Saturday, November 21, 2009

Resident's Parking News

The Council has now published the Traffic Regulation Orders to implement a Controlled Parking Zone which will affect the following roads in Walcot:

Margaret's Hill
Pera Road
Pera Place
Thomas Street
Clarence Street
Seymour Road
Belgrave Cresecent
Camdem Road (from Lansdown Road to Claremont Shops)

In short the plan is to introduce a controlled parking zone which will operate from 8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday.

A map of the proposals can be found here.

This map is quite large. Once it opens up you can change the zoom level 100% and then scroll around the map looking at the detail.

Any responses must be with the council by 17th December 2009 so please write or e-mail all your responses BANES before then, whether for or against. As Dorothy Miley, the council officer responsible for the scheme, said you can object to parts of the scheme while approving others. The council is legally obliged to consider your comment and officers are normally very reluctant to proceed unless there is a clear majority.

Write to at the address below quoting the reference of the traffic order you are responding to (the references are given in the list of traffic orders below.

You can include more than one reference in the same letter. For all four quote PEV5942/DM, PEV/5943/DM, PEV5944/DM
& PEV5945/DM.

Traffic and Safety Team
Parking Services,
Temple Street,
BS31 1LA
e-mail council on residents parking

The traffic orders can be found as follows:

  • CPZ 15 (Camden and nearby roads) is here, Ref. PEV5942/DM
  • The equivalent note for the Alpine Gardens zone, CPZ 16, is here. Ref. PEV5944/DM
  • Changes to parking on Upper Hedgemead Road are here Ref. PEV5945/DM
  • The traffic order with the details of the proposed one way system around
    Gays Hill is here. Ref. PEV/5943/DM

Further information on how the council operate residents' parking can be found on the BANES website here.

A special thanks goes to The Camdem Resident's Association for hosting maps and documents on their website ,which has saved me hours of time publishing this story. - DAVE

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is Every Service at Council to be Privatised?

The Liberal Democrats and Trade Union has expressed concern over draft proposals to outsource many services provided by Conservative run Bath and North East Somerset Council.

Althgough the plans are yat to be finalised, the concept is to reduce the Council down to a Core of just 700, with many direct facing services, such as home care and street cleansing to be privatised or delivered in partnership with other orgainsations.

The draft policy document, The Future Council, says: "The future council should be strategic rather than operational - focused on convening and working with its partners to prioritise and commission public services rather than delivering services itself."

Other councils that have gone down this route, services that had been privatised included home care, sheltered housing and social services.

The Conservatives have said the authority needs to make 5% efficiency gains in the coming year. By Privatisation of services savings might indeed be made, but at what cost to delivering services to our residents?

Even between services the holistic approach of being one council does not exist, you only have to look at the fiasco with waste collections and cleansing. If the waste collection team arrives to collect your waste and your bag has been split they leave it to the street cleansing team, but do they think to actually let them know that a mess exists for them to tidy up?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Don't let the Tories Airbrush History

The Conservatives' new video claims history shows that they're a progressive force. If anything, it shows the opposite.

Let's just look at the history of Conservatives in power...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Conservatives Turn Backs on Charities

Senior Conservative Councillor Barry Macrae has recommended that empty shops in Bath should not be used for Charity organisations to use.

In a council watchdog committee looking at how the Council uses it large property portfolio to benefit local communities and charitable organisations, Cllr Macrae stated that he did not want to see empty Council properties use for charity shops.

Cllr David Dixon hit back at this saying, “During these difficult times there is a risk that the number of empty Council owned properties will increase and we should be looking at innovative ways to use these. If we can encourage charities to take up some of these locations then that would only be a good thing. A charity shop is better than an empty shop and I am surprised by the line that the Conservatives are taking on this.”

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cleveland Pools - request for help!

The Cleveland Pools Alliance was formed last year after several meetings between Prince's Regeneration Trust, Trevor Osborne Property Group and the Trustees of the Cleveland Pools Trust.

