Saturday, October 11, 2008

Local people feeling the pinch

Soaring prices of petrol, food and heating are hitting people hard across Bath.

It doesn’t matter how much you earn, almost everyone is feeling the pinch. Hardest hit are pensioners and others on fixed incomes.

Bath MP Don Foster said, "People are fed up with Gordon Brown’s excuses for his economic mismanagement. We need action now to help people in Bath. Pensions went up by just a few pounds a week this year. That is quickly wiped out when the cost of basic foods like butter and cheese has risen by a third in a year. Petrol prices remain sky high. It doesn’t stop there either. The cost of heating also went up by up to 40% too. With winter setting in it is clear that we need action now to help the most vulnerable in our communities."

Lower taxes needed

Walcot Ward Councillors Colin Darracott and David Dixon are backing Lib Dem Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable MP to get action to tackle the crisis.

Top priority is putting more money in the pockets of ordinary people. The Lib Dems are calling for a 4p in the pound cut in income tax and better pensions.

Energy companies would be forced cut prices for the less well off and pay to improve home insulation.

Cllr David Dixon said, "It’s only right that people need to keep more of what they earn to help deal with rising prices. The Government’s own statistics show that the price of a basic shop has gone up by 26% in the last year. Energy companies have made massive profits from their customers. It’s time that they helped those on low incomes. No one should have to choose between putting food on the table or keeping their home warm."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ice Rink for Bath

Plans for an ice rink for Bath have been approved, at last one might think?

Hold on though, the Conservative run cabinet have once again demonstrated their total lack of udnerstanding about our beautiful city and decided to hide it away behind the Bath Sports and Leisure Centre.

What's the point in that? No visitor to Bath will bother to venture down there to go ice skating. This is just another ploy for the Council to say, we tried to help but no one wanted it - no one will know it's there!

Why not put it in the town centre where people can actually access it easily? By the Abbey? Parade Gardens? Stall Street? This token gesture to suport an ice rink is just that. Now doomed to failure in such a poor location!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Dyson Gone!

James Dyson had a dream to build an exciting academy in Bath to specialise in design and technology. It was supported by the Liberal Democrats and all political parties in Bath. It was supported by the Tony Blair’s Labour Government that wanted these new schools. It was supported by Gordon Brown’s Labour Government.

The road was hard and rocky with false dawns and planning objections along the way. Eventually the Planning Committee passed a design. And then horror - the Government decided to call a planning inspection on the whole process at the behest of the environment agency. What a shambles this current government is - one arm detached from another arm. Complete disarray. Now we are in credit crunch territory and the Government has reviewed its financial commitment to the project. What a shambles.

Lets hope that James Dyson’s decison is not final and that a way can be found to bring this exciting school to fruition in the heart of Bath.

Our Conservative administration meanwhile just stayed quiet all along - difficult problems are easier to deal with if you have someone else to blame.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Southbourne Gardens battle hits 20 mark

October 1st marked the 20th anniversary of the day when local residents were evicted from their allotments on land at the end of Southbourne Gardens, Bath.

The land is privately owned and the owner wished to build on the allotments. There have been numerous applications to build but for all of those 20 years local residents have resisted them. Although the space is virtually inaccessible it is now subject to yet another in a long list of planning applications.

Liberal Democrat Councillors Colin Darracott and David Dixon (Walcot) are supporting Claremont Residents' Association (CRASS) members in their hope that the land could be returned to use as allotments. The Council knows that there is a very long list for local allotments and that plans to build can be rejected if old allotments are needed once again.

Cllr Colin Darracott (Lib Dem, Walcot) said: "This is a frustrating example of the public sector being unable to deliver. The point is simple - there is growing demand for allotments in the area, powers exist to acquire land or reject development, but owing to conflicting priorities, nothing is achieved."

The gardens between Eastbourne Avenue and Chilton Road were originally divided into around 25 allotments.

Over the years local residents have been making donations to cover the cost of buying the land.

Chairman of CRASS, John Ingham said: "We can't call this 20-year mark a celebration, because we still haven't got our allotments. This is private property and I understand that the council has powers to acquire land for allotments. In view of the large demand for allotments and the modern emphasis on local food production, we hope the council will treat this as a priority. The latest application has been in for quite along time and we can't work out why. Some of the original allotment-holders are still very keen to get their plots back and there are also lots of new people, too."