Paul Crossley

Liberal Democrat Councillor

Bath data gets hacked by the techies

March 22nd, 2014 by Paul Crossley
Comment?

Today at The Guild – a Liberal Democrat innovation to work with digital workers on creating an exciting co-working Hub – the Council  are hosting the first Bath Hackathon  ‘Bath: Hacked’ – a two day event to come up with a clever use of technology that could change the way we look at some of our data and improve life for all of us with innovative apps and tech solutions to understanding data.

‘Bath: Hacked’ will enable technology experts to think, play and hack a range of data streams to create their ideas. It is taking place at The Guild, High Street, Bath and the challenge is simple: make something useful for the community.

The Hack starts at 10.30am and continues through the night until 3pm tomorrow where demonstrations and presentations of the software or apps that are created take place. There is an overall prize pot of £2,000 for the best creations and the opportunity to present at the Bath City Conference being held 30 April 2014.

As the Leader of Bath and NE Somerset Council I am delighted to be welcoming some of the most creative hi-tech minds to the Bath: hacked event. Bath is a beautifully innovative city with an ever growing technology sector. The challenge we are putting to the people who have generated this reputation for our area is to create a really useful app or piece of software that will benefit the community. I’m certain it will be amazing what people can achieve in thirty-six hours and the Council is delighted to be one of the major sponsors of the event.

Again in line with our partnership approach we are working with the business community on this event and we are sure the sponsors who have joined us this weekend will value their participation as well.

A Big Thankyou to our sponsors Invest Bristol + Bath, Mayden, Real World Studios and Vidahost

People can follow the hack through the night on twitter @BathHacked

The data streams include the location of buildings, geography, environment, economy and jobs, population and demography, getting around, health and wellbeing, government and society, and historical data.

No personal data will be used in the event .

Guildhall Collonades Rejuvenation scheme

March 19th, 2014 by Paul Crossley
Comment?

When the Liberal Democrats took back control from the Conservatives of Bath and NE Somerset in 2011 we found plans in train to remove much Council operation from the Guildhall. Our approach was to scrap these ideas. The Guildhall is important to residents. Our plan is to rejuvenate the Guildhall and keep it as the political hub of the Council and grow its commercial uses.

Our first scheme was to develop part of one end into a co-working hub The Guild – very successfully and this weekend hosting its first Hackathon.

Our second scheme was to increase our revenue stream from the building and so we are looking at the basement area and are now working to find two high quality restaurants to operate fabulous river side operations. The two operations will have different architectural styles because of the layers of history we have here and this is creating a big buzz in the hospitality world as anyone who follows @BigHospitality tweets will have seen.

economic investment into Bath

March 17th, 2014 by Paul Crossley
Comment?

As a Lib Dem run Council we are working hard to ensure that our local economy stays vibrant and diverse. Part of this plan is to enable our local companies to grow and develop here in Bath and NE Somerset. We have just launched an MOU with a local company called BMT. This will enable them to work with the Council to develop the area called Bath Quays South and provide at last a much needed boost in this area. It will enable the company to consolidate its 3 office blocks into one and also add space to grow. This has created a lot of media interest and Breeze FM were keen to interview me on this project.

It goes with a string of achievements in recent months – the creation of the co-working hub in the Guild – the agreement to develop the Guildhall undercroft – the successful marketing of the Cattlemarket and Cornmarket – and that’s just the schemes which involve the Council.

My Lib Dem Cabinet is creating in Bath and NE Somerset a place of wide ranging employment opportunities and growth in the digital and creative sectors.

And just finished an interview with Breeze FM on the subject.

 

 

Key Cities

March 17th, 2014 by Paul Crossley
Comment?

23 small and medium sized cities have formed into a Local Government Alliance called Key Cities. This is to counter what is felt to be undue influence by the Core City group and London on Government policy. Every other month we meet up to discuss the next steps. It is a cross party grouping and although only a few months old is making rapid progress. We have already launched a manifesto and are now working on the next steps. Meeting today was at Centre For Cities

Clutton and Chelwood

March 17th, 2014 by Paul Crossley
Comment?

