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Our 2016 favourites: Cable news

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REPORTS: academies, air pollution, chocolate factory, developers, devolution, education, energy, fossil fuels, university of bristol

A few of the Cable’s favourite news articles that we’ve worked on in 2016.

This year the Cable has made a real effort to publish more, and more regularly. Although the print edition is great for unpacking some of the big issues in the city and the long-term trends starting to arise, we wanted to be able to respond quicker and stronger, so that means more reporting as well as our regular features.

It means we’ve been able to keep up with stories as they develop, add to the debate with new and interesting information and, we hope at least, influence the outcome. Whether it’s ructions in the planning system, local people challenging the takeover of their school or the ongoing collapse of Bristol city council, our reporters have been getting out into the world and trying to tell you what’s going on.

 

‘Save our School’: Winterbourne International Academy

What’s it about?

Winterbourne International Academy is a high-performing school which, after successive years of mismanagement, has found itself on the cusp of a takeover by an academy chain – and the parents, teachers and pupils are determined to fight the move.

Why did we like it?

The government’s policy for education is based on getting more and more schools to become part of academy chains. The campaign at WIA to maintain community influence on their secondary school is likely to be the first of many. 

 

Revealed: Developer’s huge price hike and outdated profit calculations

What’s it about?

The new housing development at the Chocolate Factory wasn’t going to provide any affordable housing because it wouldn’t be profitable to do so. But obtaining a copy of the secret viability report showed that Generator Group would be making plenty of money from the site.

Why did we like it?

It really shows the power of transparency. Everyone knows that developers routinely downplay their profits in order to avoid having to build affordable housing. But because Adam was able to A) Confirm that fact, and B) Publicise it, the developer got a tonne of flack, the planning decision was delayed and will likely have to include more affordable housing next time, and even better, the Council passed a motion to make these kinds of reports available routinely.

 

Notes from City Hall: Metro Mayor marches onwards

What’s it about?

‘Devolution’ is supposed to be about giving power to the regions in the form of a Metro Mayor. Despite the plans being barely developed and broadly unpopular, the proposals passed though the Council in July with barely a whimper.

Why did we like it?

It was clear when writing this that the government were pushing councils into a ridiculous timetable for approving the plans. As a result there was very little scrutiny or analysis of what the plans were, with most other publications simply re-reporting the press releases at face value. This is where the Cable shines. When everyone else was cheerleading, I felt like I had to criticise.

 

Decision time for Lawrence Hill power station

What’s it about?

A small power station in Lawrence Hill bounced through the planning applications system for months. Why was it controversial? Because air quality in the area is already dangerously poor, the environmental studies were questionable and the power plant was to be situated next to a children’s nursery.

Why did we like important?

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The Laurence Hill power station plan had been proposed, withdrawn, and then proposed again, and the Cable reported on it throughout. Luckily, the plan was rejected.

 

 

Breaking: Uni body votes to divest £3 million in fossil fuels

What’s it about?

Last July the Cable ran a story about the University of Bristol’s investment, showing that a supposedly ‘ethical’ investment charter still allowed public money to be ploughed into companies guilty of corruption, malpractice and out of control executive pay.

Why did we like it?

It’s a story that’s almost come full circle. First came divestment campaigns nationally, the Cable finds the facts and crunches the stats, activists pick them up and apply pressure to the University, and after a narrow defeat last year, this year the University of Bristol Court passes a motion to withdraw investment from fossil fuel companies. I hope you’re looking forward to an article next year where we check up on their progress divesting!

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Read more on: academies, air pollution, chocolate factory, developers, devolution, education, energy, fossil fuels, university of bristol

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