important qualities of the Metro Mayor will be a emotional


intelligence. Four of us, in terms of combined authority. We have


developed a coherent set of relationships. What we are saying,


anyone who comes in, you can't come in like a big but because actually,


we are here. If you disturb those relationships, it will cause a


problem. You will have to be very smart about this. One thing I


learned today is that you three will be the vice Metro Mayor. Of course.


I have been elected to Bristol, Tim has been elected to Baines, Matthew


is elected in self authorship. We are elected to run our authorities.


-- in South Gloucestershire. This is not just about legislative powers.


The areas over which you have control are quite limited. I want to


come back to the other two as well. But we must go back to the


candidates. Lesley Mansell, your thoughts? What I'm seeing on the


doorstep, people are sick of authority. They are struggling to


find decent housing and having to deal with the inequality in the job


market. The daily commute. This is an opportunity to bring somebody in


who will work with the three authorities, as Marvin Rees has just


outlined, to try and get a better deal not just for one group within


the area but with everyone in the area. John Savage? This conversation


just proves that this is not a job for a conventional politician. It's


wrong. I must say, I absolutely understand the point about


respecting the other elected people. It is absolutely right. This is a


job to make it work. Let's be fair, you say you work together. You have


all over 30 years, and I in my business group have tried to do


things, failed to have ambition. If you have failed to do enough. You


have! By our standards, if it was not for my group, we would not have


developed harbour-side, we would not have gotten the shopping centre. You


are too slow. I admit that it is not about bossing you around, but you


need is support. I've been elected for one year. Let's talk to Tim


Warren and Matthew Riddle. Do you accept that? You have been slow and


you need a mature man to come along? That's total rubbish. -- you need to


a Metro Mayor. We are a team. We get on well. Three of us sitting at this


table. We are conservatives, Marvin is Labour. You would not know. We


want to move things on. I don't know if anyone knows how the voting


system works, but Mayor cannot come along and dictate. They will have to


work with us. Will you be able to get along? I think there is one


point, by the sound of it. I'm happy to work with anybody to advance the


South Gloucestershire and the West of England. Whoever is elected, we


will work closely and meaningfully with anybody to make this work.


Aaron Foot? I think you're quite right. It's about facilitating a


roll and listening to the people, working with leaders of all three


areas. We can't forget North Somerset. They are still in this


area, it has Bristol Airport and Avonmouth. We can't forget them. We


have to work and facilitate the role. This is where direct democracy


comes in. Why would you facilitate North Somerset when they don't want


to join in? Because they are still part of the greater area. You still


have to listen to them. We had to work as a coherent team. You would


like more referendums? Yes, I would like more say. What sort of


referendum? It depends what people want. More bus services, cheaper bus


services, no park and ride in Bathampton Meadows? Let's have our


say. Tim? My whole philosophy and everything I have done in work,


socially and politics, has been about working together. That is the


only way we do get good results. I am very lucky to have worked with


Matthew and him very closely for a long time. I know they work closely


with Marvin, and I know they get, from everything I hear, they work


really well together. It is critical that somebody joins you as a team,


and works together will stop by doing that, we will get the right


decisions on this key things, transport and housing. You could


work with them. Could you also work with a Labour government? Yes,


because ultimately we will be going along on behalf of everybody here.


In this room. With these three leaders, to make our case for the


right things for the future of the West of England. Stephen Williams.


You need to be a diplomat for this job. You have to get along with


these people and the government. And put the West country's case. They


have been less than flattering about some of your opponents? You do have


to be a diplomat in order to make a success of this job. In all the time


I have been politics, I have worked with people from other parties.