Sunday 16 March 2014

Spent an enjoyable day with Cllr Jeremy Sparkes in Chelwood and Clutton.

The first visit was to Chelwood to talk to residnets and local farmers about the impact of all the flood prevention measures we put in as a Lib Dem Council over the summer. They worked well and prevented flooding though one house still had a syupply of sandbags ready abnd used a couple of times. But importantly the water drained away successfully. There are still some issues to follow up on the soil washed off the fields and blocking up the drains.

The second visit was to Clutton to look with local parish Councillors at the needs of pedestrians along the village high street in the light of its increasing use as a rat run for the A37 A39 link and also the needs of children and families to cater for the new housing development. And finally we visited a household suffering from some poor building of sewer outlets from a development and the consequent inconvenience being caused to a householder. Jeremy and I will be following up on both of these as a matter of urgency.

Dry January

January 3rd, 2014 by Paul Crossley
Comment?

DryJanuary

 

 

 

Picture shows Councillors and Health professionals at the launch.

 

 

 

Dry January is a campaign by Alcohol Concern to get people to consider their alcohol intake after the festive season and to either abstain for a month or drastically cut down. This leads to health improvements and many other benefits. The campaign is called Dry January . At the Guildhall today in Bath we launched the campaign with a fruit bar to enable people to try a range of fruit drinks.

 

Kingston Liberal Democrats

January 2nd, 2014 by Paul Crossley
Comment?

TrevorHeap

 

Me and Cllr Trevor Heap at Woodys Bar on the banks of the Thames at Kingston

 

 

 

 

 

Spent the day in Kingston working with Cllr Trevor Heap who is the lead Councillor for Adult Health. For lunch break we popped down to Woodys. As part of Dry January I was naturally on orange Juice.

2013 – a year of progress in Bath and North East Somerset

January 1st, 2014 by Paul Crossley
Comment?

The Liberal Democrat Cabinet of Bath and NE Somerset continued to deliver on its themes and objectives during the year. It was a record of achievement in difficult times for the Country as a whole. During the year there were naturally some ideas that created a lot of debate such as public loos, advice and Childrens centres but in the context of maintaining quality service whilst doing it with £12M pa less the year was successful. A detailed monthly list appears at the end of article but more concisely as my colleagues in Walcot put it :-

As 2013 closes, we’ve taken a few minutes to reflect on the diffierence having a Liberal Democrat adminstration has meant to B&NES Council.

We are proud to be part of a Council that has ensured 

0% Council Tax Rise

Liberal Democrats want to create a fairer society, so in these tough times we’ve kept Council Tax frozen since taking control of the Council in 2011.

No libraries shut down

We’ve spent your money on the services that matter to you and kept all 8 of our libraries open.

No cuts to Youth Service

We want to make sure our young people have the best start in life.

We have protected front line youth services and, unlike most other Councils, we are not closing any Children’s Centers.

Investment in Small Business

The Lib Dems know how important small businesses are to our local economy and how many jobs they help create.

Together with partners in the Third Sector, we’ve helped to provide over 70 loans to small businesses, creating over 80 jobs.

A drop in unemployed and rise in apprenticeships in BANES

The current unemployment rate in BANES stands at 2.7% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64, which is far below the national figure rate of 7%.

We recognize that it’s vital for the Council invests in projects that will help to strengthen and grow the local economy. Your Lib Dem administration is committed to scaled investment in regeneration and development, leading to new homes and jobs for local people.

Half a Million for cycle routes

We want to enable as many people as possible to travel in an environmentally friendly way.

With this in mind, we’re investing over half a million into cycle routes across the district. As well as being good for the environment, it’ll take people off the road, improving congestion.

To date, we’ve seen the opening of the Millmead Road bridge section of the Two Tunnels route and work has started on the cycle route from Lower Bristol Road to Bath Spa University funded by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. In addition a new cycle path from Batheaston to the City Centre is planned.

