Bath City Forum (BCF)
The most recent BCF was held on 15th May. It included presentations on Bath's Clean Air Plan, the Council's 'Fit for Life' policy, the Student Community Partnership and CIL funding decisions for Bath. Key points which arose were:
• Crime Surge: Insp Treweek agreed that there had been a 20% surge in robbery and muggings 4 weeks ago, but statistics were back to normal now, following arrest of 5 drug suspects. (See worrying reference to crime surge in B&NES - Sunday Times 1 July 18.)
• Traffic and the Clean Air Zone (CAZ): Included in the pre-reading material was my summary of Wera Hobhouse MP's 23rd Feb pollution seminar (see text at http://www.bathresidents.org.uk/fobra-papers.php). I also emphasised our view that the time for talking was over – action was now required. Dine Romero (LibDem leader) predicted that Odd Down would soon become a pollution problem. Rob Appleyard (LibDem) was concerned that the proposed CAZ was too small, whereas "everyone is entitled to clean air". Richard Samuel (LibDem) spoke sensibly of the need still to worry about CO², and brake/tyre particles; and hence that congestion control therefore needs to be the Council's aim: "Too many vehicles for too few roads in Bath!" Lastly, Patrick Anketell-Jones (Con) raised the importance of the WECA Mayor in all this, particularly with respect to public transport, which is key to the behaviour changes required.
The next BCF is on 17th July, which I shall be unable to attend. Before that, on 9th July, a BCF workshop on ideas for future meetings will take place: I shall attend and report to the FoBRA Committee.
Choice of UoB Vice Chancellor
Further to the note in my last Report, the words provided by FoBRA for possible inclusion in defining the criteria for choice of their next Vice Chancellor can be found at http://www.bathresidents.org.uk/fobra-papers.php.
The next Council Elections in B&NES will take place on Thursday 2nd May 2019. It is our custom to invite the Leaders of the main political groupings to come to successive Committee meetings during the run-up to 'lay out their stall' and to answer questions. I propose that we start this at the next Committee, on 15th October.
Traffic and Pollution
Our position paper on Traffic and Pollution was updated in May (http://www.bathresidents.org.uk/fobra-priorities.php?Traffic-and-Air-Pollution-4). As stated in Patrick's Traffic Report, I attended and spoke at Wera's latest Pollution and Transport Conference on 9th June (see http://www.bathresidents.org.uk/fobra-papers.php for text and slides, and https://www.werahobhouse.co.uk/transport_and_pollution for those of other speakers). Wera summarised it: "The day was a triumph for the people of Bath, who seized the opportunity to engage with each other on such an important local issue. It was encouraging to listen to proposals from so many people. Now we need to collectively take these forward. Whoever is running the council next year will have no choice but to take this issue very seriously indeed and act upon the electorate's concerns. We urgently need to implement clear, workable strategies to ensure that Bath is a healthy and beautiful city for all those who live and work."
and who can disagree, bearing in mind that some hundred Bath's citizens gave up a Saturday to attend and take part? The main benefit was that many opinions were voiced, above all that of the Cabinet Member for Transport, the person actually charged with responsibility for implementation. Wera, in her letter afterwards to me, wrote: "You provided us with a proper vision for Bath's future and sustainable model of transport."
Double Glazing Allowed?
Further to the note in my last Report, I spoke with Conservation Officers, as promised, about the rumour that Historic England might consider relaxing its opposition to double glazing in sash windows of Grade 2 Georgian properties, subject to certain conditions. They explained it was a question of a bargain being struck between 'conservation loss' and 'heritage gain'; mentioning thermally efficient single pane glass called 'Histoglass' which can be fitted without seeking Listed Building Consent, where there is no loss of historic material.
Bath Preservation Trust (BPT) AGM – 26th June 18
I attended the BPT AGM and asked two questions, the first on behalf of FoBRA, and the other for one of our members (LCA):
1. Last year I asked if the Trust agreed with me that traffic constituted the greatest threat to the preservation of Bath. Much has happened since then, notably Client Earth's taking the Government to court about pollution, and winning! This has resulted in the Council's Clean Air Zone proposals. I ask if the Trust will join with the Federation to insist on much more: nothing less than full implementation of the Council's agreed policies on this?
A: The Chief Executive (CE) recalled that, with FoBRA, the Trust is one of the 21 members of the Bath Alliance for Transport and the Public Realm, and, through it, recognized that much needed to be done in the fields of pollution, congestion, parking and traffic. BPT would be guided by and support that Alliance.
2. Secondly, as described on page 16 of BPT's Annual Review, Beckford's charming Garden and Embattled Gateway are at risk (the Gateway being covered in plastic at the moment), largely because of doubts about the
owners' intentions. Can I please ask the Trust to join with local residents and the Council to develop a vision for the future of this whole area?
A: The CE noted that the Trust had applied to Historic England to raise the Gate's listing to 2*; and that it is currently under skilled and informed repair. As for the surrounding gardens, the Trust is quietly confident that their listing will be approved. Lastly, she said, the Trust would be very interested to engage with the local community and the Council, as suggested.
National Trust (NT)
NT hold local meetings at Claverton which Mark O'Sullivan monitors for us. The May meeting covered: Prior Park Dams, Rugby ground development, the Fashion Museum, litter on the Skyline walk, 'Access for all' surfacing, Dogs, and wall repair on Widcombe Hill, amongst other subjects.
The Funding Bulletin
B&NES issues a Funding Bulletin periodically. You can find the latest one at: http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/neighbourhoods-and-community-safety/community-grants-and-funding/funding-bulletins . They gives news and suggestions about grants for worthy causes (in addition to CEF and CIL).
Bristol Airport Expansion Plans
I wrote about this in my 20th Jan Report. Nick and I attended another drop-in event on 8th June, when we spoke with one of the Directors of the Airport, about:
• Mass transit upgrades serving Bristol and Bath.
• Price of parking.
• Bargain between expansion of flight numbers and reduction of noisy night flights?
I shall bring a couple of their Master Plan Consultation brochures to the Committee meeting which anyone is welcome to borrow.
Driving Blind Event – 27th July
Local optician Mike Killpartrick has been instrumental in launching a national campaign to reduce road accidents caused by drivers with defective vision (think 3000 casualties/year!). It starts with an event in Bath on Friday 27th July and is supported by our MP, Wera Hobhouse. Just turn up at the bottom of Milsom Street between 1130 and 1230 where you will find lots of 'Driving Blind' tee shirts. Petition Link; https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/221410 (please sign and share)
Website: www.drivingblind.org.uk .
FoBRA Summer Party, 7th June, Crowe Hall
Some party pics to remind you of a lovely evening, thanks to David and Fiona Lees: (not included here).
Robin Kerr, final, 8th July 18