Roman Baths wins again

Roman Baths named winner in 2015 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards

The Roman Baths has been recognized as a winner in the 2015 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for museums coming 5th in best-rated museum in the UK and making it the most popular paid-for attraction in the country, and the only museum outside London to appear in the top five. It is also a great testament to Local Government running such attractions. To ensure this continuous investment and improvement of the offer over time is vital.

To see TripAdvisor reviews see link at Roman Baths


For all of TripAdvisor’s 2015 Travellers’ Choice award-winning museums, go to .



New Clock Tower for Keynsham

A new landmark is set to be officially unveiled in the centre of Keynsham. This is great news and it was one of the final deliverables from the large town centre regeneration project built under my leadership over the last 4 years. It is a late part as the committee that was tasked with commissioning an art piece for the scheme originally selected something that was out of tune with the residents. I had to cancel it and start again with a brief that it must be based on a clock motive. The second time the Keynsham Art Advisory group came up trumps.

For many years people in the town used the old clock tower in the town as a landmark and meeting place, but it disappeared as part of the re-development of Keynsham town centre in 2014. Now though Keynsham will once again be up-to-the minute, with the un-veiling of a new specially-commissioned clock tower in Market Walk, the open area in front of the new Civic Centre. Funded by Bath & North East Somerset Council as part of the Keynsham regeneration project, the new clock tower, designed by artist Sebastien Boyesen, is being installed in early September and will be officially un-veiled on Saturday September 19, at 12 noon.



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:

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

New Academic Building,
Bath Spa University, Newton Park, Bath

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

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

Works to a Listed Building
Court Farm, Langridge
Designscape Architects

Moorland Road is amazing

Web BusyBee




From L 2 R Cllr Sharon Ball, Cllr Will Sandry, Cllr Paul Crossley and Sarah Moore











After a morning visiting the new ramp at Claude Avenue that leads down to the Linear Way and talking with residents and users on the path about the facility time for a coffee and chat on the amazing Moorland Road in the Busy Bee cafe.

This is one of our main shopping parades outside the city centre and it is good to see it thriving with a range of shops selling a wide variety of products.

Photo thanks to Sean Moore.


Kelston Toll Road





Me at the Kelston Toll Road doing one of many interviews since the road opened.










In the awful rains at the beginning of the year the land at Kelston started slipping down the hill. At the Kelston Road the movement was going on at a dept of 7 metres and the effect on the road was to open a wide and deep crack. We had to close the road. This is a main comuter route between Bath and Bristol and the closure caused a large diversion of 14 miles to get round it. Inconvient and time consuming and it affected the village of Kelston particularly badly.

The Council started monitoring the landslip and exploring possible repairs for when the land stopped moving. The land slip did not actually stop till mid June. However during this time local business man Mike Watts wanted a temporary relief road built. He got together with the local landowner and built a temporary toll road above the landslip which opened as a Toll Road at the end of July at £2 per trip.

This was built without planning permission. Luckily the retrospective application is now coming in. The Council itself could not have done this temporary road as the construction is not upto highway standards. Still it is proving popular with motorists and from the Council point of view it is not interfering with the major repair work to the road which has now started.

The Toll road has attracted a lot of media interest from across the country and beyond. Apart from ITV, BBC and Sky there has also been a visit from German ZDF TV. Also every radio station in the area has covered the story. Mike Watts has worked well with our Highways team to ensure that safety and efficient working happens.

The full repair which will cost in the order of £2M should be complete before Christmas.

Clutton and Chelwood

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.

Civic Engagement Conference 2013/09/28

The Civic Engagement Conference organised by the Churches Action Network in Bath brought together over 150 Christians from the Somerset area to a conference at the Assembly Rooms in Bath to debate the role of the Church in modern society and the tasks that churches can and/or should be getting more actively involved in working with communities.

As one of the speakers my theme was how Local Councils and active Church networks such as CAN can build up a better partnership to deliver better outcomes for individuals and families and communities.

Picture shows me with the Mayor of Bath and our local MP for Bath Don Foster

CAN Civic engagement

Marine Energy Parks

Bristol Channel Has Massive Renewable Energy Potential

The proposal for a large scale barrage across the Severn estuary would be an economic and environmental disaster. A recent report shows how a combination of innovative technologies could generate significant low carbon energy, and economic benefits from the Bristol Channel, without the need for a large scale barrage. The report has been issued by renewable energy experts Regen SW and consultancy firm Marine Energy Matters.

