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Great Spas of Europe

Bath is already a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but could possibly receive a second nomination.

In 2008 UNESCO indicated that spa towns could be inscribed on the World Heritage list, to show the influence of spas on European culture, and asked for the best examples of European spas to be put forward. Bath having already achieved one listing is a key player in helping the nomination which features 16 spa towns from seven countries.

Bath & North East Somerset Council has been supporting the bid by producing evidence of the city’s world-wide significance as a spa town.

We started the work when I was Leader of the Council and I am pleased that the new administration is keeping this project going as it will be a great asset for Bath. Also Cllr Cherry Beath has been allowed to continue the work in recognition of the relationships she had built up with spa towns in the bid over the last 4 years.

To go forward for consideration, each spa town or city must have their respective Government backing. Putting together a bid involves considerable work to justify that a place is of such outstanding international significance to justify this prestigious inscription. Bath’s bid has now been assessed by Minister, who has approved the draft nomination and offered her full support for the project. If all progresses well, this could lead to Bath being inscribed in 2018 as one of only a handful of places in the world recognised twice on the UNESCO list.

There are currently 16 other spa towns in the bid, but only half of these are likely to make the World Heritage List. The other spas are from Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Belgium and Austria. They include famous spa towns such as Spa (Belgium) and Baden Baden (Germany). The bid recognises aspects such as ‘taking the cure’, early diagnostic medicine around spas, development of early mass tourism, the rules of a polite society, the ‘diversions’ (amusements) put in place for visitors and the unique urban forms that resulted from these practices.

Roll on 2018 and a successful nomination and then we can reactivate the bid to get the Great Western Rail from Paddington to Bristol inscribed as an example of engineering of global significance.

This is a great Pan European Unesco bid and is yet another example of the benefits of working together and in partnership. It is about the politics of integration and the benefits that brings us as opposed to the politics of disintegration which brings only strife.


#StrongerIn EU

Met with the Bath Spa University debating society this afternoon and we have agreed on a Uni debate on the European referendum. It is important that we make sure that young people are fully engaged in this momentous referendum as it is they who will be most affected by the result for the longest. They were pleased that I was trying to make sure that young people are fully engaged in the debate and I expect a full house for it when we hold it in April sometime. Next week at BRSLI is also the launch of the #Stronger In campaign in Bath. in my view the Out campaign has been making the most noise so far. Time for those who want IN to start stepping up to the plate and challenging the daily quota of misinformation being put about by those who want us out and have no interest in the future of a United Kingdom. A leave vote would trigger another Scottish Referendum to stay IN Europe and leave the UK and this time it would be won.

The debating society is first going to contact the University of Bath debating society to see if a single joint debate is needed or two separate ones.

Next step start contacting all our 6th forms and the College on the issue. Although the Liberal Democrat push to have the voting age for the referendum lowered to 16 was rejected by the Conservatives their views are still vital.

On the Buses

So far this week two days walking to work and two days on the buses. Wednesday the A4 from Bath City Centre to Hengrove and back. Very reliable service and easy to catch at the city centre. At the Hengrove end I got to the bus stop 10 minutes early but the bus came through on time. I should have looked at my bus checker app from the comfort of @CllrTimKent ‘s house where we had just finished a few hours of leafletting. Today with visits to Southdown and Bath Spa University Newton Park Campus I have caught the 18, 10,12, 15, 15 and 1 and as I knew I would be on a lot of buses today logged my wait times at bus stops. Amazingly a total of 8 minutes. Mind you it helps knowing when the buses are due. The 12 is a 40 minute service so I checked on the time table before going into a resident’s house to help with a planning issue and got out and to the bus stop just in time. Tomorrow another day on the buses and I will also be catching the 5 service which is the only one I am getting complaints about in recent weeks.

Have your say on planning across the West of England

The West of England (the former Avon area) is consulting on its planning issues for the next period of time upto 2036. It is important that as many residents as possible submit their views.

Consultation on the Issues and Options for the Joint Spatial Plan and Transport Study, led by the area’s four local authorities, comes to a close at the end of the month (29th January).