Going right back to when I was a very young councillor in the early


90s. I worked with Labour, Conservatives. Can you remind us of


your words about some of your fellow candidates? One of the things I


think the public are looking for in this election is, can they spot a


candidate who has got ideas about what they want to do? Can they


communicate what they want to do? It's really an insult to the


electorate, putting them up. That's what you said. You've never seen


such a... I use the word. I can tell you. Some of the party members of


the Labour candidates are even more disparaging to me in person about


their choice of candidate. I was simply reflecting that. In this job,


you have to work with people across political parties and I have done


that including a national government. Let's turn out to some


of the key powers that one of these candidates will have. Just a quick


show of hands, in the audience. How many of you came here by bus


tonight? I thought it might be. We have got one. I did not know there


was a boss running here. I don't know how you did it, but well done.


That brings us neatly to the subject of transport. Here is false report


from Robin Markwell. -- here is our first report. Westman, what West


Mayor? Do you know about that, the Metro Mayor? The Metro Mayor. No.


Some of the cab drivers at Bristol Temple Meads were still in the dark


over this new politician. Yet he or she will play a key role in tackling


some of the worst gridlock the country. What the traffic like here?


Horrendous. Very poor. Very hard to drive around. 40 years I've been a


cabbie. Last five or six years, it's been a nightmare. The winning


candidate will have to devise a transport plan for the region. They


will have control over key roads as well. That could mean a clean air


zone all a congestion charge. There is power over the buses. Handing out


franchises, if operators fail. What you think of public transport?


Really awful. Nothing is on time. The standard of service? No. There


don't seem to be enough buses and you can't actually tell when they


are going to arrive. The timing is bad. The price is increasing. It's


not great. It used to be 70p for a ticket, then 80p, then a pound, then


?1 20. It's going up too much. This government is ripping us off! Along


with the power comes money. A promise of 30 million a year for 30


years to spend on infrastructure. Then there's the chance to raise


more by increasing taxes on business. So who can get our region


moving again? Now that is the billion pound question. Thanks to


Robin and our next question. On transport, that comes from Becky


Farmer. Good evening. I appreciate that there is no easy solution to


traffic congestion. If we need to get more traffic of our roads, why


can't we invest in an underground metro system? A tube, you mean? That


would be ambitious. John Savage? There are two things, in particular,


the cost. A tube would be enormously expensive. Our peculiar and


wonderful geography would make it quite difficult. It's a nice idea


but don't think it is the answer. There are answers, the existing work


that is being done is laudable. It goes some way to making change. But


there are other answers. I think I saw this tube, a tram, to certain


parts would be very useful. There are some other tricks. We do not


have public transport in England, in the UK, and we have to find ways of


making public transport more accessible. I do not think there is


any point in punishing car drivers, but we might use the car drivers


requirement to use their vehicle to help us pay for a system that would


get more people. A congestion charge. How would you get motorists


to pay? The guy we supported that. What we said was, the alternative


must be in place first. You talked of having a tram? Yes, there are


some obvious routes. How would you pay? From a combination of


investment, I think we would have a congestion charge. In the end, yes.


You haven't got the power is as much magic do that? A lot of this is


about negotiating new ways, change, a vision about how things should be


different. If we keep doing the same things we will get the same answers.


Lesley Mansell? In actual fact, there is already money coming into


this region to try to deal with the congestion. It has gone to the


authorities already mentioned. Some of that is about trying to get


people out of cars and onto public transport. What public transport?


There is lots we need to do about it. For example, make it greener so


it is less polluting. For me, we have to start thinking outside the


box. If we are going to make big changes, I think we should bring in


more flexible working. Not just about public authorities, but


businesses doing that as well. That could make a real difference. I


worked on a project at Bristol council a few years ago, one of the


big things to come out of that was the opening of the library on a


Sunday. It benefited an awful lot of people. I think if we have flexible


work we can make a lot of difference. On the actual


infrastructure, what would you do as a Labour candidate?


I would fill in the pot holes for a start. If you are psychos, it is a


nightmare. I thought you wanted underground trance. -- if you are a


psychologist. In Nottingham and they levied a charge on people parking at


work and what they did was they provided their service with that. I


think that will be something that will be looked at. You would look at


a tram system? There are lots of things we would look up but it would


depend what would work in different areas. Maybe that would work. I must


rush on. The only applause we have got is when you mentioned potholes.


