Friday, January 29, 2010

New Cycle Lane

Following requests from local residents, a Council officer will be looking at opening up the lane between Powlett Road and Bathwick Street to cyclist.

Initial findings are that the lane is wide enough and that it would create a good link through. Since The Council never made any dedicated cycle route around Sydney Gardens when complete farce of a traffic system went in (funny that was also unpopular and funded through a government grant - nothing changes eh?).
All funds and projects for this financial year are agreed, however I do hope that we can open it up next year. Unfortunately there is a cost which has not previously been budgetted as a legal order and markings have to go in to reverse the cycling ban.
Thanks to the residents who raised this with me (you know who you are), I do hope that next year we might get this sorted.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Excuses to be heard in public over poor waste collections

So waste bosses are due to come in front of a scrutiny panel of Councillors to explain the thinking behind the catch up method of rubbish and recycling collections. The Bath Chronicle reports 3 week of no collection! 3 week indeed? That is business as usual for Walcot. Many street have had 6 weeks now without a collection.

Needless to say that I will be sending a statement in for that meeting which starts at 10am on Thursday 28th January. In the Guildhall.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cleveland Pools

Hidden away in Bathwick, on the banks of the River Avon, is the country's only surviving Georgian lido. Closed over twenty years ago, the Cleveland Pleasure Pools were at one time a favourite summer destination for generations of Bathonians. Now a campaign is underway to re-open the pools for public bathing.

The Cleveland swimming pools in Bath were built at the beginning of the nineteenth century and provided open air bathing for the city's residents until they were closed during the 1970s (although they re-opened temporarily for a short period in the mid-1980s). Other than a brief and unsuccessful life as a trout farm, they have been closed ever since.

Led by The Princes Regeneration Trust, the Cleveland Pools Trust has teamed up with The Trevor Osborne Property Group to form the Cleveland Pools Alliance. The Alliance has recently agreed to acquire The Cleveland Pools site from Bath & North East Somerset Council, and heads of terms have been signed.

Together the partners of The Cleveland Pools Alliance are working to restore this unique Grade II* site. After an initial feasibility study, the Alliance has raised £64,000 with a generous grant from English Heritage and further contributions from The Osborne Group, The Duke of Cornwall's Benevolent Fund and the Cleveland Pools Trust.

Once reinstated, the Cleveland Pools will fulfil a key role in the Bath World Heritage Site while providing a focus on leisure, healthy living, ecology and education for the local community. Below is a draft plan of proposed changes.

Piles of Rubbish

Walcot seems to have been hit really badly by poor refuse and recycling services. While I appreciate that the bouts of bad weather has not helped. Many areas of the ward have not seen a single collection since before Christmas.

Despite numerous emails and calls and promises that action will take place, not a lot seems to have happened.

Surely there must be some form of prioritisation of streets which have not seen a collection for the longest period?

How are resident's supposed to take Bath and North East Somerset Council seriously on waste and recycling when we continue to let them down?

Areas of Walcot have always suffered some of the poorest waste and recycling services that I know of across the authority. Needless to say I will continue to be on the case.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Declare my interests....

A few people have commented on how I have put links to various Councillor's Declarations of Interests in order to help you find out just a little bit more. Some are long and intereting and others, such as my own is much shorter, but do feel free to have a read... here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Someone is having a laugh...

I need not write much to explain this, but quite simply someone within the Council wants to spend £188k on a software update for a single product we buy for finances.

Click here and see page 9.

"Jog on" I say, "jog on..."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti Earthquake

While we all go about our day, some of us wondering when a general election might be called or grumbling about the delays on waste collections due to bad weather (which coincidently has attracted over 350 comments on the Bath Chronicle Website), the disaster in Haiti continues.

Recent figures estimate 75000 people killed, 250000 injured and 1 million left homeless.

Today I did my bit and donated to Disaster Emergency Committee.

