What FoBRA does for the residents of Bath

FoBRA is the main representative voice for residents' groups in Bath.

We meet regularly with Council leaders, elected members, officers, the Police and the business community to make them aware of the views of Bath residents and to try and ensure that  they take our concerns into account.

The FoBRA committee comprises members of all member associations and meets 6-7 times a year.
Tue Mar 20th 2018 6:30 pm
Widcombe Junior School
Mon Feb 12th 2018 6:30 pm
Widcombe Junior School

Observers are welcome to attend FoBRA committee meetings. Click here to view the arrangements for observers.


Student Accommodation in Bath and its Effect on Affordable Housing

See 'Papers' tab on this website for the text of a FoBRA letter printed in the Chronicle 15th Feb 18.

Wera Hobhouse MP

Wera Hobhouse addressed a meeting of over 50 FoBRA members in Widcombe Junior School on 12th Feb 18, and answered questions on: Transport, Pollution & Congestion; Social Housing; the Care Sector; Universities & Student Housing Policy; rail travel reliability & cost; and Party Houses.  Minutes are posted under "Meeting Minutes", on this website.  

Cabinet Meeting - Parking Policy

FoBRA made a statement to B&NES' Cabinet 7th Feb 18 on its proposed Parking Policy - see 'Papers' tab on this website for text.

Council Chair's Awards 2017/18 - Anne and Polly, winners of the Good Neighbour of the Year Award

These awards seek to recognise the contribution that volunteers make to our local community. They recognise volunteering from across a wide range of causes and from individuals to groups. The Federation of Bath Residents Associations (FoBRA) decided to nominate two proactive and determined residents living in the heart of heritage Bath: Anne Love of Rivers Street and Polly Riddle of Park Street, for the "Good Neighbour of the Year" category. We are pleased to announce that they won the award at a wonderful ceremony that saw B&NES Council recognise and thank all of the nominees.
Anne and Polly are residents of two different streets in the heart of Georgian Bath, in Rivers Street and Park Street respectively. Both streets are adjacent to the pristine and well-kept tourist routes of Gay Street and Brock Street up to the heritage destinations of Circus, Royal Crescent and St James Square. Unlike some nearby roads, Park Street and Rivers Street have a high number of street-fronting terraces with dwellings sub-divided into small flats or bedsits without any managed refuse facilities or storage areas for waste or recycling. Refuse left on these streets was a big problem on a daily basis, all week long. Every week.
The two streets were blighted by piles of refuse left rotting in sacks, even old vacuum cleaners or broken items of furniture were sometimes spotted simply fly-tipped outside front doors. The refuse left to rot often soiled the streets, as seagulls and various animals (badgers, foxes) tore open the plastic sacks or rats gnawed at the Council-provided sacks. Many sacks were so soiled that even the Council refuse teams would not take them on the weekly collection.
Having never met, Anne and Polly independently decided to take action. Both Anne and Polly have worked tirelessly to clean up their streets, week in, week out. Anne has been tenacious, ingenious and consistent, pushing landlords, tenants and residents in her street to open their eyes to the problem and to care and to do more about the look of their street. Polly has adopted a hands-on approach to removing the waste, given her slightly different landlord and resident base. Both have shown a resilient, dogged commitment to care for their public realm and to take a real civic pride in Bath.
Over more than six months, Anne knocked on doors, contacted both private landlords and registered social landlords to appeal for their help in managing their tenants and to provide better refuse management; she produced and printed her own leaflets; and she tenaciously persuaded her entire street of neighbours to keep the street clear of refuse. Where certain dwellings continued to fly tip she would gather the refuse and tell Council Connect to collect it. She simply refused to let other residents in her street continue to "turn a blind eye" to fly tipping.
Polly encountered a more transient group of residents on her street, resistant to cleaning up their act. Polly worked tirelessly, to clean the street of soiled debris after animals regularly tore open even the reusable sacks and spread it across her street. Now, each week, she collects all of the waste that the B&NES refuse collection team leave behind and (wearing her marigolds) piles it in to her car and takes it to the local recycling and refuse tip. Hearing of Anne's successful efforts Polly has now contacted Registered Social Landlords to help in her efforts in Park Street.
Both residents have adopted a zero tolerance to any refuse left outside front doors. A mammoth effort, as many neighbours will corroborate. It also takes bravery, just to keep knocking on doors or to be seen collecting other people's waste. Both Anne and Polly have, on different occasions, been on the receiving end of verbal abuse.
Both heritage streets have been transformed; they are now clean and pristine. This result, in turn, sub-consciously encourages new residents or "previous offenders" to keep the streets looking this way. It is a nicer place to live because Anne and Polly cared and were determined not to give up. Congratulations to ANNE LOVE and POLLY RIDDLE : we salute you !

