Council investment into Royal Victoria Park begins

Bath & North East Somerset Council’s plans to invest almost £500,000 in improvements to Bath’s Royal Victoria Park will get underway on January 19.

The park, which attracts many thousands of visitors every year, features Botanical Gardens, lakes, floral and historical features as well as one of the biggest children’s play areas in the South West.

Work to improve the play area starts next week, and will include installation of a new slide and tower unit replacing the triple slide. This is part of a total investment of £255,000 into 11 play parks across the area.

The work should be completed by the end of January; the play area will remain open, although there will be some disruption at times which the Council will aim to keep to a minimum.

Improvements to the public toilets in the pavilion building at the play area will also start on Monday. Eight new unisex cubicles, all with baby-changing facilities, are being installed, including two that are disability-compliant. Temporary toilets will be put in place until the new toilets are completed. The work is expected to be completed by Easter.

Alongside this, space is being created for a new café concession which will offer refreshments for adults and children, including healthy options from local and sustainable sources. The Council is currently advertising the three concession opportunities (café, children’s rides and ice cream van); details can be found on the Council’s website (http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/property/royal-victoria-park-play-area-concessions-opportunities)

CllrDavid Dixon (Lib-Dem, Oldfield), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “We’re very pleased to see these projects getting underway, and plan for them all to be ready for the spring. The Council is committed to improving facilities and the visitor experience for everyone who uses the park.”

A planning decision on the £300,000 refurbishment to modernise and improve the skate park at Royal Victoria Park is expected by the end of January.

Car Parking

The Bath and NE  Somerset Council aims to substantially increase jobs and support local businesses through the Bath City Riverside Enterprise Area, which is designated as a key zone for economic growth by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership. To deliver the jobs requires an integrated approach to managing traffic flow in the city – including providing improved parking opportunities such as expanding long stay capacity at Park and Ride – enabling greater emphasis to be given to walking, cycling and bus services in the historic core and on key corridors. Reduction of city centre parking will not take place until alternatives are in place.

Key elements of the Getting Around Bath transport strategy include:

  • continuing the progress made in Bath to relocate long stay parking to Park and Ride sites
  • a more efficient use of scarce space in the centre
  • presenting opportunities to improve the walking environment.

 

The Council’s parking charges are cheaper than other car parks in the city centre. Based on usage of the car parks, the city can accommodate a temporary reduction of car parking spaces. This is mainly due to the fact that not all levels of the Avon Street multi-storey are fully used at all times. In the medium term, an additional 200 surface level car parking spaces will be re-introduced; offering better quality provision which is preferred by visitors to the city – figures indicate this will have more than twice the turnover than the current multi-storey. The impact of this is to deliver at least the same, or increased, total car parking capacity within the city whilst releasing land for the creation of a new central business district to strengthen the local economy, support local businesses and create jobs.

This year, 2014/15, the Council is investing £7.4million – a record amount – to improve carriageways, footways, highway structures, drainage and street lighting.

It is the Economy…

GDP figures

Quarterly growth of 0.5% puts the UK in pole position to be the fastest growing G7 economy in 2014.

Our economy is growing because we Liberal Democrats have anchored economic policy in the centre ground. In 2010 the last Labour government bequeathed the Country a bankrupt economy.

We’ve driven through a host of Lib Dem inspired measures including income tax cuts for millions of working people, cutting the deficit fairly, boosting apprenticeships and investing in regional and local projects to rebalance the economy.

Today’s figures represent solid progress, especially with many of our key markets still suffering from economic problems.

And here in B&NES the Lib Dem Council has adopted the same policy of investing in apprenticeships and driving forward economic regeneration in the digital and creative industries.

 

Walking and cycling is key to less congestion

Banes Council under my leadership continues to improve cycle and walking facilities around the area. Cycle improvement scheme is under way at the Globe roundabout and now a major pedestrian improvement is about to get under way in Bath City centr.

Work to start on pedestrian improvements in Bath City Centre

A project to improve life for pedestrians and make the centre of Bath more attractive will start on Monday 2 February when Bath & North East Somerset Council begins work to make Stall Street virtually traffic free during shopping hours. The Council wishes to create a safer and more attractive experience for residents, visitors and businesses here by improving the quality of the street.

A new traffic restriction will come into force between 10am and 6pm which will see all but essential vehicles banned from this area. Existing street clutter will be reduced and improvements made including a new level surface throughout, paved with natural stone materials in keeping with Bath’s historical surroundings.

The final result is a very balanced approach to revitalising the city centre to a standard that reflects its status as an international visitor destination and World Heritage Site, and reducing the amount of vehicles in the historic core and has been the outcome of much consultation.

