Chairman's Report

Chairman's Report - July 20

Executive Meeting:

The FoBRA Executive met (virtually) on 14th July:
• We agreed to plan to hold the AGM on 3rd Sept, virtually, and to hold a Committee meeting before the AGM.
• We discussed:
• Future planning problems, notably the possible stadium on the Rec.
• The Traffic Movement paper, recently submitted to the Council.
• Housing: in particular unjustifiable PBSAs and the need for Social housing, countrywide.
• The direction of city governance.
• World Heritage Site Advisory Board and slavery.
• Winter reception.

Council Webinar - Covid-19 Response & Recovery. Council's Financial Plans:

The Webinar - Covid-19 Response & Recovery - took place on 22nd May, but was inconsequential. More importantly, I attended another Webinar on 29th June about the Council's Covid-19 Financial Recovery Plan. As has been well reported, our Council, in common with many others, is in dire financial straits due to Covid effects on income from the property estate and tourist sites (notably the Roman Baths); and on exceptional Council expenditure on pandemic control and hardship in the population. As a consequence, they predict a loss of over £40M this year, but have been awarded a bailout of only £10M by the Govt. So, in addition to various savings measures, they are going to draw £11M from reserves. Although this solves the problem, it is clearly unsustainable in the long term.

Chat with Wera:

Justin Draeger, Nick Tobin and I are due to speak with our MP on 17th July, when amongst the subjects for discussion will be: Social Housing; Short Term Letting; Traffic Movement Plan; Clean Air Plan; Cleveland Bridge; PBSAs and hotels in Bath.

Police Independent Advisory Group (IAG):

No meeting has taken place since the last Report.

Burlington Street Broken Wall:

Slow forward progress on this by the owner, St Mary's church, Julian Road.

National Organization of Residents' Associations (NORA):

NORA representatives met with the Chairman and Director General of the Short Term Accommodation Association to discuss regulation of short term letting on 3rd July. Some agreement and progress was made.

Bath City Forum (BCF):

The BCF has still not met, nor has there been any progress on a replacement or adaptation of it. However, its sub committee on Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) awards met on 4th June, and discussed applications about: Council Library and Information Service; Rosewarn Park play apparatus; Lighting at Combe Down Rugby Club; Calton Road play area; Lansdown playing fields; and Sandpits Park.

Bath Recycling Centre:

Members will know that a letter of ours about reopening the Midland Road tip was published in the Chronicle on 28th May (see http://www.bathresidents.org.uk/cms/uploads/recycling-centres-after-9-weeks-of-lockdown-chron-letter-28-may-20.pdf ). I had previously discussed this with the Council Leader at our meeting on 13th May. There appeared a hint of intention to do this in the Leader's weekly press statement on 9th July, and now it has been announced that it will open initially at weekends only, starting on 18th July (but slots are already fully booked for the next two weekends!), and for more days per week after that.

Footprint:

Members will be sad that the regular Footprint briefing tours in the Abbey have had to be curtailed because of Covid. These are being replaced by monthly briefing reports [attached to emailed version].

Bath City Farm:

Bath City Farm is in dire need of financial support due to Covid-related loss of income. If you admire what they do and are feeling generous, visit #BCF25 - Bath City Farm's 25th Anniversary Appeal for a splendid video about their work.

Robin Kerr, Chairman, final dated 17th July 20

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