Parking Letter

See Papers tab on this website for FoBRA letter printed in the Chronicle on 21st Dec 17.  It reminds us that the aim of the Bath Transport Strategy is to improve Air Quality and reduce traffic Congestion, while providing access to the City by means other than driving vehicles into the centre and parking them!  At the same time, erecting commercial buildings to create jobs is quite a good idea too!   

B&NES Funding Losses

FoBRA addressed B&NES' Cabinet on 6th Dec 17 about the very serious losses in funding attributable to student exemption from paying Council Tax, and what action it might take in consequence.   See Papers tab on this website for text.

Communities, Transport & Environment Policy Development & Scrutiny Panel, 4 Dec 17

Patrick Rotheram and Robin Kerr spoke at the above Council Panel on 4th Dec about Parking and Coach Strategies respectively.  Their speaking notes can be found at the Papers tab on this website.  Visit http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/news/bath-news/proposed-coach-strategy-totally-flawed-1006336 for associated story in the Chronicle.

Bath needs an alternative route for the A36-A46 through traffic

See Papers tab on this website for FoBRA letter printed in the Chronicle on 23rd Nov 17. 

Party House Nuisance Log

FoBRA has negotiated a Log to be used by residents who live close to Party Houses in Bath for reporting evidence of Nuisance to Planning Enforcement - without which prosecution cannot take place. It has been anonymised in order to protect the neighbours who draft the report, but will be accepted if submitted through a Residents' Association.  It (and the instructions for completion) can be found at the 'Papers' tab on this website.   

Student Council Tax exemption - Business rates retention

The National Organization of Residents' Associations (NORA) has asked FoBRA to draft its comments on Student Council Tax exemption and Business rates retention, in response to a request from the Department for Communities and Local Government.  See the 'Papers' tab on this website for the text.

Bath City Conference

See the 'Papers' tab on this website for the FoBRA flyer prepared for this year's Bath City Conference. 

Transport Strategies

The Council has recently been consulting on three aspects of Transport Strategy - Coaches, Parking and Air Quality.  FoBRA's responses to all three can be found under the 'Papers' tab on this website, together with an associated letter to the Council Leader.  A version of this letter was printed in the Bath Chronicle on 19th Oct 17 with the heading "B&NES Coach Strategy is 'totally flawed'".  This also can be found under the 'Papers' tab on this website. 

Party Houses - again

Two statements from FoBRA on Party Houses can be found under the 'Papers' tab on this website - one for the Bath City Forum on 20th Sept 17, and the other on behalf of the National Organization of Residents' Associations for their annual talks with the Department for Communities and Local Government on 27th Sept 17.    

Foxhill Development Proposals - are they in line with Council Policy?

FoBRA is extensively quoted on page 4 of the Chronicle dated 14th Sept, questioning whether Curo's plans for the Foxhill estate (which recently received Council Planning approval but which are currently stopped by an order from the Ministry) are in line with Council policy.  We point out that the amount of social housing would be significantly reduced, through Curo's citing a get-out clause in the Placemaking Plan. See 'Papers' tab on this website for full text.

Council's New Refuse Policy

FoBRA wrote to the Council Leader on 27th August about the perils in view when the Council's new Refuse Policy goes live in November, such as where to stow wheelie bins outside street-fronted Georgian and Victorian terraces and crescents; and what to do about the problem of 'side waste'. See 'Papers' on this website for full text. 

Party House Fire Danger

The Online version of the Bath Chronicle dated 24th August has a story "Group raises 'serious fire issues' of 48 party houses in Bath". That Group was FoBRA. The story continues "The [Fire] Service was contacted by FoBRA with 48 addresses the group believed were being offered to visitors to Bath as short term accommodation. These 48 houses offer a total of 666 beds, FoBRA said, which created 'serious fire safety issues.'"  FoBRA's full statement can be seen through a link in the story, and also at the 'Papers' tab on this website.  

