Monday, May 19, 2008

Go Karting for Free!

Th Council's Youth Service, with the Police and Bath and North East Somerset Racial Equality Council are offering a free go karting trip to young people between the ages of 12 and 19 in the Snow Hill and London Road area.

The trip is on Monday 9th June and will depart from the Riverside Youth Centre on the London Road at 6.30pm and due to arrive back at 9.30pm.

Local Councillors and police beat team, as well as B&NES youth Workers will be attending.

Places are limited and will be on a first come first serve basis.

Please contact Rosco on 01225 442352 to book your place.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Council Budget

The Conservative administration have set a budget increase on Council Tax of 3.75%. However they have raised charges everywhere else which in our view means the real level of Council Tax rise is 7.56%. We voted against the buget and proposed an alternative which was rejected. Our alternative would have eliminated the carparking charges on blue badge holders, phased in increases in care charges and removed a substantial sum from the Waste Partnership of the West of England Partnership. The reason for this last part is that we are very concerned that this partnership is aiming to build a large mass burn incinerator (the Governments preferrred solution for waste) which we are completely opposed to. We would have used the money to bring forward food waste collection and a variety of other environmental initiatives.

Parking Charges Increase

Lib Dem Councillors have expressed their disappointment that the scrutiny call-in, which had been organised to look into the increases in parking costs in Bath, has been dismissed.The panel voted, by four votes to three, to dismiss the call-in, with Conservative Councillors from outside of Bath backing the original decision taken by their Conservative Cabinet colleague. The Cabinet member has now gone ahead and implemented the decision to apply increases of up to 60% to residents’ permit costs across the city, as well as a number of other changes to parking costs and arrangements.

The call-in panel raised a number of issues around poor consultation and excessive increases to permit costs. Although all Councillors agreed that consultation on this decision had been inadequate, Conservative Councillors appeared more concerned with the state of the Council’s finances than the issue of engaging with those who will be affected.

Councillor Ian Gilchrist (Widcombe), who led the call-in signatories commented:“I am disappointed that the Conservative and Independent members of the panel did not recognise the merits of the case made to uphold the call-in.“I thought that the arguments outlining the damaging effects of extending charged times in the city centre to 8pm were pretty compelling, and if they don’t listen to Nod Knowles (Director of Bath Festivals) who will they listen to?“I am slightly mollified by the apparent concession that Cllr Gerrish has made in the direction of Sunday evening parking, but this still has to be confirmed. If we have achieved even this small bit of good then that is a good thing. Residents will not be pleased at a 60% increase in their annual charges, but I do draw comfort from the thought that we at least did our best to oppose this.”

Cllr David Dixon (Lib Dem, Walcot) said:“This really is a kick in the teeth for the democratic process; this decision has been made with complete disregard for best practice in decision-making such as engaging with hard-to-reach groups and the elderly who are often on fixed incomes. The Cabinet member also refused to address the issues raised in the call-in notice, including my concerns around costs of permits for traders, most of whom are small independent businesses who can not afford such huge increases.”Concerns raised by Nod Knowles as to the impact on the night time economy, were supported by Cllr Roger Symonds (Combe Down), who said:“Extending car park charging from 6pm to 8pm will have a knock-on effect for all evening and night time businesses in the city centre. How long before this money grabbing administration extends charging until 8pm for kerbside parking as well? It is significant that none of the four councillors who voted to dismiss the call-in live in Bath.”

Monday, May 12, 2008

Improvements due at Morrisons Traffic Lights

After a local resident approached councillor David Dixon about the problems for pedestrians at Morrisons, changes are due to make life safer.

Traffic lights engineers have now spent some time assessing this junction and the conclusion was that the problem is being caused by vehicles from Bath turning into Morrisons through signals that are on red. This has resulted in some near misses.

To prevent this bad driver behaviour we are going to contact the Avon and Somerset Camera Partnership together with our own Traffic and Safety team to propose installing a red running traffic camera. In addition to this we will be changing the road markings and detector loop position on the right turn lane for Morrisons, this will reduce the number of vehicles held in this lane and help call the green filter arrow more frequently, which should further deter motorists going through the signals on red.