Friday, January 26, 2007

Sydney Gardens

The green spaces and the children's play park at Sydney Gardens are in need of some work to bring them back to there former glory.

Issues were highlighted by a local resident in the Bathwick Estate about graffiti in the play area and Cllr Dixon has spoken to the Council's Park's Department, who are currently working on plans to improve the gardens, this includes the possibility of a revamped play area and improved open spaces.

Cllr David Dixon said, "I am please to see that the Council, working with local residents and the Police are looking to improve the facilities at Sydney Gardens and I especially look forward to improved play areas for young children."

Do you have an idea or could you help get involved? Please contact Cllr David Dixon at

The Future of our Rubbish?

The latest ‘Rubbish or Resource?’ consultation starts on Thursday, 25 January and continues until Friday, 23 March 2007.

This is your opportunity to have your say about how we should deal with residual waste in the West of England.Residual waste is all the rubbish which is left over after we have recycled and composted all we can. Landfill sites are rapidly running out of space and should only be used as a last resort. There are seven viable options which are alternatives to landfill. Which would you favour? And…where should it/they be located?

Local Councillor Colin Darracott, (Lib Dem, Walcot) said, "The Liberal Democrat Group on the Council is absolutely committed to recycling and reducing rubbish and we have set ourselves a long term goal of Zero Waste. In 2000 the Council was awarded Beacon Status by the government for its waste and recycling services. Currently 40% of our rubbish goes this way."

The Lib Dem Group in the Council will continue to support waste reduction and recycling schemes in line with the Waste Hierarchy.If you want to visit the website and take part in the consultation click here.
Or you can download the consultation document and questionnaire here.

Decision on Parking Charges to be Review!

A public meeting is being held on Monday, 5 February to review a recent decision by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Executive, agreeing proposed changes to parking charges in Bath city centre.

It was agreed at the Executive meeting on 10 January that proposed new parking charges would be implemented in April 2007.

Members of the public are invited to register their interest in speaking at the meeting to be held in the Brunswick Room in the Guildhall, High Street, Bath, at 10.30am.

The introduction in April 2006 of free bus travel for the elderly and disabled, as well as pay-on-foot parking - with all its faults and problems when installed, has resulted in a potential budget deficit in the Council’s transportation budget. The proposed new charges will help to generate enough income to cover this shortfall and allow the Council to continue funding other necessary transport projects.

Nineteen councillors have asked for this decision to be reviewed (or called-in). The councillors feel that parking charges should not be used as a way of raising money in order to meet these shortfalls in the transport budget. They also believe there has not been enough consideration of the impact that these charges will have on local businesses in Bath and that there has been a lack of consultation with residents and the local business community.

The councillors have challenged the decision through the Council’s call-in process, which enables them to request that an Executive decision, which has been made but not yet implemented, is reconsidered.

Cllr David Dixon, Panel Chair, said: “We need to be very clear about the role of this call-in hearing. The panel’s remit is to review whether or not the decision to increase car parking charges in Bath has been properly taken, with due consideration to best practice in consultation, and to the risks surrounding the implications of this decision. The Panel can only decide whether or not to refer this decision back to the Executive to review and has no power to over-rule the decision.”

The Planning, Transportation and Sustainability Overview and Scrutiny Panel is responsible for leading this review. This cross-party panel will consider the reasons for the call-in and will hear relevant evidence, in order to recommend whether the decision should be implemented or referred back to the Executive Member for reconsideration.

It is important for the Panel to hear from contributors, such as local residents, visitors, and the business community, in order to help determine how well consultation has taken place over the proposed increase in parking charges.

Members of the public who would like to speak at the meeting should contact Democratic Services on 01225 394 411 by 5pm on Wednesday, 31 January 2007.

Written submissions can be made by emailing, or in writing to:

Overview and Scrutiny team,
Parking Review Call-In,
Democratic Services,
The Guildhall,
High Street,
Bath BA1 5AW

Monday, January 22, 2007

Conservative's Hike Up Car Parking Charges...

... and anything extra to show for it? You must be joking!

If the Tories get their way, parking charges in Bath are on course for a massive increase.
Commenting shortly after Conservative Transport Supremeo Cllr Sir Elgar Jenkin’s plans were approved Cllr David Dixon, (Lib Dem, Walcot) said:

"The report that was presented said that free local bus travel for the over 60’s has cost the Council ‘far more than was budgeted for’ and that ‘demand for free travel has exceeded all expectations’ the decision offers nothing extra for residents of Bath and North East Somerset and this increase is simply to balance the books."