Everyone played their part in working on a new bid to the council but The Princes Trust's 'writing' of the final bid was instrumental in the CPT becoming the preferred bidder.

Heads of Terms have been signed and the lawyers are debating the final details of the 150 year lease. So major progress since the members who now make up the Cleveland Pools Trust started the campaign over five years ago and we have to be grateful to the Prince's Regeneration Trust for moving things on!

In addition the Cleveland Pools Alliance have been offered a substantial grant from English Heritage to prepare the next stage of the Feasibility Study and Business Plan. There is a just small downside to this generous offer that the Cleveland Pools Alliance have to come up with 20% of matchfunding ie £14,500!

Fundraisers among you please put your thinking caps on and come up with some innovative ideas.

Since early 2009, the Cleveland Pools Trust have been registered to be part of this years National Heritage Open Days, previously organised by the Civic Trust but now by English Heritage and we understand that the Cleveland Baths are included in this years B&NES promotional flyer. You can imagine the dismay when they were told a few days ago, in response to a request for access to do a risk assessment, that all access was denied!

Fortunately one local councillor persuaded 'the powers that be' to allow them on site for the few days before and the actual HODs.

So this is the preamble to the request for help. Those who have volunteered before will know the sun nearly always shines and it is not hard work really, more keeping an eye on people and making sure they are sensible. As before, have maps, photos and possible plans to inform people of the history and the plans will be available. Not being allowed on site until after 8th September makes it extremely difficult to predict how much weeding, moss clearance and grass cutting will be needed and therefore how many workparties might be required.

At a minimum Thursday afternoon and evening seem possible occasions.

The days which the Pools are advertised to be open are the afternoons of Friday 11th, Saturday 12th, and Sunday 13th between 2pm and 5pm.

There is a limit to the numbers of people allowed on site (about 80) and several stewards needed to keep the public safe. It would be great to have a life saver present and some firstaiders too, of course. If we could try and get the swimmers among you to come at the same sort of time, say on the Saturday or Sunday afternoon, it could be really useful to have a chat about your hopes and dreams. Any offers of help would be wonderful and as before you can choose your day and time slot of as little as an hour or a whole session if you would like. Please just let us know and we'll put you in touch!

Failed Labour Ministers £1.4m Pay Out!

Labour ministers who have been fired or left their jobs have enjoyed £1.4m in severance pay, figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

When MPs are appointed as ministers they get an extra salary and pension in addition to that earned as an MP. When they are fired in reshuffle, forced to leave under a cloud or resign, ministers get a severance payment equivalent to one quarter of their final salary, provided they do not take another ministerial appointment within three months.

Nearly 100 ex-ministers have benefited from the handouts. High profile beneficiaries include Peter Mandelson (twice), Charles Clarke, Alan Milburn, David Blunkett, Peter Hain, Margaret Beckett, Estelle Morris (twice), Lord Sainsbury, and the recently resigned James Purnell, Hazel Blears and Caroline Flint.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Steve Webb said:
“People will be shocked to learn that former ministers get these pay-offs even when they have been sacked or left of their own free will.

“Ministers should not be rewarded for failure.

“While thousands are losing their jobs, failed ministers get a huge payout on top of their salary as MPs. This can’t go on.”

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cardboard Collections Missed

Well we though that we might see an improvement in cardboard and green waste collection in Walcot with new routes and collection day. Apparently not!

The Conservative run Council have once again punished Walcot residents for putting out too much cardboard and green waste and have failed to supply enough vehicles to collect waste and many roads in Walcot have been missed today:

Seymour Road, Belgrave Crescent, Perfect View, Frankley Buildings, Chilton Road, Brunswick Street, Hanover Place, Kensington Place, Beaufort Terrace, Eastville Terrace and Upper East Hayes.

The line is that this will be collected tomorrow (Friday) however is has rained and I am sure that it will end up being brought back in or mashed into the ground.

Please call Cllr David Dixon on 07900 974975 if your waste has not been collected on Friday!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tories Plan to Cut Mobile Library Services

The mobile library service for Walcot will be cut if new proposals from the Conservative administration are approved.

