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Lord Foster of Bath makes his maiden speech

Congratulations to Lord Foster of Bath making his maiden speech in the House of Lords

Full text (about the 8th speaker in the debate) at this LINK

speaker:Lord Foster of Bath : 1 Lords debate
============================================Health – Motion to Take Note (26 Nov 2015)

Lord Foster of Bath: (Maiden Speech) My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Crisp. I am grateful for this opportunity to make my
maiden speech and, of course, for the privilege of joining your
Lordships’ House. I hope I will be able to make a useful contribution. I
am also grateful for the generous welcome I have received from all sides
of the House, and for the patient support and help from…



Supporting housing for people with dependency problems

Tonight at the Guildhall inspiring celebration of the work of DHI over the last year. A charity that challenges social exclusion by supporting people with dependency problems. Apart from hearing about the work by the charity and its social enterprise letting agency Home Turf we had an inspiring speech from Stepeh Robertson the Chief Exec of The Big Issue Foundation .

We also heard about the challenges ahead as the Conservative Government reduces Council budgets and the social consequences of not providing this support to vulnerable adults. Wiltshire and Somerset – both Tory controlled have cut back. It will be interesting to see if the new Tory administration in B&NES cuts this service when it sets its first budget next year. I will be working hard to ensure they don’t.

Bathampton Meadows – gathering storm for the Tories

Thank you for your email. We have all received over 200 emails against the proposed Park and Ride options and very few in favour. Some of our Liberal Democrat Councillors have replied individually but we thought it only right in view of the concerns expressed that we contact you with a fuller explanation of our position.

Please be assured that the Liberal Democrat Councillors will NOT support any inappropriate schemes. The proof of this is in the consistency of our action over time.

In March 2011 the Conservative administration had a scheme to tarmac the meadows and create a park and ride in full view of Batheaston village. This not only had Government backing and funding in place, but it had also gone through the planning process and had all the planning permissions required.

It was ready to start being built.

In May 2011 the Liberal Democrats took control of the Council from the Conservatives. Our first act was to cancel the planned closure of Culverhay school by the Conservative administration. This is now a successful co-educational school serving the families of SW Bath.
Our second act was to cancel the ill thought out and destructive plan to create a Park and Ride on Bathampton Meadows.

Over the next four years we developed a bold and imaginative rail based solution. This would have :-
* put parking between the two rail lines
* created a new station for Bathampton
* provided a turn-round station for the new Metro West suburban rail system which is being implemented over the coming decade agreed by our cabinet during this time.
* provided an opportunity to explore creating an A36-A46 link road

By developing a integrated transport solution we would have made a real impact on a number of transport issues affecting our communities. It would have been a more expensive and complex but it would provide infrastructure improvements that would stand the test of time. The new administration has simply dismissed this work as too costly and too difficult.

As you put in your email, this park and ride is being proposed based on incomplete information. Not only will it destroy the Bathampton Meadows, it won’t solve Bath’s traffic issue! It seems to us that the main consideration of the current Conservative cabinet is to find the cheapest possible solution so that they can tick a box and say – Job Done.

I and my group will work to try and get the right result for residents at the meeting on the 12th, but the sad thing is that because the Conservatives have a majority on the Council, they can win any vote. The only way we can persuade the Tories not to concrete over the meadows, is to keep up the pressure. The National Trust, Bath Preservation Trust, and the various Parish Councils are against the scheme and will be at the Council meeting on 12th to make their feelings known. Many of the people who wrote to us have also registered to speak and have their voice heard.

If you cannot attend the meeting you will be able to watch on the web live or at your own leisure at a time of convenience during the next six months.

Thank you for your interest in this consultation.


Meadows Park and Ride

Big email write in in advance of Council considering this next Thursday. Haven’t counted but with over 100 against, I have had only 2 in support in my inbox to date. The two Conservative MPs are weighing on different sides and they are all in chaos.

the email coming in states:-

Dear Cabinet Member,

Re: Proposal to site a Park and Ride on Bathampton Meadows
I am writing to ask you to vote against the proposal to proceed with a Park and Ride (P&R) on Bathampton Meadows.

My reasons are as follows …
The proposals are being advanced in the absence of critical and basic information. Such an important decision cannot be made responsibly without substantial evidence of the need for a P&R and full analysis of the impact. For example, up to date information about:

The direction of travel of traffic – where does it come from?

Volume of traffic – Department of Transport statistics show that traffic on London Road has diminished in the last 5 years.

Nature of the traffic – for example, is it ‘through traffic’, including to the A36; commuter journeys; school run; from locations that could use public transport if it was cheaper/more frequent; from the A46 (so already choosing not to use the Lansdown P&R)?

Car park usage in the city – who parks where and for how long?

Consideration of the impact on travel/car parking of developments in IT and distance working, and how current work patterns will change.

