In August, Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, was shown some of the many local issues Oxfordshire Green Party members are engaged with. First, Dr Kate Predergast showed Natalie the Cooper Callis site in the centre of Oxford. Historic buildings are threatened with demolition to build an out of proportion commercial development including a luxury hotel, reducing the amount of housing in an area which desperately needs more accommodation.
Natalie was taken by zero carbon transport, a cycle rickshaw from Oxcarts, to the East Oxford Community Centre. At EOCC she met local Green Party members and Green Councillors campaigning to keep the Centre under the control of the community. She had an extensive briefing from one of the trustees, Catherine Gundry.
At Asylum Welcome Natalie spoke to the director, Kate Smart and to two asylum seekers about the problems created by our unfair and arbitrary asylum system. Several Green Party members volunteer at Asylum Welcome.
Natalie was welcomed at Oxford City Farm, a campaign to create a City Farm on disused land off Cornwallis Road. She was offered scones with blackberries picked on the site, shown the plans for the site and the existing fruit tree planting.
Her final visit was to the Lye Valley Nature reserve, a rare habitat threatened by development. The Grass of Parnassus, which has been found at the site, has survived from the ice age. One third of all the rare plants in Oxfordshire can be found at this site: 1.7 hectares of only 19 hectares in the whole of the country.