Controversial beauty spot’s clean up may upset cruisers

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A beauty spot on the Bristol Downs at the centre of a row last year when firefighters disturbed gay men having outdoor sex has become the subject of a controversy again.

Bristol City Council plan to remove shrubbery in an part of the Downs popular with men looking for sex and put a report together about the management of the area.

“As part of the consultation, concerns were expressed by the council’s Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Group, and a small number of other consultants, that this action was potentially discriminating against gay and bisexual men, whose activities on this part of the Downs were objected to by other members of the local community and Downs users,” the report said.

Head of parks Peter Wilkinson told BBC News: “The general public are unhappy about people taking part in lewd behaviour in public spaces, whether it’s between men and women or people of the same sex.

“We are working together with Terrence Higgins Trust to make sure any work we will do is sensitive.

“We’re making sure people know what we are doing so we are not seen to be discriminating.”

THT confirmed that they are now in talks with the police and the council.

Last year a group of firefighters on the Downs shone their torches into the bushes catching a group of men engaging in outdoor sex.

After a three month investigation, during which the unidentified firefighters were on paid suspension, two were fined £1000, one was demoted and one received a written warning.

They had been en route from Temple Fire Station to Avonmouth Fire Station at 10:30pm on June 27 when they came across the men.

They were found by the disciplinary hearing of bringing the service into disrepute and misuse of fire equipment.

Kevin Pearson, Chief Fire Officer with Avon Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“There was no justifiable reason for that appliance to be in that location at that time.

“They should not have been there and there was no operational justification for their actions.”