Green Champions

We cannot afford to ignore the environment even in this time of austerity. Your Lib Dem Council is committed to energy efficiency improvements in schools, delivering the Retrofit and Green Deal partnership and reducing the Council’s own carbon footprint.

Supported Bus Services

Many people rely on the bus services to get around. The Lib Dems are not cutting the bus subsidies which has saved the 6/7 bus service as well as other rural services that connect our rural areas.

A City Transport Strategy

We are developing a Transport Strategy for Bath that acknowledges the strain on parking in the City and allows for economic growth, joining up difference Council departments to deliver a “One Council’ approach to our traffic problems.

We will also oversee the completion a £32 million Bath Transportation Package.

52 refuse collections

We’ve kept weekly collection of your rubbish, saving the services that matter to you.

18 Car Parks kept free

Our local shops are struggling in these economic times. We are investing in the local economy and keeping the car parks that serve our local high streets free.

Responsible Budgeting

Because the Council has made back office savings of more than £25 million over recent years, delivered balanced budgets, and maintained a strong level of reserves, B&NES is in a better position than many other councils when it comes to reducing the impact of Central Government cuts and protecting frontline services, particularly for elderly and vulnerable people.

Nevertheless, we will continue to face financial challenges and to protect services the Council must look at how to provide services differently in the future.

This means working more closely with other local authorities to create efficiencies as well as supporting local community groups to make a difference to the place they live, such as through our Community Library Programme.

The £260 million spend on adult social care must be focused on the most vulnerable people, promoting their independence through improved community services.

We are also taking steps to ensure that the impact on people affected by the Government’s changes to welfare benefit is reduced through initiatives such as our social fund.

MONTHLY DETAILS

Cabinet Decisions in the Year 2013

 

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

 

Cabinet/Decision Commentary
Jan ‘13  
Odd Down Playing field Increasing participation in sport, hoping to improve wellbeing in one of the most deprived areas in Bath
Fostering, Adoptive and Special Guardianship allowances Properly valuing our Foster carers, adoptive parents and those in special guardianship. Giving those parents the best chance to give those kids a good start in life.
Radstock to Frome Railway Keeping this scheme on the table, that could help regenerate an area that needs it.
Feb ‘13  
Budget Lets not forget the great things we achieved in the budget. Freezing Council Tax, investing in the river, investing in small businesses, improving cycle links, without closing libraries, without cutting youth services.
Core Strategy Taking the brave choices, protecting the green belt where we can but not shying away like the Tories did, trying to ensure that our children and grandchildren have houses they can live in.
Sustainable Construction and

