Council apologises to gay group over cruising row

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Bristol city council has admitted that is misrepresented its own lesbian, gay and bisexual group’s views about removal of bushes from an area known for cruising.

The tabloid press gave the story about tidying up the Downs area of parkland wide coverage.

“The city council’s gay rights group opposed it – claiming cutting back the bushes was “potentially discriminating” to homosexual and bisexual men,” reported The Mirror.

It has now been revealed that the Rainbow Group said nothing of the sort.

“The city council’s Parks Service wishes to correct a recent misrepresentation of the position of the council’s Rainbow Group for lesbian, gay and bisexual employees,” the council said in a statement.

“As part of a report to the Downs Committee recently, officers from the Parks Service incorrectly gave the impression that the Rainbow Group had officially objected to the proposal.

“In fact, the Rainbow Group did not give any collective response to the consultation and left group members to respond individually if they chose to do so.

“The Parks Service would like to make it clear that they accept the comments were wrongly attributed to the Rainbow Group and to apologise for any distress caused to group members as a result of subsequent local and national media coverage.

“The Parks Service hopes that this statement will help redress any loss of reputation that the group may have suffered both inside and outside the authority.”

Former Lord Mayor Peter Abraham told the Bristol Evening Post that has written to council chief executive Jan Ormondroyd urging her to hold an inquiry.

He said inaccuracies in council reports were “bringing Bristol city council into disrepute and making us a laughing stock nationally.”

Bristol Downs at the centre of a row last year when firefighters disturbed gay men having 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.