Tim. Unfortunately, potholes will not fall under the remit of the


Mayor. The really important thing here. You could put the money into


pothole repairs. I know that our councils are investing a lot of


money in pothole repairs and I am not going to talk about that. Tell


me what you would do with public transport. We have to look at the


region, underground I don't think it will solve challenges. To solve


those problems, we need to have a whole host of integrated transport.


And the key again will be working with our council leaders and with


business importantly. Who would pay for it and what would it look like?


I am happy to go on to that. In different areas we will need


different solutions. We do need to invest in rail taking people off the


roads, improves air quality and improves our journey times. We need


to invest in what I call pinch points to look at how traffic flows.


When there is no one on the roads and I touched on this in an event


last week, during school holidays, transport is a lot easier. We need


to look up where those pinch points are and


invest in in the new strategic roads that we need to take that traffic


away and keep things moving. It needs to be a combination of new


rail, improved bus services, strategically and key road networks.


What about the congestion charge? No. It is not falling under our


remit. Stephen Williams. Candidates have to promise something realistic


and I do not think an underground system is realistic in our area but


there are lots of things we could do and we have missed out from doing in


the past. We need to make our buses more efficient by moving away from


pain by coins and notes to a cashless system so that you speed


them up along the main arterial roads. That will help contribute to


better air quality as well. There are railway stations that could be


reopened. And I am in favour of the clean air zone, air quality ought to


be a public health, it is a public health disaster and it ought to be a


major issue in this election. What about a congestion charge would you


ban diesels? Diesel is the problem because of the fine matter that is


admitted by diesel vehicles that deeply penetrate your lungs and the


NHS now says causes more premature deaths in our region than people who


are killed in road traffic accidents. I used to campaign


against tobacco, everyone gets up reading in tobacco


is bad for you and causes respiratory problems. Diesels, you


have not got the powers, but you could negotiate and try to ban them?


What I said in my manifesto is that this is an example whether regional


Mayor working with the council leaders would ask central government


for the ability to raise a charge of commercial vehicles especially or to


move to cleaner fuels. Darren Hall, this is your specialist subject.


What would you do? One point to say, thank you Becky for being so


ambitious in raising something that big and that is what we need, we


need big ideas for transport, because our thinking is as


gridlocked as our roads at the moment. What we have is a road


system with other bits of transport bolted on, so beware of politicians


bringing bold promises to meetings like this, because the reality is


over the next four years, this will be about setting a slight change in


direction of travel, so those cashless payment systems, I have


been to see about bringing in cleaner buses, but what we really


should be talking about is a transport revolution that looks at


the system which is based around non-car travel. And renew plea


powered automated vehicles, we should be looking 20 or 30 years


out. Is there anything you could deliver in your first 100 days? Yes,


I think there are a few things. Give me one example. We must aim to have


that cashless system across all the buses in the entire region. I


understand that that is very nearly available. If we have just got the


will to get all of the bus companies talking to each other. Aaron Foot. I


think we need to look at transport. It is strangling businesses here in


the West and it is also not making us want to go out or Explorer. We


have bus networks that don't really work. What is the answer? The answer


is a coherent system. We cannot penalised diesel cars. We have had


incentives to use diesels. We shouldn't be penalising diesel cars


because that is what we were told to use. You want to end the war on the


motorist. We want a coherent system, traffic lights that integrate with


the next set, roundabouts that actually work and not stalling card.


If we can get people moving and reduce congestion, then we will


reduce smog and pollution. General question for you all, you will have


some authority over the buses, you will have the power to nationalise


the bus services if you so wanted to do so. Who would be in favour of a


radical change on the buses? John Savage, yes? Would you bring them


in-house? I would get them to work better and I would make sure that we


looked at the possibility. Leslie, is that nationalisation on your


agenda? Absolutely. I would like to see bus companies like in London.


