Friday, March 09, 2007

Lib Dem Manifesto

Today the Bath and North East Somerset Liberal Democrats launched their manifesto. Outlining our promises fo delievry over the next four years should the electorate choose the Liberal Democrats to take control of B&NES Council.

Our five priorities are:

  • Running an efficient council that is truly local.
  • Providing better public trasnport and a cleaner, greener environment.
  • Creating safe neighbourhoods and providing affordable housing.
  • Caring for older people, the young and the more venerable members of our community.
  • Promoting culture, regeneration and active, healthy lifestyles.

Over the coming weeks I will put up more details over the 5 priorities, but if you would like a full copy of our manifesto please do let us know.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Residents' Parking - Update

Frustrated residents are joining forces to save their streets from commuter parking.

Two groups have combined their efforts to battle for parking permits.

Residents from Thomas Street and the surrounding area have been pushing for a residents' parking scheme for some time.

They say the area, which is a short walk from the city centre, is currently a parking free-for-all.

Camden Residents' Association has been fighting a similar battle after the issue was first raised several years ago.

Now the two areas are joining forces to lobby for funding to create the permit zone in the coming council year.

Amy Morris, who has been heavily involved in the Thomas Street campaign, said that new double-yellow lines on a neighbouring road increased pressure on the available spaces. The lines on Pera Road were put in last week, but the problems are still going on. A few spaces have been lost, but the number of commuters, residents and shoppers hasn't gone down. There is a lot of support in our area for the residents' parking zone. However, at the moment the council won't move it on because the area is too small for a zone on its own."

Chairman of the Camden association Nigel Sherwen said that initial enquiries in the area, around two years ago, had been split in half for and against residents' parking.

But a survey from March last year had seen figures rise to a more conclusive majority in favour.

"We agreed at the AGM we would review the figures we had," he said. This time there was a healthy majority for a zone - at the west end of Camden it was up around 80 per cent. The council told us this was enough support, but that we weren't a big enough zone. That's where Thomas Street comes into it, to the south of Camden. We want to help the council. We have offered to distribute information and hopefully we can get money into next year's budget for the ground work. If it all goes well, then by September or October, it could be in place."

Councillor David Dixon (Lib Dem, Walcot ward) said joining forces was likely to prove beneficial for both areas.

"That area is the closest place to the city centre without residents' parking schemes. We need to take a wider approach on these things and think about the knock-on effect for each area. I don't think you can bring it in to one area and not the other. It will just displace all the traffic to the other area."

Story thanks to Anna Mansell, Bath Chronicle

Massive Investment in Youth Centre

Thanks to the efforts of Local Liberal Democrats £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 (Lib Dem, Walcot) and local residents’ enthusiasm for keeping this centre alive. The Riverside Community Association was set up under the Chairmanship of Cllr Dixon with the aimof keeping the valuable facility at Riverside.

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

12 weeks of work started in January 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 I have 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, 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 and a regular cleaning schedule with Wessex Water, The Porter Butt and the Council working together to keep it litter free.

Clear Drains at Ringswell Gardens

After many efforts by a number of local residents at Ringswell Gardens, Councillor David Dixon is pleased to report that Bath and North East Somerset Council and Wessex Water have successfully worked together to stop the flooding which occurred after heavy rainfall in cul-de-sacs at Ringswell Gardens.

Councillor David Dixon had been in contact with Colin Skellett (Chief Executive, Wessex Water) to make sure that this problem is solved once and for all, and passed on the positive comments received from local residents on the attitude and communications received from contractors working for Wessex Water and for the Council.

Councillor Dixon said, “It is great to see that the Council has worked well with Wessex Water in solving this problem. I was horrified to see how much flooding occurred at this location and full credit to the local residents who fought hard to bring an end to this problem. I am glad that this has hopefully now been resolved.”

Kensington Gardens Park

The small park at Kensington Gardens has had a revamp thanks to the efforts of local residents working closely with the Council’s Park’s Department.

In the initial consultations a number of residents had concerns over the proposed loss of the handrail. Local Lib Dem Councillor David Dixon, sought reassurances from the Council that a handrail would be installed. Unfortunately as many would have noticed this took a while longer than anticipated but Cllr Dixon is happy to report that the handrail is now in place.

On inspecting the handrail Cllr Dixon said, “I am really pleased that this scheme got off the ground, I have to thank local residents and the London Road and Snow Hill Partnership for moving this project forward. I am pleased to see the new handrail finally in place as it provides invaluable assistance to people who need it. I have been asked if we can reinstall a separate dog bin at this location and I do my best to get this back into place”.

The Council’s parks department have also agreed to improve maintenance of the park to ensure that it stays in good condition.

London Road Pollution

Liberal Democrat Councillors and local landlord Andy Tanner are campaigning to ban lorries from the London Road. Unfortunately the Conservatives in charge of transport have failed to take action on this. Cllr Colin Darracott said, “Once we take power from the Tories over transport issues we can seriously look at banning HGV’s from the London Road. We are keen to work with local campaigners such as Andy to lobby for such measures.”

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Southbourne Gardens Former Allotments

Local residents will probably know by now that the planning inspector rejected the appeal by the potential developers of the Southbourne Gardens former allotment site. However, another application in the future must be anticipated. The principal defence against the recent application rested on traffic and highways issues.

Cllr Colin Darracott hopes the site will be brought back into use as allotments. He said, “There is such demand for allotments in the city, particularly from the Eastern residential area, and the Council cannot at the moment meet its statutory requirements. I hope that a strategy will emerge soon, following preliminary work”.