Pollution levels in Bath and the anticipated impact on this by a P&R.

The costs (construction and operating) of each site, and put in context of costs of other options such as improved public transport.

How the proposal relates to a link between the A46/A36 – if this goes ahead, would a P&R be needed, and, if so, where would it be best sited?

Other options, not yet considered, e.g. extending the Lansdown P&R for traffic coming from the A46, and creating a smaller P&R on brownfield sites on Box Road, for traffic from the A4 and A363.

The consultation process does not provide a sound basis on which to proceed and is flawed in a number of ways. For example:

The survey form on the council website was confusing and ambiguous, meaning that it can be interpreted according to will.

Those most directly involved, e.g. the farmer who owns the land and Avon Rugby Club, have not been contacted by the council for their views (and, surprisingly, were not even informed of the proposals, undermining confidence in the management of the process).

People have been asked to comment on their preferred option of 3 sites, without supporting information (see point 1 above), or given the option of saying ‘none of these’.

Much of the limited information that has been available is historical, from the time of the previous planning application, and may not be true now.

The information given has been confusing and misleading, for example, a reason being put forward in press releases is that the P&R would ease traffic congestion and improve air quality, yet at consultation events, it has been clearly stated that there would be minimal impact on these issues.

How are people to respond in such confusion?

The suggestion in the public survey is that the sites are separate and ‘stand-alone’, yet the detailed plans show that Site F would be needed to access Site B. This has not been made sufficiently clear, including that it would introduce an access road that would not be able to be screened from surrounding villages.

The strength of feeling against the proposal evidenced by local involvement in meetings and ‘opposition activity’. This is growing daily, in tandem with awareness of the proposals. The campaign to ‘Save Bathampton Meadows’ will remain ‘hot’, and is likely to become a national issue, given the depth of local feeling and gathering resources. The ‘gift’ of a flawed consultation process leaves open the possibility of legal challenge. This battle, for that is surely what it will become, will increase costs to the tax payer at a time of financial austerity, and will presumably mean cuts in other, needed, services. It will also have an impact on the reputation of Bath as a place of beauty and of conservation responsibility.

Finally, and most importantly, the ecological, environmental, archaeological, and public health implications of all three proposed locations. The meadows are located within the Green Belt on the eastern edge of the City and crucial to the setting of Bath as a World Heritage Site. Of historical significance, they offer natural beauty and a public amenity, popular with local and visiting walkers, photographers, and cyclists. This plan is the complete antithesis of a responsible attitude towards conservation of natural resources. These ancient water meadows should be considered in the spirit of stewardship for future generations. They should be cherished and preserved, not turned into tarmac for short term gain that has not even been evidenced to be necessary.
This is a decision of great weight, with significance that will live on for future generations, for the rest of time. It is too important to be taken on the basis of political allegiance. Indeed, the local councillors who know the area and have an understanding of the consequences are fully against the proposals.

In the absence of substantial and compelling evidence to justify the destruction of these ancient water meadows, I urge you to act responsibly by voting against the proposal to site a Park and Ride on Bathampton Meadows.

Thank you.

and my standard reply is :-

Dear Name of writer

Many thanks for your email. When I became Leader of the Council in May 2011 I inherited a scheme from the previous Conservative administration for a park and ride scheme in the Meadows. It had funding in place and also planning permission.

I cancelled it because it was the wrong solution then and it remains the wrong solution now.

Over the following 4 years my administration developed a bold rail based solution and also showed how with new techniques we could also provide an a36-a46 link. This would have provided long term solution to our problems. It would have cost more – yes – but we were always open about this.

Whilst I am not surprised that the new Conservative administration of the Council has reverted to form and is proposing its low cost options I am very disappointed they chose to ignore the scheme we had worked up over the 4 years.

Yours sincerely


Paul Crossley
Liberal Democrat
Southdown Ward

East of Bath Park and Ride and Conservative turmoil

When I moved to Bath in 1985 the argument about a Park and Ride on the East of Bath was already several years old. We are now in 2015 and it will be debated again at Full Council next week. Our two Conservative MPs are at odds over it and the Conservative administration is in turmoil over it. Their recent consultation has been a sham with the party even soliciting favourable comments from its membership as their solutions were so unpopular.

The Conservative solution is to tarmac over the meadows. At least they are consistant in this. In May 2011 when I and my Liberal Democrat colleagues took over the Council one of our first acts was to cancel their previous attempt to tarmac the meadows – which at that time had funding in place and planning permission. Over the next 4 years we developed a rail based solution with a new station at Bathampton which would have solved the problem and also provided a start-end destination for the new Metro West service. Yes it would have cost a lot more but infrastructure pays back its costs over a long time and with growing rail passener numbers our scheme met many objectives.