The discussion document, “Bristol Channel Energy: A Balanced Technology Approach”, proposes a new strategy to harness the massive energy potential of the Bristol Channel in a way which balances the imperative to generate low carbon energy with the protection of the environment and communities on both the Welsh and English sides of the channel.  The multi technology strategy outlined in the report would utilise new concepts such as tidal lagoons and tidal fences, deployed in conjunction with tidal stream technology, wave and wind power. The report authors highlight that the key advantage of the multi-technology approach is to enable the incremental roll-out of a series of large scale energy schemes as technologies are proven and their environmental impacts can be properly managed. Ultimately this lower risk strategy could provide up to 14 GW of low carbon energy capacity, more than the barrage proposals, and would enhance the UK’s position as a hotbed for new technology development.  The balanced technology approach, which has strong backing from industry groups including the Bristol Tidal Energy Forum, West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and South West Marine Energy Park, builds on the strength of the marine energy technology sector in the UK, and could provide a more sustainable route to economic growth and job creation.

The new approach is welcomed by environmental groups including Friends of the Earth and the RSPB. It is also what I have been advocating for many years now.

We must find ways to take the energy of the Severn that are

# clean

# renewable

# help and enhance the local environment

# create employment for the long term

# help our area become a world leader in innovative design and technology for harnessing energy from tidal power

a large barrier fails every single one of these challenges and destorys Bristol Port, increases flood area, does great damage to the ecology and fails to create any new renewable industry.

For more information about Regen SW click on this link 

For more information about Marine Energy Matters  click on this link 

For more information about the South West Marine Energy Park click on this link

The UK Government has promoted the creation of the Marine Energy Park (MEP) as part of its strategy to support the development of the UK marine energy sector. The South West MEP was designated as the UK’s first Marine Energy Park in January 2012 and covers the geographic area from the Severn Estuary and around the coast of Cornwall to the Isle of Wight. The designation recognises the fantastic energy resources that the south west offers. This includes wave, wind, tidal stream and tidal range resources – as well as the clusters of research, industry and supply chain around the hub areas of Bristol, Plymouth and Cornwall. The aim of the South West MEP is to create a business environment that will accelerate the commercial development of the marine energy sector.  To do this the South West MEP has established a powerful partnership which now consists of over 80 organisations from the private sector, research organisations, universities and public bodies.


Work on better cycle route for A4 starts

The Liberal Democrat budget presented this week continues our committment to improving cycle and pedestrian routes in the authority. The Conservatives voted against our proposals but already work has started to widen the path along the northern footway of the A4 dual carriageway, for the use of pedestrians and cyclists.  The route is on the north side of the A4 Bristol Road between the Globe roundabout and the junction of the A4 Bristol Road / A36 Lower Bristol Road. The project will take approximately 3-4 weeks.  This is one of a number of schemes by the Council to provide improved cycle routes between Bath centre and Bath Spa University, with the cycle/pedestrian route between the A4 and the entrance of the university currently under construction.

Increasing the number of people cycling and walking is good for the environment; is good for health and wellbeing; improves the safety for walkers and cyclists and allows better use of the road network for those car drivers who need to make the journey by car.


Community action


Community rubbish pick is this Sunday, 10 February from 11 to 1pm meeting at the gravel car park by the Lock Keeper pub.  B&NES are lending us some equipment, but do bring your own if you have it.

Keynsham Wombles is a Transition Keynsham Project aiming to reduce the amount of litter on our streets.  If you feel able to help pick up litter in a small area near your home or work in Keynsham please email and we will love you for ever!!

Bath City Farm

9th  Feb Community litter pick Take in the beautiful surroundings and do something for a
good cause!  The farm needs volunteers to help clean up the site – go on, it will be fun!
All equipment will  be provided. Meet outside the Farm shop. Everyone welcome.
Booking not required (10.30 – 12.30pm).
16th Feb Community tree planting day Have a great day out and help the farm by
planting trees  in our sheep field. All tools and tuition will be provided. Everyone welcome.
Booking not required (10.30 – 3.00pm).