I know that it's January and for some of us it's been a long month, and we are probably looking forward to pay day, however if we can all help donate a little, it will help a lot.

Donating is so easy to do just visit to find out how.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A poor decision in my view.

When I saw a planning application for 2 large houses to be built behind Percy Place to replace one house in perfectly good condition, in the conservation area. I thought that to reject the planning application would be a no brainer.

How wrong was I?

Despite over 30 objections from local residents and Bath Preservation Trust, the planning officer was minded to approve the planning application. So I asked it be be referred to committee for decision, thinking that surely a committee of sensible Councillors (do we exist?) would at least give it a good hearing in public and come to a balanced view.

So the planning officer takes it to the Chair of the Development Control Committee, Cllr Les Kew (find out more about him here if you like) who decided in all his wisdom, and finally replied to me, "It is difficult to decide at times whether to refer apps. to the committee when a request is made and this app. was indeed one of those. However after careful consideration of your request and the history of this site I felt that it was a case for delegation."

Nuts! No justification for his thinking and how one councillor gets to decide that a fair public hearing is not worthy of an application that received so much objection has left me pretty much depressed at the state of democracy to be quite honest.

It's a crazy proposal and a crazy decision to approve it. To round it off despite me speaking personally to The Chair of the Committee who said he would look again at this, and didn't, and despite me chasing the planning officer for information as to progress on this application before he approved, he still did so with no reconsideration. Needless to say I have now lodged a formal complaint. Something that after 7 years as a councillor I thought I'd never have to do.

Buy or Sell Locally

Local Walcot residents have set up a local auction website aimed at residents in and around Bath.

Worth checking out is!

Conservative Cuts Leading to Dirty Streets

Liberal Democrat councillors on the Council's Safer Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel have warned that the improvements in street cleansing promised for Bath may be impossible if the job cuts which have been threatened in the Council’s Environmental services section actually happen.

Bath City Liaison Forum delivered a very detailed report on improvements to cleansing services in the City of Bath, and these recommendations were accepted by the Cabinet member for customer services.

The services are already being delivered with very limited resources and any reduction in services would not be looked on very favourably by local residents.
Liberal Democrat members will be scrutinising forthcoming budget papers very carefully and ensuring that the Conservative administration does not cut services by the back door.

Cllr David Dixon said, "As if our streets aren't filthy enough we might now expect to see things get worse." If the Lib Dem Budget was accepted last year we would still some cuts, but at least last year would would have increased the based budget and woud now at least be in a better situation. We have gone from a bad situation to a dire situation."

Ther Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for extra money on street cleansing, in last year's budget we put forward costed plans to double the amount spent on street cleansing but the ruling Conservative's did not want to know.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Weather and Council Services Update

Weather Forecast
It appears as if the worst of the weather is now behind us, although temperatures will remain very cold, with possible snow fall in some areas on Tuesday evening and it still is snowing! The long-term weather forecast indicates the extremely cold weather is likely come to an end towards the weekend where there is likely to be a thaw.

Although the vast majority of Council services are back to normal, contingency plans are being developed in case of further bad weather or the anticipated thaw does not materialise.

The Week in Numbers

To understand the scale of the operations since last Wednesday some statistics from across Council services can be found below:
· 550 tonnes of grit spread on over 253 miles of the highways network; (KP)
· 730 hot community meals served;
· 377 grit bins filled in response to customer contacts;
· 98,694 visits to the website;
· 90 schools, nurseries, and special schools giving closure information for our website to our Human Resources staff;
· 76 staff redeployed from their day jobs to snow clearance, gritting, and supporting essential frontline services; (JC)
· 6,439 customer contacts dealt with by Council Connect staff between 4th – 8th January, more than double last year;
· 11 Big Freeze updates issued to the media, parish councils, and councillors.


Central Government is now influencing the salt supply chain and has instructed all local Councils to reduce the use of salt. The Council must continue to ration the available supplies for priority routes because of this decision.