Retrofitting SPD

Giving our residents clear advice on how to make their home warmer and reduce their energy bills.
Highways Adoption charges Charging more to reflect the ongoing costs of road maintenance, protecting front line services by charging the right amount.
Apr ‘13  
Radstock Capital Funding Investing in schemes to regenerate the community and the economy in an area that needs the support.
Expanding 6 Primary Schools Ensuring that our children have the best opportunity to attend a school in their local area, reducing the carbon footprint, keeping them with their local friends.
Home to School Transport Review Equalising the system. Removing an inequality that allowed some school children to get travel over others.
Dorchester Street Seeking to improve the pedestrian environment, making green transport a more convenient option and improving the economy.
Placemaking Plan Scoping Allowing communities the chance to have a say in how their neighbourhood is developed.
Response to Somerset’s Minerals Policy Saying no to Fracking. It’s not green and it’s a risk to our environment and our economy.
Greater Bristol Metro Project Improvements to the bus and rail networks, making green travel the affordable and convenient option for all.
Transport Strategy For the first time, trying to ensure that Bath has a strategy that reflects it’s ambitions. We want to be a more successful, more equal place and the transport strategy helps us deliver that.
Procurement Strategy Supporting local business and small business, levelling the field to allow them to get an equal bite of the cherry.
Review of the Olympics and Cultural Olympiad Fully supporting this event, making it a success and a chance for people across Bath to engage with Sports and Culture in a way they hadn’t before.
Heritage Services Business Plan Investing in those heritage and tourism jobs that keep our lower skilled residents in work.
LEP RIF Funding Investing in the infrastructure to attract higher paid jobs to Bath, ensuring that every resident has a job appropriate to their level.
Schools Term and holiday dates Equalising the school terms, so that parents are able to plan. (Then undone by Gove but still…)
Primary School Admissions Dull statutory document but above other things it ensures that looked after children get the advantage they need and deserve, levelling the playing field.
May ‘13  
CIL Charging Schedule Using CIL to ensure that residents get the benefit of development in our area.
Grand Parade and Undercroft Viability Bringing a criminally underused piece of Council property back into use. Enhancing an important piece of riverside.
Connecting Communities Changing the way that the Council works to respond to the needs of communities. Connecting Communities seeks to ensure that deprived communities receive the support they need, and a say in how services are delivered in their area.
Placemaking Launch Allowing communities the chance to have a say in how their neighbourhood is developed.
May ’13 Special Cabinet  
Home to School Transport Call-In Listened to concerns of parents, but stuck to our guns, making it fairer for pupils in B&NES without pulling the rug from under current parents.
June ‘13  
HMO Article 4 Ensuring we are fair to the permanent residents of Bath, putting safeguards in place to ensure they will never lose their community.
HMO Additional Licensing Ensuring we are fair to tenants in some of the worst housing stock. Forcing those Landlords to bring houses up to scratch.
Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations Plan (Pre-Submission draft) Confirming progress made, assuring communities that it would happen in a proper manner and continuing the process of supporting those vulnerable gypsy and traveller families despite the howls of anguish from Councillors on the other side of the chamber.
Personal Budgets in Healthcare Empowers the patient so they can chose to be treated by the doctor they want, in the place they want.
Apprenticeship Policy Ensuring more opportunities for people who chose not to go to university. Ensuring a higher quality of placement. And using the Council to set a good example to other businesses.
Children’s Services Capital Programme Priorities Ensuring the quality of education for students at the these two schools, increasing opportunities for children to get a good quality of education in their local area.
WoE bid as Better Bus Area Joint bid to ensure that the quality of bus provision goes up, making the green travel option the best option.
July ‘13  
Two Tunnels Update Update on the next phase of Two Tunnels, ensuring it links with the rest of the cycle network, increasing the availability of green travel.
Cycle Schemes Programme Allocating the money for cycling, increasing cycling connectivity across the City.
River Corridor Fund Drawing down the money to fund projects to revitalise the river, providing opportunities for employment in Bath and Keynsham.
Youth Justice Plan A restorative justice approach that has a Lib Dem stamp on it, not just a failed punitive approach.
Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy  
Guildhall Market Christmas Market Extending the lease for the Christmas Market in the Guildhall Carpark, increasing the pull of the Chistmas Market, and boosting the local economy and the traders in the Guildhall Market.
Joint Rights of Way Improvement Pan Cross border working, focussed on improving access for local people.
Heritage Services Capital Plan Looking after our vital heritage assets and improving disabled access so that all our residents and visitors can enjoy all of the Baths.
Sept ‘13  
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Guidance for Listed Buildings Helping residents in hard to heat homes, with how to make their home warmer and cut their bills.
Childcare Sufficiency Assessment Confirmation that we are providing the right level of care for our children, and providing an evidence-base for future child-care modelling.
Empty Property Policy: Enforcement Action Bringing empty properties back into use, providing homes for people who need them.
Nov ‘13  
Capital Allocation for 2 yr olds Distributing money from a Lib Dem success in Government, ensuring a better start in life for all 2 year olds.
Re-structuring of Children’s Centres Implementing a cut, yes, but ensuring that no centres close and that communities receive provision that they need.
Standards for hackney carriages and private hire licences Improving standard of taxi drivers, levelling the playing field and ensuring that cabbies are clear about what is acceptable dress.
Local Development Scheme Ensuring that we have a development scheme that matches our ambitions, providing homes and jobs for our residents.
Dec ‘13  
Heritage Services Collections Policy Protecting our assets, ensuring that our policy doesn’t jeopardise the significant Capital Grants we receive from bodies like HLF.
Homelessness Strategy A strategy to help those in most need back into housing.
Schools Carbon Reduction Programme Helping our schools be more green, reducing the carbon footprint of our buildings still further.
Change of Control: Thermae