They have a mixed system and that is what we need to look at. The other


thing we need to look that is free bus passes for young people, 16-19,


it is a burden for them, some having to give up college courses. You


would subsidise that. Yes. What about the 15-year-olds? The would


pay. Young people having to stay at school until they are 18 so they


should be subsidised and have free passes. The more people who use


buses, the cheaper it gets for everyone. It works as a system and


that is the key point. How many of you use the bus? Hands up. A couple


of honest people. Thank you. If just joining us, you might have guessed,


this is not Question Time and I am not David Dimbleby, sadly, but


tonight we are hosting a special debate dedicated to the elections


for the West's first Mayor on the 4th of May. This Mayor will be


responsible for Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset. You can join in


the debate on Twitter. This Mayor will also have an important role in


delivering the homes we need. Here is again. -- here is Rob and again.


If you want to see the scale of our housing crisis, head over the bridge


to Wales and there you will meet people priced out of the West's


booming property market. Specialist heart nurse Joanne Dow used to live


in Bradley Stoke but rising rents forced to move back. As a public


sector worker, it was really hard to make ends meet, especially as a


parent with two children. Her monthly weren't went up ?200 in two


years and she downsized twice before giving up. She moved her job to a


hospital in Wales. I think it is wrong that the landlords just put


the rent up so much. If you did have to move because you could not afford


to stay where you are going, their houses go so quickly. People are not


actually viewing them, they are just taking them up straightaway. House


prices rose 10% in Bristol last year. Bath was not far behind. They


haven't built enough property for a very long time to satisfy demand and


what they may have built is not enough and not always in the right


locations or if it is in the right locations, not enough infrastructure


as well. But the housing has to go somewhere. The green fields around


Thornbury have caught the eye of developers but plans to double the


size of the town have angered residents. Developers feel they have


got the green light now to come here and they are circling like hyenas


around the lucrative plots and it is proper driven. The type of houses


being built here are speculative development largely sold under the


banner of three to five bedroom executive housing for commuter


traffic. This West Mayor will help decide how many homes we need and


where they go. But with limited Brownfield sites and plenty of green


belts, the winner faces an unenviable task. This is so


important to many of you and we had a lot of questions on housing from


our viewers and indeed, from the audience here. We had to pick one


and we came up with Mary Walsh. Hello. New homes are desperately


needed. I ask, will he ever is elected Mayor commit to protecting


our green belts and so protecting small villages around Bath and


Bristol? That is important to you. Yes it is. We shall we start with,


Aaron Foot from Ukip? As a farmer, I see how valuable green and open


spaces are. I will protect them, they need protective or mental


well-being and for why lie. It is there for us to enjoy, we should not


be putting concrete on them. But we have a housing crisis in the West


Country. I feel we should work together with all the leaders and


look at building upwards, not ours. We should also work with the people


of the West Country and find Brownfield sites and see where


developers are not building on them. Developers are


refusing to on Brownfield sites because it is too costly. We need to


work together as a group and work and put pressure on the developers.


John Savage. It is an obscenity that there are so many people who cannot


find somewhere to live and that is the basis for doing anything in your


life. It is a perfect example of the fact that for 30 years or more we


have not built on of houses. They are not blaming these guys. They


should not take it personally, they have been around for two or three


years, I have dealt with councillors were 30 years but it is an


obscenity, it is a basic need and I am


talking to developers who understand that there is this terrible


conundrum about building on grass and they are prepared to do


different deals. They are prepared to work with us to make changes. But


you would build on the green belt? I would build firstly wherever we


could find land that is easy to develop. In the end, we will have to


build on some grass, but the mistake I would not make is just building


houses. We have to build hold communities. We have to provide


doctors surgeries, libraries and play feels and so on and there is


talk about just building houses and that is wrong and it comes from a


complete lack of vision. Have you got any green belt in mind that


this? There are pieces of grass that we could build on, running


north-east and South West without actually building into the wetlands.


