Chairman's Report

Chairman's Report 13 July 16

Chairman's Report for FoBRA Committee 13th July 16

Bath City Conference – Friday 1st July

The Bath City Conference took place in the Guildhall on 1st July, chaired for
the first time by the Bath City Forum. I saw several members represented
there. As well as the usual interesting stalls in the Banqueting Room, there
were debates on the Rec Trust, Sustainability research, Access and Mobility,
the future for General Practice and Community Medicine, and Living with
Dementia. In the evening, a panel featuring Ben Howlett MP, Cllr Tim
Warren, Sue Mountstevens (our PCC), Caroline Kay (CE of the BPT), and
Stuart Hooper, ex-Captain of Bath Rugby, answered questions from a large
audience (and from online viewers). This was a specially extended session in
view of interest in the recent EU Referendum. Other questions covered were:
young people's hopes & ambitions; dementia-friendliness; priority for sport,
art, leisure; and a "Metro Mayor". We shall discuss this under a separate
agenda item on 13th July.

West of England Devolution Deal

Representatives will recall that I wrote to the membership on 21st June,
summarising the degree of support amongst members and some of the
arguments on both sides. I concluded, with the rest of the Executive, that I
had a sufficient mandate to speak in support of the Deal at the Council
meeting on 29th June; and to endorse a letter on this subject, sponsored by
Bath Bridge. As you will know, the Council voted to join the Deal by a healthy
majority, and the next stage is a public consultation, which runs until 15th
August. Everyone is encouraged to take part – details in due course. We
shall discuss this under a separate agenda item on 13th July.

World Heritage Site Management Plan

As you know, the WHS Management Plan is due for revision and reissue,
those in charge having briefed us about it last August. The Vice Chairman
has negotiated and submitted FoBRA's comments, most of which have been
incorporated. These were sent to members on 8th July in case any who had
not yet responded to the public consultation on this (which ends on 15th July)
still wished to do so.

Placemaking Plan – Examination in Public

The Examination in Public will take place, mostly in the Guildhall, but with a
few sessions at BRLSI, Tuesday to Friday from 13th to 30th Sept. The precise
timetable, showing which subjects will be tackled and when, has not yet been
published. An up to date list of Examination Documents can be found at:
http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/planning-and-building-control/planningpolicy/
placemaking-plan/placemaking-plan-examination#four and
various instructions from the Inspector's staff officer are appearing daily.

National Organization of Residents' Associations (NORA)

In my last report was news that NORA was considering a campaign on
abuses of the planning regime, with a view to securing a meeting with one of
the DCLG Ministers about it. All NORA members were then asked to write to
their MPs, the specific subject chosen being Space Standards in market
housing. We have discussed this in FoBRA meetings and it forms one of the
main subjects we have pursued in both Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan
negotiations, so we are quite familiar with it. I therefore wrote, on your behalf,
to Ben Howlett MP on 24th June.

The House of Lords' Select Committee on the Licensing Act 2003 is seeking
opinions about how it is working. This request provides the greatest
opportunity we have to influence the licensing regime. Members, who have
been involved in licensing problems, will know the Act is heavily weighted in
favour of licensees. By submitting cogent responses we might improve the Act
to give more weight to objectors to licensing applications. NORA has
proposed a response, which I am minded to circulate. Deadline is mid-Aug.

Planning

Tenants (largely business) in Kingsmead Square have written to me, seeking
help with removing traffic from it and implementing the proposals in the Public
Realm and Movement Strategy. I have replied, encouragingly, but
emphasising that we are principally a residents' organization. Apparently
there are only a few living in the Square.

Another group, in Western Riverside, has also written, seeking our support in
preventing Stothert Avenue, parallel to the Lower Bristol Road, from becoming
a major highway. Again, I have replied encouragingly, but urging them to
form a Residents' group first, and to make sure that all their members are in
agreement (or a majority, at least). The Secretary may wish to add to this.

Other Matters

a) During the Bath Boules Competition, 17-20 June in Queen Square, major
congestion developed along the A4 (on one day as far as the A46). The
Vice Chairman studied the problem and wrote to both the Cabinet Member
for Transport and the Chronicle about it. It did not offer a good impression
for those advocating traffic experiments there.

b) A new (or repeated?) zero-tolerance approach to compliance with the Aboard
code of practice has started. I have offered the "eyes and ears" of
FoBRA members to attempt to police this.

c) The introduction in 2017 of a mixture of both wheelie bins and more black
gull-proof waste bags is being considered by the Council in an attempt to
tackle the continuing litter problem in Bath. However, the Vice Chairman
has written to the Cabinet Member for Community Services pointing out
that wheelie bins would be very unsightly in Georgian streets as there is
often nowhere for them to be stowed. We have consulted the Bath
Preservation Trust about this and they agree. Cllr Martin Veale has
responded as follows:

"I completely appreciate your concerns about our Georgian streets and please be assured
that if the Cabinet approves these proposals we will be committed, as always, to
preserving the heritage and beauty of Bath throughout this initiative ..... Not withstanding
the above, I entirely agree with you that there will certainly be some areas where wheeled
bins will be inappropriate, both within the World Heritage city area and outside in our rural
aspect. We have no intention of imposing a "one size fits all" approach. If the scheme is
approved, we will be undertaking a detailed review to assess which option is most
appropriate for waste storage and collection on each street, and in some cases gull-proof
bags will be the best option. Whatever is decided, residents will also have to 'step up' in
their community awareness and responsibility and perhaps that is an area where the
residents associations can help the Council?"


Robin Kerr, draft 2, 10th July 16

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