The paving improvements in Lower Borough Walls and Stall Street will be built in phases throughout the duration of the work, which is anticipated to last 8 months.  To facilitate the first phase of the works, a temporary road closure from 10am to 6pm each day will be implemented at the entrance to Lower Borough Walls. A diversion route will be in place via a two-way system on Hot Bath Street, controlled by traffic signals.

For more information, please visit: www.bathnes.gov.uk/stallstreet.

Safety in the home is vital

Residents urged to back gas safety proposals

Bath & North East Somerset Council is urging residents to back a campaign which wants to give social landlords extra powers to make sure gas appliances in the properties they own are safe.

Gas Access is calling for the law to be changed so that social landlords, such as housing associations and local authorities, who are legally responsible for the upkeep and safety of gas appliances have the power to force entry to a property to ensure vital repairs can be made to faulty appliances.

It also wants an MOT-style safety check for gas appliances to ensure they are safe and fit for purpose and is calling on residents to back the campaign by visiting the Gas Access Campaign website.

At present although landlords have a legal duty to carry out regular checks to keep boilers and other gas appliances safe, they have no legal right to demand entry and it can take a legal process of up to four months to get to the stage where the landlord has free access to service a boiler.

Cllr Paul Crossley (Lib-Dem, Southdown), Leader of Council, said: “Landlords have a duty to make sure gas appliances are safe, but they are hampered somewhat by the law which does not allow them to gain entry to a property to repair a faulty or potentially lethal boiler.

“Bath & North East Somerset Council agrees with Gas Access that the law needs to be overhauled and reviewed so that landlords can fulfil their statutory duty in this area and protect residents from harm.

“Every year we hear of people dying somewhere in the United Kingdom from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a faulty boiler, this proposal, coupled with annual health checks for gas appliances would go some way to increasing the safety of gas appliances in social housing across our district.”

The Gas Access campaign is led by the Home Group with the Association of Gas Safety Managers and CORGI Technical Services.

Second hand furniture sale

Bath & North East Somerset Council is organising a second hand furniture sale on Saturday February 7, at the former MoD building (next to the Recycling Centre) at Pixash Lane, Keynsham BS31 ITP.
It will take place between 10am and 12 noon, and there will be a variety of items on sale, all of which have been brought to the Council’s Recycling Centres by residents and are in good enough condition for re-use.
Items for sale include a piano, chests of drawers, bedside tables, dining room tables and chairs, three-piece suites, and much more.
Cllr David Dixon, Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods (LibDem, Oldfield) said: “This is a great way of avoiding waste and saving money too. Instead of being recycled or sent to landfill, these items are first being offered to residents at bargain prices.”
The Council’s recycling roadshow will also be there, giving advice, answering queries and providing recycling containers for people who need them.
All furniture bought at the sale must be taken away on the day. Items cannot be reserved. Sales will be cash only and the income used to help fund running future sales and other recycling activities.
Find out more at www.bathnes.gov.uk/wasteservices or contact Council Connect 01225 30 40 41, council_connect@bathnes.co.uk
ends

Celebrating National Libraries Day

Bath & North East Somerset Council will be marking National Libraries Day on Saturday February 7. Local libraries will be running a Find the Book Character Treasure Hunt for children and a literary quiz for adults – sheets will be available at all local libraries. Library visitors will also be able to rent DVDs at half price, and reserve two items on the LibrariesWest catalogue free of charge. Those who borrow at least three physical items (books, CDs, audio books, and DVDs) or join online at www.librarieswest.org.uk will also be entered into a prize draw with the chance to win a Samsung Galaxy tablet, a £25 Amazon voucher and a range of bestselling books. Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Cllr David Dixon, said: “National Libraries Day is a great day to celebrate everything our libraries can offer. The Council runs eight libraries and a mobile service and also supports four community libraries.” Library members can benefit from a whole range of services including: · Borrowing books, CDs, audio books, and DVDs. · Online, there are free e-books and audio downloads as well as reference works, family history research material and more. · Support for children and families including Bookstart packs, baby rhyme times and loans to pre-school groups. · Information, advice, and courses for adult learners. · Community activities including reading groups, writing competitions and After Hours events. To find out more about the range of services provided by Bath & North East Somerset Council libraries visit http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/libraries-and-archives

Council supports sustainable transport

Bath & North East Somerset Council has provided a new charging point for electric vehicles in South Wansdyke Sports Centre car park in Midsomer Norton.

The charging unit enables two cars to charge at once, each using one of the 32amp/7kw fast charge sockets which provide a full recharge from empty in about four hours.

The unit has been funded through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund – a Government grant for a package of measures aimed at improving sustainable transport options. It is hoped the charge point will encourage electric vehicle use, lower emissions and improve air quality in the area.

Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Cllr Caroline Roberts (Lib Dem, Newbridge) said: “Electric vehicles are more environmentally-friendly than fossil fuel-based vehicles, so the Council is pleased to be supporting the use of them through electric charging points. This is a definite bonus for air quality and we hope people will make the best possible use of them.”