Let's face it, if you look at the map of Bristol in 1830 and see the


way it was built up and you look at it in 2000, it has changed and it


will go on changing because people come here. Tim Bowles. Do you agree


with John Savage that actually there is green land around and why do we


build on it? I agree with the question of what we have got to be


doing is actually protecting our villages, protecting our existing


communities. The answer as I see it is for our focus on the region,


working with our council leaders, is to be bringing those Brownfield


sites to market, working with developers, working with the council


leaders, developing a housing development fund that will actually


help us start speeding is up. What sort of target would you have with


the number of homes? The joint strategic plan is looking at 105,000


homes over the next 20 year period and that is what we would he looking


to. Obviously you will go to the Brownfield sites, you will go there


first, of course you would, but if it came to it, would you say that if


they field that would make a useful contribution to our housing needs?


We have to be building where the homes are going to be close to jobs,


close to communities, where we are able to build on that. Where we can


provide the infrastructure. On the green belt? The priority will be


developing the Brownfield. We have said that. Then we will work with


council leaders on identifying the other sites that we can bring to


market. Lesley Mansell, is the green belt


precious to you, or could it be used by people who need him? I live in a


village and the development I have seen around me is lots of houses but


not enough social housing. That's a real problem. Where building lots of


houses but quite often people are not living in them. If you look at


the harbour-side development down in Bristol, people in Malaysia,


business people there sought a great investment it was. But what we're


finding is people can't afford those properties. Prices are not so much


in this area that you need to have 12 times your earnings to be able to


afford one. APPLAUSE What would you do? I would look at


the rental sector. Putting caps on rent. They are going sky-high. What


we also find is the quality of renting property is quite poor in


some places. I would work with a developing agency, who are


developing a fair rental Charteris of people have a decent home to live


in. Not just one they can afford. -- rental charter. If you actually cap


rents, would that mean the supply of rented accommodation would go down?


I'm not sure it would in Bristol. We have a situation where over the last


15 years, the rate of home ownership has reduced to 52%. That's colossal.


There's a huge demand for rented accommodation. That's why you need


more. Absolutely, but we need more social housing as well. Over the


last year, Marvin Rees who was not yet been met for a year has already


committed to build council houses. We have seen that in Stroud were a


Labour council is building social housing. What we have not seen is


the Tories doing that all the Lib doing that. And on the green belt?


What we need to look at is the quality green belt, and then if we


do build on it, to build... To make sure we have something to appraise


that. So if necessary, you would, if it meant getting it housing the


element of the ground? There's another issue we saw in Radstock


weather was a developments, they came in, the builders were going to


do all sorts, as soon as they got planning applications they change


their minds. You'd want to make sure developers were held to what they


say they are going to do. APPLAUSE Stephen Williams. I think everyone


agrees there should be a presumption that you build on Brownfield land.


That in itself is an obvious political statement. How do you


develop that land, you develop it intensively. In some cities that


means high rises, in places such as bar. Where that might not be


suitable, but rather places such as Bath. In Bath? I'm saying, you


shouldn't build them in Bath. The Victorians got it right. That's why


you should use urban land. But the housing market at the moment, towns


like Thornbury feel a certain type of housing is being built. That does


not serve the local community. I would say, that the four members of


the command authority, this is a pure example of one all of us will


have to agree. Balanced and sustainable communities means single


bedroom units, two bedroom units. Families and single people can


aspire to live in their hometown. You also have got to get the


transport right. There is no point in expanding Thornbury or Yates, or


piece down St John, if people cannot get the bus along a 38 to get to


work in Bristol or elsewhere. We have got to plan holistically.