A Consultation period is now about to start on the proposals.

We would ask that anybody who has an opinion on the mobile library service responds whether you are a current user or not.

The mobile library currently visits:
Morrisons (Weekly on a Tuesday one week and Thursday the next)
Grosvenor Bridge Road (Fortnightly)

Let us know your views by emailing and we will make sure that they are shared. You can read the decision paper at if you want to see the report in full.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

To help keep residents up to date with local issues, your local ward Councillors have monthly e-newsletters, with information about some of the hot topics throughout the Walcot Ward.

If you are interested in receiving this please email Cllr Dixon on and ask to sign up.

All emails will be treated confidentially and you are able to unsubscribe at any time.

Beetroot Bread

Cllr David Dixon writes,

Thank you to The Thoughtful Bread Co for the idea of beetroot bread, we were wondering what to do with all the beetroot we have had growing in the garden so this was the perfect recipe.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Problems turning right?

Local residents have told us how difficult it can be to turn right out of Forester Road.

We have visited with a highways engineer who will look at how this might be made easier. The most likely solution is to extend the yellow hatched box across both lanes of the carriageway.

We are still not 100% happy with the whole layout of the traffic system that was put in by the Conservatives, but will continue to work to tweak things to make life easier for those who live locally.

We have also spoken to highways officers to support them in the work that they are doing to improve routes to Bathwick St Mary and King Edward’s School, so that walking to school is a safer option.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Cllr Dixon Responds to Labour's Defence of £1m Bus Lane

Cllr David Dixon writes,

"Always interesting to note which parties are in bed together. The other week Labour Councillor John Bull jumped to the defence of teh Conservative's bus lane in Odd Down, I could resist but to respond.

The 700-yard bus lane on the A367 into Odd Down only serves to allow cars coming to Bath to overtake slower moving buses which does nothing to improve journey times for buses.

He also seems to think that because the £1,300 a yard bus lane is not being paid for by council tax payers in Bath and north east Somerset that it OK to spend so much on it.

Where is the value for money? The bus lane may have been funded by Government but maybe the Labour and Tory parties on the council forget the Government's money is also the money of the taxpayer.

It seems to me that the contractor for the scheme saw the Conservative leader of council, Cllr Francine Haeberling (Con, Saltford) coming, knew how much was available to spend on it and thought, "We'll have it all, thank you".

Are the Labour and Conservative groups on Bath and North East Somerset Council going to continue with this blatant misuse of taxpayers' money?

With their only line of defence being that it's not council tax money being spent, moving on to the controversial BRT Middle Bristol Road and the expansion of the park and rides, if these schemes are going to go ahead, we want to see value for money, not squandering of it.

Considering the rest of the Bath Package, such as a rapid transit link along the London Road, a new park and ride site at Mill Lane in Batheaston we should all watch out for the way our money is spent."

Friday, July 03, 2009

Longacre Tavern for Sale

An offer has been accepted for The Longacre Tavern on London Road after its owner, the Wadworths brewery, decided the pub no longer fitted with its portfolio of properties.

It had been run by landlord Mervyn Thomas for more than 30 years until his recent retirement.
Wadworths conducted a review of the premises and decided a sale was the best commercial option.

Pub, hotel and restaurant specialist Fleurets is marketing the pub and a spokesman for the agent confirmed the buyer was a small business but had not yet stated if the intention was to keep the premises as a pub.

The property was on the market for around a month and attracted strong interest before the deal was struck in the last week.

Alex Schlesinger, chairman of the London Road and Snow Hill Partnership, said the pub had become a focal point for the community for many years.

He said: "I have got no objection to it being a pub. I certainly object to what has become attached to it in recent years. A lot of the community have been unhappy with the ambience of it and we look forward to some change. You can't blame the pub or the licensee, it is the people who are using or abusing it that are the problem."

Local councillor David Dixon (Lib Dem, Walcot) said he hoped the building would remain as a pub.