Development Company

Technical document, but it safeguards the Council’s investment in this building, ensuring continued tourist revenue and safeguarding local jobs.
Cycle City Ambition Grant Bid Providing an important cycle link, making green travel more convenient, and improving public realm for local residents and businesses.
Advice and Information Services Strategy We got a bit bounced into this, but we now have a strategy that will ensure adequate provision of advice services for those most vulnerable.

 

 

 

Environmental Jobs Growth

December 19th, 2013 by Paul Crossley
Comment?

Today is a good day – The Liberal Democrats in Government are creating another 200,000 green jobs right here in Britain.

They’re part of the Energy Act, which Lib Dems have worked so hard to steer through Parliament, and it has just become law.

Some Conservatives apparently call this “green crap” – but we’re proud to be the party of green. The environment is, and will always be, a priority for us.

These 200,000 jobs are another example of something that simply wouldn’t have happened without the Lib Dems in Government – and we’re only here thanks to your support.

As long as the Lib Dems are in Government you may carry on hearing Tories complaining about “green crap” – but we should tell people the green truth: it’s about creating jobs and projecting the environment.

With green growth, we’re building a strong economy and a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life.

And thats not all – there are now 30M people in work in the UK. That is more than ever before.

Energy Bills – The Facts

October 14th, 2013 by Paul Crossley
Comment?

With intense political scrutiny on energy bills, it suits energy companies and certain politicians, to place the blame on green energy.

It is, therefore, important that we all keep telling people the facts.
Green measures are responsible for £112 of the average £1287 family dual fuel bill. Of this, £37 is down to renewable subsidy (£30 ROCs and £7 FiT) – less than three percent of the average bill.
£47 pounds goes to ECO and other energy saving measures that reduce bills for those in fuel poverty.
You will find some useful Guardian infographics here http://goo.gl/J5Gimx.
Fossil fuels are costing us dearly, between 2004 and 2010 dual fuel bills rose by £455, of which £382 was due to soaring gas prices (http://is.gd/EIIXiz).
Globally subsidies for fossil fuels are $409 billion compared to $66 billion for renewable energy (http://is.gd/bTK7Iy).
The annual government grant to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is £2.3 billion. Divide that by £26.3 million households and you find the average cost per household of dealing with nuclear waste is £87 http://www.nda.gov.uk/aboutus/
As renewable energy becomes more mature, scrutiny will continue to increase. We have a great story to tell about using our own natural energy resources to make us more secure, rather than relying on gas from Qatar. Of inspiring local companies developing skills and technologies in a growing industry they can export around the world. And of costs coming down whilst fossil fuel costs go up.

But we cannot rely on others to tell that story for us – a message Ed Davey made strongly at our House of Commons event this week.

This year Regen launched our SW Renewable Energy Manifesto. On 26 November our Renewable Futures and Green Energy conference, exhibition and awards will showcase what our industry is achieving. In the past two weeks alone, I have been interviewed for BBC Points West, BBC Radio Somerset, Pirate FM and the Western Morning News (twice).

I invite you to work even more closely with us, to tell the exciting story of what green energy has to offer. Please send me your stories of jobs and investment to [email protected]

Join us at www.regensw.co.uk/information/login-join-us; showcase your projects and ambitions at Renewable Futures www.renewable-futures.co.uk.

We encourage you to spread the message widely.

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