APPLAUSE I'm going to pursue as I did the


others. Would you build on the green belt? I don't think it is necessary,


as long as you build in towns and put infrastructure in the same place


at the same time. As I have said in my manifesto, in Thornbury there is


a freight railway line we should reopen. Darren Hall? I think we


actually need to change the conversation. With great respect to


my colleague, it's... Please answer the question! The thing is, the


question is about using the market to build more of the same. Executive


homes on the green belt that they can sell for half a million. We have


this slightly bizarre government idea that if we can reduce the price


of these things by 20%, it suddenly makes them affordable. That is not


affordable housing. The only way we are going to solve some of the


social housing crisis that we have is by building social housing. I'm


on the board of the community land trust, the way we make that


affordable is the shared ownership. We have to change the nature of this


conversation. We don't need to build on the green belt. I will say


another thing. What is great about the green belt campaign is coming


forward is that they have ideas for Brownfield sites that could work. I


spoke to the Hanham green belt group and said anyone can come up with an


idea. It's persuading people to have them on their own doorstep, isn't


it? It's about who you're asking to build the herbs. If you go to


developers say we would like you to build here, they will say no. I


really want to support what Marvin is doing a Bristol now. We will


build houses for ourselves. On our own land. Social housing, affordable


housing through community land trusts and housing associations. To


radically change the system. APPLAUSE


Last word with Aaron Foot. You say you want to prioritise social


housing or low-cost housing for local people. What does that mean?


Whose local? Local people who were priced out of villages, towns, even


Bristol and Bath. People from generations that cannot afford


houses. I wondered when I read that, does that mean no migrants? It


doesn't mean that. It means we should be looking after our people


that are born in our towns and Burgess first. We should be housing


them in flats, smaller houses. We should not be building a least three


and four beds. We need to restart the small housing scheme and held on


Brownfield sites. Time is flying. Leslie, one last word. In Bristol


there are 7000 planning applications gone through and nothing has


happened with them. In veins there are 4000. But Roker in Bains. There


have lots delay occurred been lots of applications but nothing


happening. You can't force developers? Its pricing people out.


I have already set out what I want to do, looking at capping rents to


make sure we build more social housing so people can have access to


it. Thank you. Our final question comes from Catherine. Hi. We hear a


lot in the media and from politicians about the Northern


powerhouse and the Midlands engine. Yet the West of England has got the


most successful economy anywhere outside of London in the UK. As the


first West of England Metro Mayor, what would you do to raise the


region 's profile and what would you call the region? What would you do


to raise the profile and what would you call our region? Who wants to go


first? All I will go for it. This is at the heart of one of the


most important roles of the mayor of the West of England, the vision and


strategy, over the horizon thinking that we need for this area. The


government are making it all about economic growth. Whereas I think one


of the most important aspects for asked to show leadership is to make


this region one of the most equal in the UK. In a more equal society,


everyone does better. But, I think the real opportunity in the West of


England to use our engineering expertise, our legal expertise, I


financial expertise, is to lead the world in the next generation of


smart urban living. I would like to see us being the gateway city, so


that's where I would start. APPLAUSE A reminder, all of the money coming


from the government is conditional on their being economic growth as a


result. So you would be prepared to promote economic growth? We know


that trickle-down doesn't work. We have to talk about... We have to


talk about prosperity. Meaning more than just profit and GDP. Otherwise,


we have got to get beyond that. That is one area where I think we have to


challenge the government and actually, the people of Bristol and


Bath agree with that. You have made that point. Just a three-day


weekend, would we get that? In the green manifesto. Productivity goes


up when we work less hard. John Savage? This is the point. We are in


competition with cities in Europe who may not be our friends very


soon. We are in competition with our own big cities and yet we have been


the most successful city region outside of London for donkeys years.


We still do not perform well enough. There is nothing wrong with profit.


Appropriate profit works, it pays for your pensions. But we have to


have an understanding of how we can make it work for everyone. I


absolutely believe that everybody should benefit. It is about the


economy. We have the best chance of improving the economy of a place in


the UK of any place here. And yet, we play at it. It is the answer. We


must push what we are good at and push it hard. So we have the best


chance of improving the economy of a place in the UK of any place here.