He said: "I know the area has had its issues in the past but I would not like to see it turn into anything but a pub. A strong community is one that keeps talking to each other. The Snow Hill area has had its issues but this is a community that knows each other."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Felled Trees Leaves Councillors Stumped and Residents Fuming

Residents were left fuming as 11 trees in the Snow Hill Estate disappeared with no notice whatsoever.

The trees, which offered shelter for wildlife and security for residents of Thomas Street and Snow Hill were felled by landscape contractors working on behalf of Somer Community Housing.

Somer have since apologised and have agreed to replace with 11 new trees in suitable locations and of suitable type in the Autumn. This has also been registered as a Partners and Communities Together (PACT) priority.

Cllr David Dixon said, “I was astonished to find out that this took place with no discussion with neighbouring residents or local Councillors. I have asked that work takes place to see that this scale of tree removal does not happen without full discussion again. Somer have agreed to this. We still have a security concern for a number of residents which Somer must resolve. This is a conservation area and a sensitive location within it. More than the bear minimum must be done.”

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Waste Collection System Coming In!

WASTE DAY CHANGE: Find out your new day online

Find out your day by clicking on this LINK and entering your post code or street address for your collection day. In addition to your new waste collection service you can also get a lot of other information including planning applications.

Most of Walcot will have it's collecion day changed to Thursday, with Friday for the Bathwick Estate.

Further information about the changes is available now through various leaflets and households will also be issued with a letter in the week commencing 25th May 2009 confirming which their new day will be from 8th June. Residents can also call Council Connect on 01225 394041 to find out their new day.

From the 8th June 2009, households across the district will put out their refuse, the green recycling box, and cardboard and garden waste on the same day - although the cardboard and garden waste will be collected every fortnight. The Council is asking residents to put out their waste by 7am on the right day every week and to check which week their cardboard and garden waste will be collected as this may have changed from current arrangements. Collection times on each street will be different to what people are used to at the moment so its important waste is put out early so as not to miss the collection.

This change was planned for two years ago but the new Conservative administration delayed implementation. We are delighted that it is arriving at last - better late than never. Same day collection improves re-cycling rates by as much as 6% and also allows greater flexibility and opportunity to collect more materials as recyclable. Most importantly though is that it makes it easier for residents who now will only have to remember one day for all their waste materials.

The Middle Bristol Road

You've probably all heard about the £12m Bath Rapid Transit Route and know that many people do not think it is needed. Well this afternoon Cllr Caroline Roberts and I went for a drive and filmed it....

Do you think it's really needed? We don't!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bath Fringe - Kensington Meadows

Bath Fringe 2009 on Kensington Meadows

This year the Bath Fringe are planning a 3 day event over the weekend of 5th – 7th June.
Friday Evening Cabaret Bar till 10.30/event finish 11pm;
Saturday Daytime Boom Stage 12 – 7pm Sat eve Comedy show 8 - 10.30/event finish 11pm;
Sunday Walcot Community event 12noon – 7pm.

These events are subject to the following Licence Application being granted: -

They have made an application for a ‘premises licence’ for Kensington Meadows (this is similar to an old-style ‘Entertainment Licence’, for anyone unfamiliar with the changes to the licensing system).
This has been done in order to put the events we’re planning more under the jurisdiction of the licensing system than with the ‘Temporary Event Notice’ we used last year. A full licence also gives us many more responsibilities, which we hope reflects our commitment to be a good neighbour on the meadows.

This licence, if passed, would give licensing permission to run an event for a 4-day long weekend once a year. This is still subject to an annual agreement with the B&NES Parks Department for the use of the land, so there is no sense a carte blanche to do what they like on the site. There is also the requirement to consult with the council’s Events Safety people, the Police and the Fire Service every year. All of this means that performing will be overseen by the Council and there will be a continued line of communication for local residents via the council.

It is intended to run the Boom Stage youth music afternoon on Saturday 6 June, and an afternoon performance picnic on the Sunday. They will not be running music events later in the evenings, but circus/cabaret events which should be very much quieter – we are aware that this was an issue for some people in 2008.