Further charge points will be installed at other locations including the Fox and Hounds car park in Keynsham and Newbridge Park and Ride in early 2015. Other public charge points already available across Bath and North East Somerset include Odd Down and Lansdown Park and Ride sites, Charlotte Street car park in Bath and the University of Bath.

The website www.sourcewest.info maps all of the publicly available charge points as well as providing information about electric vehicles. There is also a Source West smartphone app run by Charge Your Car that enables you to check charge point locations and availability while on the move.

Winners of Building Control Awards 2014 announced

Award-winners have been announced for this year’s Bath & North East Somerset Council Building Control Awards for Building & Design Quality, sponsored by the Bath Stone Group.

The awards are run annually to promote and reward builders and designers undertaking work within the Bath and North East Somerset area who excel in their achievements.

Cllr Tim Ball (Lid-Dem, Twerton), Cabinet Member for Homes & Planning, said: “This is the fifteenth year we have run the awards and the judges have once again been impressed with the high quality of the entries. It is excellent that the Council’s Building Control Section can use this scheme to promote high quality in building construction and design in our area.

“The Building Control team received over 1,100 building regulation applications last year so the winners have done very well to succeed against all the potential competition.”

“We would also like to thank the Bath Stone Group once again for kindly sponsoring this year’s awards.”

One of the award winning buildings this year is the new academic building, ‘Commons’ constructed by Skanska for Bath Spa University’s Newton Park campus. Commons is a world class development which features state-of-the-art teaching and learning spaces as well as the best broadcast ready digital studios and editing suites in the South West. All three floors of the building provide study space, social learning space and bookable group working rooms.

Professor Christina Slade, Vice-Chancellor at Bath Spa University, said: “I am delighted that Commons has won this award. This new building is a significant part of a long-term investment in the student experience at Bath Spa. The high quality facilities provided by Commons will help ensure our graduates are well prepared to meet the needs of the growing creative industries as they go on to work across the creative economy, both in the UK and abroad.

The award ceremony will be held on Friday, 13th February in the Banqueting Room of the Guildhall, Bath where Don Foster MP will present the awards which include an inscribed Bath Aqua glass bowl and framed certificate.

For more information about the Building Control Awards, please visit: www.bathnes.gov.uk/bcawards

Building Quality Award Winners

Domestic Extension
Beechlands, Entry Hill Drive, Bath
Newmans Building Conservation

Highly commended:
2 Farrs Cottages, Combe Down, Bath
Moon Design and Build

New Housing
Development at Ralph Allen’s Yard, Rock Hall Lane, Combe Down, Bath
Cox Development Partners

Highly commended:
Mission House, Williamstowe, Combe Down, Bath
Oakland Construction
Crownhill, Granville Road, Lansdown Road, Bath
Charlcombe Homes

Public/Commercial
New Academic Building,
Bath Spa University, Newton Park, Bath
Skanska

Highly commended:
New teaching block, Ralph Allen School, Claverton Down, Bath
H Mealing & Sons

Works to a Listed Building
Court Farm, Langridge Lane, Langridge, Bath
Wraxall Builders

Highly commended:
Widcombe Manor, Church Street, Widcombe, Bath
Ken Biggs Contractors

Design Quality Award Winners

Domestic Extension
6 Bloomfield Avenue, Bath
Designscape Architects

Highly commended:
8 Copse Road, Saltford
whiteBOX Architects

New Housing
Village Hall Lane, Newton St Loe
Aaron Evans Architects

Highly commended:
Hensley House, Lansdown Road, Bath
Casa Architects
Mission House, Williamstowe, Combe Down
Gould Architects

Public/Commercial
New teaching block, Ralph Allen School, Claverton Down, Bath
Feilden Fowles Architects

Works to a Listed Building
Court Farm, Langridge
Designscape Architects

Beware scans via email

Bath & North East Somerset Council is asking local residents to be aware of an email scam in operation in relation to Council Tax.

The Council has had reports of a bogus email informing Council Tax payers that they have an outstanding Council Tax debt. The email goes on to say that the Council has been unable to process their recent payment and that they should pay again by clicking on the link within the email. These emails are not from Bath & North East Somerset Council.

If you are unsure whether you need to make a payment, please contact us on 01225 47 77 77, or email counciltax@bathnes.gov.uk

If you have received a scam email:
· Do not click on any links in the email.

· Do not reply to the email or contact the senders in any way.

· If you have clicked on a link in the email, do not supply any information on the website that may open.

· Do not open any attachments that arrive with the email.

· Report it to Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.

· If you think you may have compromised the safety of your bank details and/or have lost money due to fraudulent misuse of your cards, you should contact your bank immediately.

the same applies for banks and building societies as well. Never click on links unless you trust the sender and be wary of any email asking you for security information.