Bath Polluted - Official!

B&NES has been named in the Government's new Air Quality Plan for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as one of 29 local authorities with illegal NO2 pollution. See Table 3, page 31 of the DEFRA Air Quality Plan July 2017 (see "Papers" tab for weblink).  They will now be required to produce a local plan to rectify this by next year, which is likely to involve the introduction of a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) for Bath, with access to funding promised.  FoBRA wrote to the Council Leader on 4th Aug, calling for urgent action - see 'Papers' tab. This letter was published in the Bath Chronicle 17 Aug.

B&NES' data show there are excessive and unlawful levels of NO2 across the entire main road network in Bath, and that these are not reducing. See "Papers" tab for the relevant data: the Bath air pollution map; Bath air quality data 2016; and Bath NO2 graphs 2016.

Party Houses again!

FoBRA Chairman, Robin Kerr, took part in a discussion about Party Houses on BBC Radio Bristol's Emma Britton show on the morning of 19th July.

Placemaking Plan - Chairman's address to the Council

See 'Papers' tab for text of the Chairman's address to the Council, 13 July, followed by questions and answers.

Party Houses

The Chairman spoke to camera about the increasing scourge of Party Houses last week.  It can be viewed at: https://bathnewseum.com/2017/07/10/its-no-party-for-us-say-residents/ . It's not long and covers all the points. In the background is the latest Georgian treasure to become one!

Eastern Park and Ride again!

The Chairman wrote an opinion piece about the Eastern Park and Ride, following the Council's 11th July cancellation announcement, which was published in the Chronicle on 13th July.  The text can be seen at the "Papers" tab.

Eastern Park and Ride

The Chairman's letter supporting a Park and Ride to the East was published in the Chronicle on 25th May.  See "Papers" tab for text.

Radio 4's Today Programme

Radio 4's Today Programme on Monday 15th May came from The Edge, at the University of Bath.  Several FoBRA members were in the audience.  A panel of South West politicians was quizzed about the probity of the young, working population's having to fund elderly care; the cost of housing for young people; the diversity of skills needed for jobs in the future; and maintenance of environmental and employment standards post-Brexit. The FoBRA Chairman took part in a separate discussion with politics student, Alex Mulchrome, which covered pensions triple-lock; voting being a civic duty; the financial consequences of being a student today; the iniquity of the rise in housing costs in UK, compared to other parts of Europe; and the need for the Government to build housing on its own account, as developers cannot be relied upon to build enough, despite there being plenty of land and planning approval. 

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) - Liability for Business Rates

FoBRA has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Chairman of the Local Government Association, our MP, Ben Howlett, and the Leader of B&NES Council, Cllr Tim Warren, about the liability of the owners of HMOs for taxation, following a resolution agreed at the AGM of the National Organization of Residents' Associations recently.  See 'Papers' tab for the text.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Bath

Chris Beezley, FoBRA's lead for Universities, wrote to the Chronicle about HMOs and the fact that, if they housed students, no Council Tax was being paid by these houses, nor were BusinessRates being charged - a great loss to the Local Authority, exacerbated by the large proportion in Bath.  This was published on 23rd Feb and the text can be found at the "Papers" tab.  

Placemaking Plan

FoBRA's comments on the Council's Main Modifications to the Placemaking Plan, following the Inspector's Report, can be found at the "Papers" tab.

Council Parking Strategy

FoBRA has responded to the Council's Parking Strategy consultation.  See 'Papers' tab for text.

Air Pollution in Bath - letter to the Council Leader

The Chairman wrote to Cllr Tim Warren on 15th Dec 16 about the need for a fully resourced Transport Plan, about air pollution in Bath, and about encouraging the Government to create a link for traffic between the A36 and the A46 as one way of addressing this.  See the 'Papers' tab for text.

A better system for Freight Delivery in Bath - Chronicle letter

On 22nd Dec the Bath Chronicle published a letter from FoBRA's Transport Lead, Patrick Rotheram, about the need for Freight Consolidation as one element of a workable Transport Plan for Bath.  See the 'Papers' tab for text.

West of England Joint Transport and Spatial Studies- FoBRA's consultation responses

FoBRA responded on 9th Dec to the consultation on the West of England Joint Transport Study and on 22nd Dec to the one on Spatial issues.  See the 'Papers' tab for texts of both.