And yet, we play at it. It is the answer. We must push what we are


good at and push it hard. So we had to sell it into our own country and


into Europe and the world. It's called the west of England,


therefore the West of England. Can you think of something more snappy


than that? It's not the whole west and actually. Lots of the Westerman


and is not included in this. That's the conundrum. It's Greater Bristol


Bath, isn't it? My authorities in Manchester -- nine authorities in


Manchester got together and they are happy to call themselves greater


Manchester. They're getting on with the job. I think the title is not


the most important thing here. The most important thing is thinking


about what the Metro Mayor can do with the four local authorities. It


isn't just the ferry. There is some are set to consider as well. For me,


the big issue is to take this forward while we have to work


together. The electric need a clear choice here. Now we have an


opportunity to kick out these austerity policies, the once brought


in by the Conservative government, and backed up by the Lib Dems in


coalition. We have an opportunity to pick prosperity. That's what's


happened in Iceland and I think we can do that here as well. We have a


massive opportunity to do something different and I think that's what


I'm prepared to do. I'm not a career politician, and a person get things


done. That's what I will continue to do as much on there. One of the big


roles would be as an ambassador. See Donald Trump takes his ride in the


Golden carriage at the Moore and says I would like to visit the West


of England. Would you meet him? I would absolutely welcome him. When I


worked for Bristol City Council I wanted to welcome the President of


South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Unfortunately that did not happen


but I think I would have been fantastic for our black communities.


They are being paid 10% less than white people. But you would shake


his hand as an ambassador for the West of England? OK. Tim Bowles. My


approach for this role would be about being positive, looking to the


future and having to drive our economy forward. By doing that, we


would ensure we get the jobs to help everybody throughout the region. In


our very diverse economy, so we have lots of things we are really good


at. We have got to drive forward the Digital agenda, focus on our


high-tech engineering and aerospace hubs. We have got to focus on our


small businesses as well. I will make sure we are working on all of


those things, delivering that growth will help us then in terms of


attracting the extra funding but we all know we need to deliver the


transport improvements. As the only person here who is currently working


in a leadership role with the council, we have got to remember the


key thing to this is working with these guys here. I'm going to Bishoo


on the name. I've said all along, it has to be about working with the


council leaders. We'll sit down at that out ourselves. That's not very


snappy, working with the council leaders! We are a really strong


team. That's what I'll be promoting. We'll do that. Come on Stephen, give


us a name. The question is right. This region has been overshadowed


for far too long compared to other regions which are punched above


their weight because they worked together in order to promote their


local brand. I used to get fed up with ministerial colleagues in


government talking about Silicon roundabout, which is quite a small


place in East London. Could you know, the biggest concentration of


silicone and high-tech businesses outside California is here? Here in


Bristol, Bath and Swindon. That's why we need this position, to get us


working together. To have someone who can champion the West of England


and say this is what we are great at. To answer your question, Bristol


and Bath together, I think could be a powerful world beating brand.


Whether you go in the world, somebody has heard of Bristol Bath,


I want to bring them closer together. So that's part. Aaron


Foot, quickly. I want to bring in the northern powerhouse. But I would


look to put the name out to the people. I think the people of the


Westerman and you come up with some ideas of a name. And create a brand.


Then we can push forward with the West of England. You suggesting a


referendum? LAUGHTER I'm not sure we can stand it. No, I'm suggesting


democracy. We have technology, let's use it. Thank you all so much. I'm


afraid our time is up. My thanks to all our candidates and to our


audience here tonight. The debate continues online using our hashtag,


West Mare. You can find more information on our website. The West


Maverick is being held the same night as the local council election


-- the West Mare. If you miss out on the election, don't worry. There


will be another one along soon. For now, that's it from us, he at the


Bristol and Bath science Park. Thank you very much for watching. Sleep




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