Gisella Sobarasua -- begins her campaign to save the Robin Hood Chase
Gisella Sobarasua is an active campaigner who has lived in St Ann's since 1972, and feels strongly that the identity of our neighbourhood should be preserved.
After the slum clearance program of 1971 the area was left with far fewer green open spaces, shops & pubs, and Gisella told me today that she did not want the local community to lose them with the Council intending to build new houses on the land.
Over the last week Gisella Subarasua has been gathering signatures for a petition to prevent up to 18 new houses being built on the site of the Robin Hood Chase Shopping precinct as part of the latest regeneration scheme. So far over 220 local residents have signed her petition.
Gisella has now set up a face book page to campaign to keep the Robin Hood Chase as a community open space free from housing development; & have many new shops along with a supermarket built on land at the front of the Chase facing St Ann's Well Road for easy public access.
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Gasella imagined what the Robin Hood Chase would be saying right now if the shopping precinct had a voice:
"I am The Robin Hood Chase Shopping Precinct in St Ann's. I have been here in the St Ann's since 1972 and now there is a threat to my existence.
"My existence is based on the community using and needing me, that was how it used to be. I can remember when the Chase used to be full of people shopping.
"This can all come back if I get the right shops once again. I need shops and stores like Farm Foods, Iceland, The Pound and 99p stores. These are the places that the community are asking for and need.
"The City Council backed by its Cllrs want to demolish me and put houses were there are the last open spaces in the St Ann's. They say they will put new units on the main Wells Rd, that this will make the Chase better and safer. I ask, who for?!
"I know people like to talk bad about me. They like to say, I'm scary and unsafe with dark alleys and paths. I say, you don't really know me and worst of all, you don't want to. You use the weapons of words to frighten people and convince them that I am to be done away with that their options are for the best.
"I say be clearer with your words. I say there are people out there who still recall the destruction of the old St Ann's and how with words of poverty and slums, not only an area was destroyed but its people."
We are likely to be hearing a lot more from Gasella in the weeks ahead.
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