The Fringe are committed to advertising that there is NO car parking available in or around the Meadows – the main afternoon events are orientated towards local people who wouldn’t need to drive to the site anyway – though we will be providing secure cycle parking. They will have to erect a tall fence to define the area under our jurisdiction and to ensure that the various rights of way on the Meadows are not obstructed, and while this is not the most beautiful thing in the world it does have its advantages too. Inside will be the expected tents, performance areas, food concession, bar, portable toilets etc. – it is a condition of the licence that the public is not allowed to bring alcohol or glass onto the site. The event area will be about 20% smaller than that for the 2006 Walcot Independence event and will stop well short of the gate from Ringswell Gardens, which will remain shut and used for Emergency Vehicle access. Events will be confined to the southern end of the Meadows, leaving lots of space for dog walking and games, and won’t be intruding on the lower levels by the river at all.

There will be holding an Meeting to discuss this event and the licence application at Riverside Youth Centre on Friday May 1st at 5.30 pm and would like to invite local residents and others with an interest in the event to come along.

You can contact Wendy Matthews; Steve Henwood & Bath Fringe Committee at:

103, Walcot Street
Bath Fringe BA1 5BW
Tel 01225 480079

Monday, April 06, 2009

Bus services saved by Don Foster MP

We are pleased that action taken by Don Foster MP has helped to save the The Number 20A/C bus service that is used by by local people in going about their daily lives and to be able to carry out their shopping. The Service is also part of an important link for some of our schools and the University of Bath.

Many of our more elderly residents and those with health problems use the service to get to the RUH.

A New service that covers the same route as the one that has been run by first bus and will have the same numbering Wessex Connect from 11th May 2009.

Bath & North East Somerset council will be supporting the new service have managed to secure bigger, low-floor buses that will increase trip capacity in the morning and afternoon peak times.

Although we welcome the new buses we do have a few concerns about how they will manage the narrow streets that the smaller buses have been able to get through with some ease and we hope that journey time will not be increased.

On a down side the last three journeys on the number 20A/C services will no longer operate and single fares will increase by 10%

Monday, March 30, 2009

In your area... Bathwick Estate

Your local Liberal Democrat Team and Don Foster MP, are in the Bathwick Estate knocking doors and seeing if there is anything we can help with on Monday 6th April from 6pm.

If there is anything we can help you with please be sure to look out for us, we hope to knock on every door, but if you have something to raise and would like us to pay you a visit email:

Alternatively if you are willing be be active and want ot join in on the door knocking we will meet at The Castle Pub (now closed thanks to some very poor decision making).

We will pick one of the still open local pub for a drink after door knocking.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Conservatives Close The Castle Pub

On Wednesday this week the Council's planning committee voted to close The Castle Pub in the Bathwick Estate by voting through a planning application for two houses to be built on the plot.

What is most hypocritical is that the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate Fabian Ritcher is picture in his latest propaganda outside of it as part of a story to save local pubs, meanwhile the Conservatives on the Council once again voted in block to close it.

Cllr David Dixon said, "This is just another example of this Ritcher bloke jumping on the bandwagon on an important local issue in Bath while his party does something completely different. May be if his views are so different to that of his party he should actually consider hopping off to where ever he has appeared from, I am sure that he will find himself another little hobby."

Cllr Dixon will continue to work with local residents to see if there is any way that The Castle could stil be saved after this devastating blow.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

All linked up...

As some are probably aware, us councillors try anything to communicate with our residents.

Many would be familiar with the Liberal Democrat's "Focus" newsletter, which is great and every now and then to spend some time delivering pieces of paper door to door is very worthwhile.

However over recent years and with the increasing use of the internet and the advent of Web 2.0 and the use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter many Councillors have turned to the web for help.

The only problem has been that as councillors we start something and very quickly move onto something else. So that's why I have decided to set up RSS feeds which update my Twitter and Facebook updates from the information that I put on this blog.

