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 comment@jointplanningwofe.org.uk

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: http://www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk.

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 :- http://www.libdems.org.uk/scrap-the-love-tax

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: https://www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk/consult.ti/JSPIO2015/consultationHome

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 www.bathnes.gov.uk/bathquayswaterside

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

New Archway Centre at Roman Baths

One of the projects that has been developing over the last four years is a major new education centre to enhance the Roman Baths experience. I am delighted that the new administration is continuing with this project.

Members of the public will be able to find out more about plans for the new Archway Centre in Bath at an exhibition in January.

The drop-in exhibition will be held in the Kingston Room in the Pump Room complex, from January 7 – 9, 11am to 4pm. There will also be a presentation on January 8, at 6.30pm. Those who attend will be able to see a 3D model of the building and meet some of the Council staff and architects working on the project

The Archway Centre project will create a new Roman Baths Learning Centre above and behind the former city laundry in York Street and Swallow Street. It will also include a World Heritage Centre for the city. In addition, visitors to the Roman Baths will be able to go beneath the street and see parts of the site that have never before been open for regular public access.

There will be an Investigation Zone where school parties can carry out investigative work on in-situ archaeological remains and Roman stonework in an atmospheric setting. School groups will be able to walk through these fascinating spaces beneath York Street via an underground tunnel and then through an original Roman doorway, straight into the Roman Baths to be met with a stunning view of the Great Bath chamber.

The Council has appointed local architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios as lead designers for the project. Other members of the design team are Bath-based structural and civil engineers Integral Engineering Design and mechanical and electrical engineers Method Consulting from Swindon.

The Archway Centre project is expected to cost approximately £5.2m. Bath & North East Somerset Council has committed £1m, and Council staff are now working with the design team to prepare a round two application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for capital funding of £3.5m. This will be submitted in June 2016.

Fracking – no thank you

The Conservative pursuit of Fracking at the same time as its savaging of the renewable industry makes no sense at all. Fracking produces a fuel source that contributes to global warming. Renewable energy gives us enrgy time and time and time again without creating green house gas.

On 16 Dec Parliament considered
That the draft onshore hydraulic fracturing (protected areas) regulations 2015 which were laid before this house on 16 July be approved.
The vote was Ayes 298 Noes 261
The Ayes included Jacob Rees-Moggs and Ben Howlett the two Conservative MPs representing Bath and North East Somerset residents.
The Noes included 7 of our 8 Liberal Democrat MPs. John Pugh was not in the house for the vote.

This vote means that licenses to explore fracking at 159 blocks of land across the UK were granted on Thursday – a day after MPs approved fracking 1,200m underneath national parks.

At the same time –

The Government announcemed that subsidies for rooftop solar panels will be greatly reduced, and taxpayer-funded support for large scale solar projects will also be scrapped. What a tragic decision comiong so close as it does after the historic Paris climate change accords.

This is bad news for households, jobs and UK plans for tackling climate change. By the Government’s own estimates the cuts could cost between 9,700 and 18,700 jobs in the solar industry. Another wasted opportunity by this Conservative Government.


Recycling this Christmas – we can all do our part

Did you know that by recycling 6 foil mince pie cases you could save enough energy to watch the Christmas episode of Downton Abbey? It’s a startling statistic but demonstrates the importance of recycling.  During the busy festive season we are all likely to create more waste and Bath & North East Somerset Council is urging residents to make the most of their recycling collections and recycle as much as possible. A wide variety of items can go into your recycling from plastic to food and drink packaging, glass bottles, cardboard boxes and wrapping paper.

Under my Leadership, as a community, in 2014-2015 we recycled and treated nearly 80% of the waste collected from our homes. Thank you everyone. This means that very little is now sent to landfill. But our research has shown that in the black sack rubbish we collect from homes about a quarter is food waste which could have been recycled.  The Council is now encouraging in 2016 more residents to use the food recycling collection so that as little as possible food ends up in our rubbish. If you don’t already recycle your food waste now is a good time to start – with the Council campaign of Feed Me and Win you could be lucky and win a £50 – £70 voucher (up to £100 in Jackpot January) as a reward and a thank you for recycling your food waste.

Bath & North East Somerset Council has recently made it easier and more convenient for you to recycle all your food waste (including turkey bones, plate scrapings and vegetable peelings) because you can now use everyday household plastic bags for your food recycling caddy, but please NO black bags or bags for life because these can be mistaken for rubbish!

Your food waste is valuable – the food you recycle is made into electricity and fertilizer – and if everyone in Bath and North East Somerset recycled all their food waste it would provide enough electricity to power 1,139 homes for a year.

For more information on the Feed Me and Win campaign visit:  www.feedmeandwin.co.uk

Christmas recycling reminders

Green box for recycling your: 

  • Greetings cards, wrapping paper (white backed , non-foil) and gift tags
  • Glass bottles and jars including mincemeat and cranberry sauce
  • Plastic bottles tubs and trays including cream pots and fruit trays, shampoo bottles (NO black plastic, plastic film or polystyrene please)
  • Foil including mince pie and quiche cases and takeaway trays
  • Cans, tins and aerosols including biscuit and sweet tins.

Blue bag for recycling your cardboard packaging, brown paper and food and drink cartons. 

Small broken or unwanted electricals – including fairy lights, hairdryers and drills, please put in a plastic bag next to your green box for recycling.

For tips on how you can waste less and recycle more this Christmas visit our web page How to have a greener Christmas 

Christmas day and New Year day recycling and rubbish collection changes

There are no collections on these bank holidays and the revised collection day will be Saturday 2 January.

Garden waste and Christmas tree collections

There are no garden waste collections for 2 weeks from Friday 25 December to Thursday 7 January 2016.  Normal collections will begin from Friday 8 January.  From 8 to 29 January 2016 we will collect your real Christmas tree for free during our fortnightly garden waste collection service.  The trees will be composted. Please:

  • Cut up your tree if it is more than 1.2 metres tall so that it will fit into our vehicle.
  • Remove any decorations first, including the pot.
  • Put it out for collection at the edge of your property so our crews can easily see it on your garden waste collection day.

Recycling Centres 

Closed on Christmas day (25 December), Boxing Day (26 December) and New Year’s Day (1 January)

If we experience extreme bad weather this winter please check our website and local radio stations for updates to collections www.bathnes.gov.uk/wasteservices.