The Council gritting fleet will treat prioritised routes during Wednesday, and prepare snow ploughs if required. An emergency gritting vehicle will be available around the clock to tackle any specific problems on the main network. We will continue to put grit in bins where essential.

The Council relies upon the public to tell us when grit bins are empty and we can be contacted 24 hours a day on the Council Connect line.

Highways officers have worked extremely hard to secure salt deliveries and we now have enough salt for our state-of-the-art gritting fleet to comfortably take us into next week and spread grit normal treatment rates across 253 miles. That is 37% of the road network – a figure considerably above the national average of 30%.

Because of the prioritisation of our grit stocks key transport routes have remained passable with care every day, services to vulnerable people – like vital home care - have been maintained every day, the emergency services have continued serving the public, the vast majority of schools were able to open or partly open from last Friday, and we have been able to re-start collecting waste.


Council waste collection services are starting to return normal. Limited waste collections on treated highways routes took place on Monday and Tuesday. These arrangements remain in place on Wednesday.

Households where roads have been treated are asked to leave their waste out for collection. Our drivers will be using their discretion to determine where it is safe to collect waste.

In short the message to residents is to look at the conditions of the roads near to you, and your own and question whether or not it would be safe for a collection lorry to make it down and whether or not the pavements are free from snow and ice. Then make a judgment as to whether or not the collection crews will collecting your waste. If in doubt DON'T put it out!

Other Services

Most other Council services are operating as normal. Schools are generally opening as normal with very limited partial closures due to issues like burst water mains. Head Teachers are being asked to develop contingency plans to open, particularly in light of the A-Level exam period.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Brr.. it's cold.


In response to the atrocious weather conditions, Bath & North East Somerset Council has issued extensive updates about the local weather, road conditions, and services information. This evening’s full update can be accessed on the Council homepage – . See below for a services summary and the main sections that have changed since our morning Big Freeze update.

Schools Update

It is anticipated that most schools will be open or partly open on Friday 8th January. Individual decisions will be taken by Head Teachers in consultation with Governing Bodies based upon the circumstances for each school. Information from individual schools will be published on

There will be updates to this information starting from 6.45am on Friday 8th January. Parents/ guardians should also listen to local radio stations.

Community Meals

The Council intends to offer a full hot meals service on Friday. We will also deliver a frozen meal for Friday and Monday for those customers who are able to heat it, and frozen meals for the weekend for those customers who have these every week. Although we are delivering frozen meals as a contingency we will still attempt to deliver hot meals on weekdays.

The Council is encouraging carers or neighbours to those people who receive a community meal to see whether that person needs a meal, and to help them if possible.

Waste and Recycling

All services were cancelled Thursday. They are also cancelled Friday. This is because of the conditions under foot and on side roads where heavy waste collection vehicles may slide on ice and could seriously damage cars and/ or seriously injure pedestrians. Waste should not be put out for collection on this day.

Households that didn’t have their waste collected on Wednesday or Thursday should not leave their waste out for collection. The Council is not in a position to collect waste until a household’s next scheduled collection day if conditions allow. All three Recycling Centres are closed tomorrow because of hazardous icy conditions on and near the site.

Weather Forecast

The Met Office predicts that temperatures will remain below freezing overnight and that there will be no further snow. As a result, road and pavement conditions will remain extremely hazardous on untreated surfaces.

The long-term weather forecast indicates the extremely cold weather is likely to continue for some considerable time and this will continue to adversely impact on Council services. The Bath & North East Somerset Council gritting fleet will be gritting Friday evening on major transport routes and outside key facilities. All major routes remain open. An emergency gritting vehicle will be available around the clock to tackle any specific problems on the main network.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Brr it is cold!

Weather Forecast

Snow was continuous throughout the day today causing treacherous conditions.