There has also been a need to start linking up information from a wide range of Blogs and Websites from other Councillors across Bath and North East Somerset, so for now I have taken feeds from all these and put on Twitter at !

So start following and happy reading!

Cllr David Dixon

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Castle pub Forester Avenue

Castle pub Forester Avenue

The fate of a Bathwick pub which its owners want to develop for hosuing will be decided on Wednesday.
Residents have opposed an application to convert the Castle pub in Forester Avenue into two four-bedroom homes.
The scheme will be put before Bath and North East Somerset Council's development control committee on Wednesday with 49 objections received against the application.

The pub closed last year but an online petition has been launched by regulars to save the venue, which is owned by Amek Investment.
Cllr David Dixon (Lib Dem, Walcot) hopes the objections will be enough to save the pub.

He said: “A number of residents want to keep it as a pub and feel very strongly about it. There are pubs closing all the time at the moment and it is important to support our local pubs.”

Many objections stated the importance of the pub in the area and said it was a community orientated venue.

Others said that more houses were not needed in the area and that the permanent loss of the pub would be a further ‘erosion’ of the community.
Planning officials are, however, recommending the conversion can be approved.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cuts to bus services are unacceptable

Early morning services and the city’s circular route are to be cut from the bus timetable at the beginning of May as First Bus reduces the service they are providing.

Early services from Combe Down, Foxhill and Larkhall are being lost. The biggest impact will, however, come from the complete removal of the 20A/C service, which stops at Ralph Allen School, the University of Bath and the RUH.

Bath MP Don Foster said that the cuts are unacceptable and will be meeting with First Bus Managing Director Justin Davies to discuss the plans.

Don said, “Many people rely on early morning buses to get to work, what option will be available to them now? Local buses need to be able to serve the needs of residents, not force them into their car.

“The loss of the 20A/C route will be a massive blow. Many students use it to get to the university and it provides a direct link for residents across the city to our local hospital. The Council must look at finding another operator for this route.”

Please sign our petition, at , calling for these services to be re-instated.

The 20A/C service takes a lot of pupils to Ralph Allen School in the morning. We already know how bad the morning rush hour is in term time, and this cut will only make things worse. Had the Conservative Council agreed to Lib Dem plans to get more children on a bus to school then perhaps the effect on the morning rush hour would not be so bad, as it is this decision will inevitably lead to further gridlock.

The Council is happy to waste millions of pounds on a new road to provide a bus for those who don’t live here to get into the city, but local people are having their services cut and many cannot afford to use the bus. The Council would be better off spending money on providing buses for local people, which would be common sense action to reduce congestion.”

The Local Transport Bill was recently voted through in Parliament, which offers local Councils greater power over bus services, including the possibility of setting maximum fares and having minimum timetable requirements.

Bath MP Don Foster voted for the legislation and says, “As we see services cut this shows that the powers granted by the Local Transport Bill are now more important than ever. I hope our Conservative Council will look into using this new legislation, despite the fact that Tory MPs voted against these important measures.”

Waste Day Change June 09 - Bath & North East Somerset Council

Waste Day Change June 09 - Bath & North East Somerset Council

Bath & North East Somerset Council will be introducing same day collections for the majority of properties in Bath and North East Somerset from the week beginning 8th June 2009. The change is in response to customer requests to help make our services easier to use and to help increase local recycling rates.
At present, people may have their rubbish, recycling, cardboard and garden waste collected on up to three separate days and the Council is aware that this can be difficult for people. As a result, plans are underway to simplify the system so that most people will be able to put everything out for collection on the same day.
This means that for most people, your collection days will be changing from the week beginning 8th June. We will send a notice to every household 2 weeks before the start date to let you know your new day so you should receive this information by the beginning of June. This information will also be published on the website during May.

The only exception to this may be small areas where it is not possible for us to make these changes for logistical reasons, but the vast majority of areas will be covered by these changes.