Foxhill Estate Outline Planning - Objection and Chronicle letter.

FoBRA objected on 29th Nov to Curo's outline planning application for Foxhill Estate, principally on grounds of density, extent of demolition and the reduction in affordable housing.  On 22nd Dec the Bath Chronicle published a letter about this from the Chairman, encouraging Curo to return to the drawing board.  See 'Papers' for texts of both.

A36/46 Link

FoBRA wrote to our MP on 24th November about recent news on a link between the A36 and the A46.  See the 'Papers' tab for the text. 

New Constitution

FoBRA adopted a revised Constitution at an Extraordinary General Meeting held on 15th Nov 16 - see 'Papers' for the text. 

Air Pollution in Bath

FoBRA wrote to our MP on 7th November about the recent High Court ruling that the Government was not doing enough about air pollution in cities.  Specifically, we asked that small cities which suffer badly from pollution, like Bath, should be included in this work, not just big ones.  See the 'Papers' tab for full text and graphs.   

Student Housing Policy

A letter from FoBRA entitled "City Needs a Student Housing Policy" was published by the Bath Chronicle on 25th Aug and again on 8th Sept 2016: www.bathresidents.org.uk/cms/uploads/student-housing-letter-to-chron-19-aug-16.pdf .

Petition "New Threat to Cycling Infrastructure, London Rd, Bath"

Members can read more about this and sign a petition by visiting this site:


Extension of the Bath Christmas Market

At the Development Management Committee (DMC) meeting in the Guildhall on 1 June 2016, FoBRA (having cleared this with its membership) took the opportunity to object to the planning application by Bath Tourism Plus to extend the Bath Christmas Market 2016 from 18 to 25 days.

We did not question the principle of the market and recognised that the extension would bring some marginal economic benefits to the City, but we expressed our concern at the socio-economic cost to so many residents and small businesses, not just in the market footprint area: but to our health, well-being, equilibrium and peace of mind leading up to Christmas. FoBRA did not wish residents to have to endure the additional noise, pollution, pedestrian congestion, extra traffic, additional parking problems and general disruption generated by the market for not just 25 days but actually for up to 39 days, including 10 setting up and four take down days.

FoBRA was joined in objection by the Walcot Trading Association representing about 300 small traders from Broad Street, Margaret's Buildings, Widcombe High Street, Bartlett St, London Rd and Walcot Street itself, and by a City Centre Councillor, who also spoke against the proposed extension. The DMC's refusal of this planning application (8:1 with 1 abstention) was a small victory for common sense and the ability to look beyond short term economic viability in favour of a long term vision to create a successful city for everyone. Teaming up with the Walcot Trading Association was key to FoBRA's success - bringing together Bath residents and small businesses whose lives would be disrupted by the extension showed how working together brings results.

The Rec and the Rec Trust

News on the Rec situation has been sparse recently, but the following has come from PERA, and is of Bath-wide importance - hence its publication here. In PERA's current newsletter the following is written about the Rec and the Rec Trust:

"Bath Rec
Following the Trustees' successful appeal that the Rec does not have to be kept as open space, and can be sold, PERA representatives (excluding N Websper) have met with the Trustees to agree certain measures. At present the Trustees will not agree to anything that restricts their ability to hold any number of events, use the whole of the Rec for a stadium, with no limit on height or size, and no minimum amount of open space for amateur sport. They will also not agree to anything that restricts their ability to sell the Rec in whole or in part."

By way of clarification:

• Nigel Websper (PERA Chairman) did not take part in the above meeting with the Rec Trustees simply because he is still involved in the Lower (Charity) Tribunal legal negotiations about the precise clauses and wording by which the Rec Trust will be bound in the future (the higher (appeal) court having returned the case to the lower tribunal for decision by negotiation).
• The statement "....use the whole of the Rec for a stadium, with no limit on height or size....." would, of course, be subject to planning permission, which is exclusively the territory of the Local Planning Authority and the Planning Inspectorate, not the Trust.

It is significant that little, if any, of this has appeared recently in the Press.

Air Pollution in Bath - letter published in the Chronicle 7th Apr 16

See "Papers" for the text of a letter by our Transport Lead, Patrick Rotheram, published in the Chronicle 7th April, giving the true situation on air pollution in Bath, and its consequences.  The editor declined to include the "Corridor of Death" map as well, but it can be found under "Papers" too.