The Met Office predicts that early this evening, temperatures will plummet with clearing skys with road surface temperatures falling to -9c. This is likely to lead to the most hazardous driving conditions experienced this winter. Road and pavement conditions will be even more hazardous.

Residents are urged not to travel unless absolutely necessary. If residents have to, the Council advises anybody to plan carefully for any journeys and keep a close eye on the weather forecast. The Council is liaising with partners such as police, fire and the PCT to coordinate efforts.

Highways update
There are nationwide problems with the supply chain of salt which does not appear to be improving and there will be a need to conserve and ration salt stocks. Although the Council has a reasonable stock at the present time, the appalling weather conditions are making the situation difficult.

The Bath & North East Somerset Council gritting fleet will be going out this evening to do another full salting run on prioritised routes. Gritting vehicles will be available around the clock to tackle any specific problems on the main network.

Key transport routes and roads to key facilities like hospitals and care homes have been gritted and are passable with care. Steep hills not on the main network are impassable. Because the Council must focus its resources on these priority routes, side roads will not be gritted. There will be very limited salting of pavements and car parks because of the nationwide problem with the salt supply chain.

The Council will continue to monitor road conditions and will provide additional salting and gritting on priority routes when required.

Snow and ice can seriously damage the highways surface increasing the number of potholes because of the action of frost on the highway. Highways Inspectors will inspect the condition of the roads during the adverse weather conditions and the Council will resolve these problems as soon as it can.

Public spaces and Car Parks
Council staff will be redeployed onto snow clearing to keep shopping areas and car parks clear once priority routes have been attended to. However, there will be very limited salting in these areas because of the nationwide problem with the salt supply chain.

Public Transport

The Council will issue a service update as early as possible tomorrow morning. For more information on the wider public transport network, bus passengers can call Traveline on 0871 200 2233.

Waste and Recycling
All services were cancelled today.

Thursday waste collections in Bath & North East Somerset Council are cancelled. Please don't put your waste out for collection.

Residents will be notified when the Council intends to collect waste from cancelled collections.

All three Recycling Centres closed on Thursday.
Schools Update

All schools in the district will be closed tomorrow. Full details are on

All nurseries and Children’s Centres will be closed.

Other Services

Adult Services

If you have a vulnerable neighbour, please try and check their well-being during the cold weather.

Plans are in place to ensure that services to vulnerable people continue. People who use day centres are advised to call their centre to check if it is open.
There will be a very limited community meals service tomorrow. The Council will prioritise any deliveries to those customers who can't cook for themselves. We have phoned all others to tell them that we may not be able to deliver hot meals tomorrow.

The Council is encouraging carers or neighbours to those people who receive a community meal to see whether that person needs a meal, and to help them if possible.

Agencies commissioned by the Council to provide Home Care services have contingency plans in place. Clients or relatives should call the relevant agency for more information. These telephone numbers can be found on

Useful vulnerable adult telephone numbers: Community and Health Access Team at Lewis House, Bath: 01225 396000. Emergency Duty Team
01454 615165.

Leisure Services

Chew Valley Sports Centre will be closed on Thursday 7 January 2010

Aquaterra Leisure - the Council’s leisure centre contractor - are planning to open sites as usual, however some classes and courses may be cancelled and suggest people contact their local leisure centre before setting out on their journey.

Bath Sports and Leisure Centre - 01225 486905
Keynsham Leisure Centre - 01225 395164
South Wansdyke Sports Centre - 01761 415522
Culverhay Sports Centre - 01225 480882

Council Golf Courses will be closed until further notice

For more information

1. The Council’s website will be updated regularly to keep residents up to date about general information:

2. All other enquiries should be made to Council Connect on 01225 394041 between 8am – 6pm weekdays (Wednesday 9.30am – 6pm);

3. Outside of these times the Council’s Out of Office Emergency number is 01225 477 477;

4. People can email on or SMS text on 07797806545. These can be contacted 24 hours a day and a response will be sent next working day. These methods should not be used for emergency communication.