If you wish to find out your current collection day for rubbish, recycling, cardboard and garden waste, please note that you can now do this online. Recycling and refuse can be found by going to the 'My Area' section of our main page and Cardboard and Garden Waste can be found by going to Cardboard and Garden Waste Collection Days.

Consultation launched on £2.5m facelift for play parks

Consultation launched on £2.5m facelift for play parks

Communities are being consulted about plans to revamp 16 play parks across the Bath area.
The Play Pathfinder sites are among 28 which will be worked on by Bath and North East Somerset Council using a Government cash injection of £2.5 million.

The council says the sites have been selected after applications from parish councils and local community groups.

A spokesman said: "The views of the local communities, including children and young people, will be gathered in the coming months and will be used to help inform how each play facility is improved."

The authority has been criticised for not consulting enough over the first 12 sites, where work will be complete next month.

Among the sites that will benefit from investment will be Kensington Meadows off London Road, which will have £40,000 spent on it.

Local councillor David Dixon (Lib Dem, Walcot) said he wanted local residents to let him know their views.

He said: "The funding is aimed at eight to 13-year-olds, and we want to involve as many young people as possible in developing ideas."

Monday, February 16, 2009

If budgets were a lager...

If the Conservative budget were a lager, it certainly wouldn’t be Carlsberg. This is far from the best budget in the world. In fact it’s far from the best budget that our residents deserve.

While the Conservative budget deals with internal processes, spending £1m of tax payer’s money on new offices – before a single brick is laid, and two items which they have stolen from the Labour group as their own.

Our Liberal Democrat budget takes the opportunity to benefit from the last two years of knowing what our government settlement is and from the healthiest financial situation the Council has been in for quite sometime, not through the work of the administration may I add but through the work and commitment of the best financial officers that local government can afford.

We had presented our budget to Cabinet to give an opportunity to do consider it, but not only did they fail to take up the offer of considering our budget, but found it almost impossible to grasp the ideas of such a forward thinking budge.

Ours is a budget which addresses the demands of the people of Bath and North East Somerset.

The Liberal Democrat proposals which would look to tackle the causes of anti social behaviour by creating a £200k pot of money for voluntary and community groups to apply for.

A Liberal Democrat run Council would look to increase the budget for home to school transport by £3.5m over the next 5 years to ensure that every child who lives over 1 mile from the school they have been allocated can get to school for free.

Our long term vision is that every child under the age of 18 can travel free across Bath and North East Somerset. After all they are the full paying bus passengers of the future. The Conservatives once again demonstrate that they have not a clue about how to create modal shift and reduce reliance on the private motor vehicle.

Bath and North East Somerset Council used to be a for-runner for recycling initiatives led by a Liberal Democrat Zero Waste Policy.

With waste now under Conservative control, our waste diverted from landfill performance has flat lined and our innovation in waste has been surpassed by many Councils up and down the country.

To this extent the Liberal Democrat budget would invest to bring same day collection and food waste collection in at the same time and a year sooner than the Conservative’s proposals to ensure that unlike the Tories, Bath and North East Somerset is back on top of environmental issues.

While our Council officers in street cleansing do a fantastic job with the resources that they have it is quite clear that they are doing this with half the budget per head than out Audit Commission family of Councils.

This under funding and overstretching of resources has to stop, to bring Bath and North East Somerset Council in line with similar authorities, this Liberal Democrat budget proposes to double over the next 3 year the amount we spend on street cleansing, further more we would be prioritising our funding to clean up the streets where people live, you know what this Council calls the side roads, the residential areas and open public spaces.

The Youth Service, clearly a mistake has happened and this service has been trimmed back far too much, a Liberal Democrat budget would reinstate £500k back into the youth service budget to be spent on frontline youth workers, to increase the numbers of youth people who can benefit from our youth service.

We have also identified £500k to help tackle fuel poverty in our area, financial assistance insulating or making their home more energy efficient and while the Conservatives are quite happy fobbing off this responsibility to government, but at the end of the day we also have to be realistic and where it is not happening sometimes we have to be supportive of our the most vulnerable in our communities.