They should scrap their meadows scheme and commit to a rail based solution and work with Government over getting the capital funding for it.

Chilcot and Iraq – PUBLISH NOW

The latest delay on this report is scandalous. What is he hiding and who is he protecting? When the war was launched everyone except the Labour Government and party (most of it) and Tory MPs new that it was a scam and nothing more than an excuse for the Labour Government to go to war. I think their track record was one new war every two and a half years!!!! Charles Kennedy and the Liberal Democrats at the time led the principled position while Labour and Conservatives were baying for war. The weapons did not exist – it was all about imposed regime change from outside and look what a mess that has created.

We need this report published NOW so that the truth we all know can finally be published.

Interesting article on it by Peter Oborne on Open Democracy – Click Here .

TTIP – good or bad?

TTIP is not being decided in secret, it is just being formulated by EU and US bureaucrats and then it will go to the council of ministers and the EU parliament for scrutiny and revision, where most of the contentious stuff will go. How anyone can say they oppose TTIP when no one knows what its main provisions will be yet, is a mystery.
The opposition to TTIP seems to me to be at its core anti American.  They first started scaremongering by saying it would undermine the NHS, when health care has been excluded from the TTIP provisions. Liberals are generally in favour of opening the US market to free trade, this is not to support multinationals but to reduce their stranglehold on trade. Over 90% of  international trade is between large multinationals because they are the only ones with the resources to overcome the trade barriers.
TTIP will open up the US market to smaller UK exporters which must be a good thing. This must surely be a good thing.
The element of TTIP that the Americans want to put in that is most contentious is ISDS “ investor state dispute settlement” whereby a company can sue a government for damaging its profits through policies that are contrary to the TTIP agreement.
I can’t see these getting into the final agreement and certainly not without being watered down quite heavily.
Lets see what the negotiations come up with first before trying to stop it in its tracks.
For more information have a look at Catherine Bearder MEP web.

Keynsham South – Well done Andy

Well done to Andy Halliday last night in Keynsham South byelection. An interesting ward and it is difficult to make any comparisons with other results due to the differing nature and the different range of candidates and the numbers of places being elected to but what is undeniable is that Andy’s result saw a dramatic improvement in the Liberal Democrat vote in Keynsham South last night. The Town Council is now as was with 13 Conservative Councillors and 2 Labour.


Result from last night:-

EDWARDS, SIRILUCK                       300                    38%
The Conservative Party Candidate          ELECTED

DAVIS, CHRISTOPHER JEFFERY    234                    30%
Labour Party

HALLIDAY, ANDREW BRYCE            195                   25%
Known as Andy Halliday  Liberal Democrats
EDWARDS, JUSTIN NIGEL                 55                      7%
Green Party

B&NES 2015

Alan Dudley Hale Conservative Party 1213 26% Elected

Lisa O’Brien Conservative Party 913 20% Elected

Tony Crouch Labour Party 827 18% Not elected

Fflyff McLaren Labour Party 483 11% Not elected

Philip Evans UK Independence Party 444 10% Not elected

Karen Godfrey Liberal Democrats 284 6% Not elected

Matt Orton Green Party 244 5% Not elected

Linda Denise Hawes Liberal Democrats 184 4% Not elected

Town 2015

Allan Sinclair Conservative Party 1161 16% Elected

Kate Simmons Conservative Party 1158 16% Elected

John Fleming Conservative Party 1099 15% Elected

Tony Crouch Labour Party 1088 15% Elected

David William Biddleston Labour Party 908 13% Elected

Christopher Davis Labour Party 886 12% Not elected

Roy Staddon Labour Party 844 12% Not elected



EU lets stay in

The hugely well funded out campaign by rich people seem to ignore every aspect of the EU that does not fit in with there small world approach.

If we leave the EU –

our science leadership will fall back – as shared projects across EU universities will of course not include UK universities if we leave

Our many EU trade treaties will need to be renegotiated as bi-lateral treaties and we will not get such a good deal and it will take years of renegotiating

Over 1M Brit pensioners have retired to other EU Countries – what about their health needs if we are not a member.

The campaign to stay in must win and once again Cameron’s Tories are playing with the future of the country just to keep his fractious party together.


EU Referndum – open the poll to all over 16

The Conservatives are again messing up over Europe in a tacky attempt to mask their own huge internal divisions. Cameron’s ploy of renogotiation will deliver nothing sunbstantial and the vote is really an IN or OUT. Lets be honest and say so. In that case it is a huge vote and a huge decision and for the poll the voting age should be lowered to 16. A great debate at Bournemouth approved this change at the Liberal Democrat Conference. Now lets get on and pursuade the Government to implement it.

I am for IN – but recognize some of the rules need changing and the way to do that is by being a supportive constructive member rather than threatening exit if we dont get our own way.