The Liberal Democrats raised the issue of the projected costs of the Diamond Card with Cllr Jenkins over a year ago, and warned him that free travel could end up costing substantially more than expected.

Cllr Dixon continued, "I believe there should have been a thorough review of parking charges and bus usage, taking account of the free journeys under the Diamond Card scheme, to ensure that costs could be met without increasing pressure on income from parking."

It seems to me that the Conservatives have ignored our warnings and once again have had to take yet more money from Bath residents to pay for their mistakes. Let's just hope that voters will remember this when electing a new council in May.

We Can Cut Crime

Ming Campbell's Liberal Democrats are taking the lead, proposing real action at a national level and acting to cut crime where we are in power locally.

Violent crime is rising, anti-social behaviour is still a serious problem, and our prisons are overflowing. Labour have talked tough but have failed to deliver despite 10 years in power.
The Tories are in disarray on crime. One day it's hug a hoodie; the next it's slap a hoodie. Who knows what the Tories stand for now? What we do know is that the last Tory government cut police numbers and let violent crime double.

Enough is enough. Tough talk doesn't tackle crime - we've learnt that from the last twenty years of Labour and Conservative failure. This campaign is about taking effective action to make our country safer.

We need more police, freed from the burden of bureaucracy, to take back our town centres, especially after dark. Instead of spending billions of pounds on compulsory ID cards for innocent, law-abiding citizens, that money should be spent on targeting criminals and tackling crime.
We need a prison system that works. Prisoners should work to pay compensation to their victims, and to cut reoffending. A life sentence should mean life.

We are serious about cutting crime. Together, we can make Britain safer for all of us.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Football Pitch at Kensington Meadows - A Step Closer!

Young footballers are celebrating after receiving a grant to bring the sport back to a green space near London Road. Kensington Meadows was once a popular spot for informal sporting contests, with friends gathering for kick-abouts and others regularly setting up cricket wickets. For many years the area has been ignored by all but dog walkers. But trails have been taking place in the meadows' nature reserve during recent months, boosting awareness of the green space. Now a 14-strong group of youngsters have started to gather to play football on Sunday afternoons, with jumpers for goalposts. But last night a cheque for more than £1,300 was handed over to the Walcot Wanderers Youth team to pay for new goalposts, with the aim of having a coaching day for the team later in the year.

One of the Wanderers, Karin Harwood, who lives in Snow Hill, said they were very pleased to have won the grant from Bath and North East Somerset Council's Youth Bank scheme.

The informal group prepared their application with the support of Cllr David Dixon (Lib Dem, Walcot) and Karim attended an interview with the fellow teenagers on the Youth Bank panel who decided their fate. The 18-year-old said: "There's nothing to do round here but cause trouble, so we thought we'd try to start a team and have something to look forward to."I'm really am pretty happy about getting the grant and can't wait for them to put in the posts."

Cllr Dixon became involved when the youngsters approached him asking for help to improve the meadows for young people. "I initially told them there wouldn't be money available from the council and that we could look elsewhere," said Cllr Dixon. "Then the council's leisure team told me about Youth Bank, so I handed it over as the applications are made by young people and decided by their peers."

This is good news that started with friends having a kick around. Now it can kick start a lot more for young people."

Money left from installing goalposts will go towards a free coaching day in the spring. The response to this day will then be used to see if there is enough interest for regular coaching of other youth sports to be organised at the meadows.

The group received its Youth Bank cheque from the chairwoman of B &NES Council, Cllr Loraine Morgan-Brinkhurst (Lib Dem, Newbridge), at a presentation ceremony last night.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Riverside Youth Centre Refurbishment

£130,000 has been ploughed into improvements at the Riverside Community Centre on the London Road.

The centre which is based behind the Porter Butt next to the river Avon, was a couple of years ago under threat of being closed down after an unfortunately unsuccessful bid to turn it into a Healthy Living Centre.

However this did not stop Councillor David Dixon (left in picture) and local residents enthusiam for keeping this centre alive. The Riverside Community Association was set up under the Chairmanship of Cllr Dixon with an aim to keep the valuable facility at Riverside.

Last year Local Councillor Colin Darracott (centre in picture) agreed £130k worth of works to take place at the centre to bring it up to standard for the Disability Discrimination Act.

Last week 12 weeks of work started at the centre which will see significant improvements and a much better facility for users.