The Liberal Democrat budget looks to fund this by savings proposals which stretch over the next 3 years, proposals which would see significant shifts of resources between council services, we understand the risks of non delivery of our saving targets, particularly in year one where we are looking at tempering the growth in some services, and halving the Conservative propaganda department, which we would reshape into a meaningful, community engagement department this alone would save £250k.

We oppose the building up a pension pot of £3m, we feel that services should budget to meet the pension pressure from creating efficiencies from within and that we should not be asking the hard up Council tax payer to cough up.

We oppose spending £1m of tax payers money on looking at new office accommodation for this Council - £1m spent before a single brick is laid.

We oppose the Conservative’s budget which does nothing for our residents.

We have proposed to temper increases of 4 budget lines and the halving of one, we have proposed significant increases to 6 budget lines and one completely new one for the home energy fund of £500k available until it’s been spent by our residents.

These proposals look to invest £5.5m into:
• street cleaning
• waste
• young people
• combating anti social behaviour
• and home to school transport

£5.5m into 5 keys areas for our residents.

Our proposals will reduce the level of Council Tax increase over the next 3 years, 3.25% in year one, 3% in year two and 2.75% in the final year, while striving to deliver significantly improved services which matter the most to our residents.

Somer Scrap Plans for Longacre

Controversial plans for a scheme to house homeless people in Snow Hill have been scrapped.

Community leaders and local Councillors David Dixon and Colin Darracott today welcomed the abandonment of the project in London Road, which they had described as a "Victorian workhouse without work."

Housing association Somer had been working with owners Bath and North East Somerset Council for three years on the scheme at 3 and 4 Longacre.

But local residents said the location was wrong, and that criminals could prey on the vulnerable families who would be accommodated there.

Somer - whose Somer Community Housing Trust and Shape Housing Association arms were involved in the scheme - has reviewed the business case for the project over the last six months.

In a statement, it said: "Both Somer Community Housing Trust and Shape are committed to developing housing to the highest standards and will continue to work closely with the council and others on this project.

"Whilst there is an urgent need for housing and support for homeless people in Bath, we must ensure that the scheme we develop is of the highest quality and serves the district well for years to come."

The scheme would have been next to Somer's Caroline House accommodation and would have seen the derelict buildings extended backwards to create new facilities.
Sixteen units would have been created in the conversion, to add to the 17 already at Caroline House.

Somer had called the scheme "sheltered accommodation for homeless households" - but London Road and Snow Hill Partnership chairman Alex Schlesinger said the plans resembled a "Victorian workhouse without the work".

Today he welcomed the decision.

"We want to stress that this wasn't nimbyism - we have got other hostels along here, some of which work very well.

"This wasn't about protecting the community from the residents; this was about protecting the residents from elements of the community.

"This was going to be a magnet for predators."
He said the partnership would now be pressing for the building to be used for community use as a training centre to encourage people to acquire new skills and to encourage fledgling businesses.

Local people have complained to B&NES about the state of the buildings, with claims that chunks have been falling off in recent weeks.

Cllr David Dixon said, "This is great news for the community, Somer Housing have finally seen the light and have understood the impact that this development would have had on the London Road and Snow Hill Area.

"I hope now that the Council will start to work with the community to get these buildings into positive use for the London Road. We have an active skills and enterprise initiative who are keen to bring these buildings into use.

"It is a shame that it took both Somer Housing and the Council 3 years to realise that this sort of development would be irresponsible and I think the London Road and Snow Hill Partnership and other active residents for their help in keeping this issue in the public realm."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Play Pathfinder Money for Kensington Meadows

Kensington Meadows has been awarded £40k through the Government's Play Pathfinder money for improvements. Please tell us what you think about Kensington Meadows, what you like and what you would like to see done to improve it.

The funding is aimed at 8 to 13 year olds, and we want to involve as many young people as possible developing ideas.

Email with your comments:

Tell us what you currently like about the Meadows, how often you used them, and what you think could be improved.