More than 1,000 people have given their feedback to date, and on social media the #WEbuildourfuture hashtag has been used, shared and commented on hundreds of times since the consultation launched on 9th November.

The West of England is growing and economically successful: the area is worth around £26bn a year to the UK economy, and around 95,000 new jobs are targeted to be created by 2036.It is one of the few parts of the UK that makes a positive contribution to the national exchequer.

Estimates state that the area needs 85,000 new and affordable homes by 2036, which is 29,000 more than currently planned and predicted.

There are a number of other ways people can share their views before the consultation closes on 29th January:-

Online- by emailing

Mail-  West of England Joint Planning Consultation, c/o South Gloucestershire Council, PO Box 299, Corporate Research and Consultation Team, Civic Centre, High Street, Kingswood, Bristol, BS15 0DR.

For more information, visit the website at:

Tory plans to penalise single parents must be stopped

The Tory Government is still hell bent on penalising low income families by whatever route. The latest is to penalise single parents who find happiness with a new partner. Meanwhile Google can get away with a sweet tax agreement with this Tory Government. One law for the Rich and one law for the rest of us!

More details here :-

Skateboard Park for Alice Park

Skateboard Parks attract users of all ages and nowadays and are used not just by boarders but also rollerskaters and bikers as well. In 2014 when we commissioned a large revamp of the skateboard park in Royal Victoria Park we also had a call from residents for a new facility in Alice Park. We listened and put aside £100,000 in our budget. However nothing it seems is ever simple and following a successful and well responded to consultation, before we could proceed we found we needed to sort out the Charitable issues around the park. The election in May changed the administration of the Council but several months on everything seemed to go quiet. We have determined that the money is still in the budget and that things are progressing on the Charity front. We will be checking the next budget proposal carefully to ensure it is still in.

The Community is still very keen to see the facility built in Alice Park as can be seen by the large turnout on Sunday.

AlicePark RobPaul

They Work For You

I have just updated my profile on They Work For You. A great website that lets you know how your MP votes and what they say in Parliament. I hadn’t visited it since the general election so now I am subscribed to Ben Howlett and also Don in his new role in the Lords. Also added in Lord Strasburger and Jacob Rees-Mogg for good measure.

Whilst doing this also filled in a survey for Ben Howlett on Elected Mayors. We agree on this at least that they are not a good idea.

More homes

The four West of England Councils are currently consulting on the Joint Spatial Plan Issues and Options document and Joint Transport Study between 9th November 2015 and 29th January 2016
Further information and links to all consultation documents can be found here:

It is important that comments are fed back. Currently thanks to the failure of the Bristol Mayor to address housing issues adequately they are looking for the rest of us to take their housing – could be several thousand for us.

Bath Quays Waterside – construction begins January 2016

The Flood Mitigation and creation of new public space that my Cabinet developed over the last 4 years will now start in January. This will enable new employment space and new homes to be built and in the light of recent floods elsewhere should be secure and more as it is designed to withstand the extreme predictions that are being forecast.

Bath & North East Somerset Council and the Environment Agency will begin work on the next phase of the Bath Quays Waterside project in January.

Construction work will be phased over the next two years and, when completed, will reduce flood risk for over 100 residential and commercial properties; reconnect the city centre to the riverside with a new waterside park, and enable the development of Bath Quays, a new office and creative quarter.

Contractors Alun Griffiths Ltd, will begin work on a compound on January 4. Avon Street carpark and Riverside coach park will remain in operation throughout the works. From January Riverside Coach Park will remain the primary visitor drop off and pick up location, but once passengers have disembarked, coaches will relocate to the First Bus Weston Island Depot.

Once the compound is set-up the contractor will start on highway and utility works in late January in Ambury, Corn Street and Green Park Road.
A new section of road will be built, connecting Corn Street with Green Park Road, which, on completion will carry two-way traffic. Traffic will be permanently diverted from a length of Green Park Road (next to Avon Street car park), allowing the river bank alongside to be widened, providing additional flood flow and a new public open space.
For detailed information about the construction works and its impacts on the public, please refer to the question and answer sheet attached on the project  webpage

Timescales for road closures, towpath and river access will be communicated later in 2016.