Cllr Darracott said of the scheme, "I am really pleased that the Council has been able to allocate these funds to the centre, last year we saw Council investment into a state of the art music studio in one part of the centre and with this extra £130,000 I think the local community will be really pleased with these developments."

Andy Tanner (centre in picture) a local campaigner and landlord of the Porter Butt is also pleased to see improvements at the centre and is working with the Council to help improve the access road, which we hope to see resurfaced once the works at the Centre are completed.

Cllr David Dixon Plans to Run Bath Half!

Cllr David Dixon and the team at Minuteman Press will be running in the Bath Half Marathon this year.

David is looking to raise funds for the RUH Forever Friends appeal while his work colleagues in his day job at Minuteman Press on Walcot Street will be fund raising for Breast Cancer Research. He says, "I thought it would be good to run the Bath Half not only to help get in shape for my wedding in July, but also to help raise money for such a local worthwhile cause. I am sure that it will be very challenging, but I am looking forward to it very much indeed."

If you would like to sponsor David you can contact him on or call him on 07900 974975.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Outrage at Road Safety Measures Removed

Road safety measures which were introduced to a busy rat run in 2003 have been removed and branded as "grossly over the top" by the Conservative Councillor in Charge of Highways Cllr Elgar Jenkins (Con, Bathwick).

Concerns were raised over the gradual disappearance of the speed reduction measures along Camden Road by the Mr Nigel Sherwen, Chairman of the Camden Road Residents Association, who in a letter to Cllr Jenkins says, "You will know that the Camden Road Residents Association has campaigned long and hard to get the 20MPH zone and traffic calming measures consisting mainly of speed tables and speed cushions installed and we have been pleased to see the improvement that has been made in reducing speeds... ...Unfortunately over the last year or more there has been a series of activities which has led to speed cushions being removed and not replaced in several places."

In total seven speed cushions have been removed and not reinstated. Local Councillor David Dixon (Lib Dem, Walcot) says, "These speed cushions have been removed with no consultation with local residents or local councillors. The Council had listened to the Association who had campaigned for years to have the traffic slowed down, and they were rewarded for their campaigning for road safety measures in this area, local residents and councillors were consulted and the safety measures were put in place. In my view to remove them with no consultation or without the Council demonstrating with evidence that the road is just as safe without them as it was with them is simply disgraceful."

A question has been raised with the Council Solicitor as to why this decision to remove the safety measures had not gone through the usual Council democratic processes and why no one was consulted on the changes before they happened.

Climate Change - New Tory Labour Broadcast

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Football at Kensington Meadows

Jumpers for goalposts will soon be a thing of the past for young Rooneys and Lampards playing football in the area.

The youngsters from Larkhall and Snow Hill have won a grant from Youth Bank to improve the facilities at Kensington Meadows.

The initiative, run by young people themselves, will next week award them £1,380.

Walcot Cllr David Dixon (Lib Dem), who put the youngsters in touch with the organisation, said the money would pay for new goalposts plus a one-off coaching session. c "It's great because it's getting more young people involved with physical exercise," he said. "We've had both young and old people there using their jumpers to mark the goalposts. This award, plus the revamp of the Riverside youth centre, is all culminating to provide better facilities for young people."

Resident's Parking Thomas Street and environs

Over 100 households have now responded to the Resident's Parking Survey.

In Thomas Street 94% of respondents support a scheme

In Clarence Street 58% of respondents support a scheme

In Pera Road and Pera Place 78% of respondents support a scheme

In Seymour Road 65% of respondents objected to a scheme

Local residents sent out a newsletter stating that I would be asked to put forward a scheme excluding Seymour Road, however since this we have received a number of letters and a petition asking for Seymour Road to be included.

Therefore I have asked Parking Officers to look at introducing a scheme including Seymour Road and the whole area from Camden Road (who consulted through the Camden Road Resident's Association with string support) down to the London Road.

I will look at organsing a public meeting with Parking Officers attending to help answer any questions.

There are still a number of steps.

The Council need to advertise a Traffic Regulation Order detailing the scheme, this must be advertised for formal responses for 28 days.

The Executive Member for Transport - current the Cllr Sir Elgar Jenkins, but very likely to change after May local elections, then receives a report which they must agree to implement a scheme or not.

If agree scheme needs to be implemented, probably not likely until after May 2007.

I will continue to move this forward as fast as can be but it is worth local residents also putting their feelings in writing to