Ollie Middleton (Labour Parliamentary Candidate): Ollie is only 18 but already impressive. In Bath since he was 5, and educated at Ralph Allen School, he is steeped in Bath's special nature, and yet with a feeling for life's underdogs and for the problems imposed on them by the recent recession (and the actions of the Coalition Government). He listed an impressive and wide ranging number of changes and improvements which Labour would make if elected (but without explaining how they would be financed), adding his own extra ambitions for Bath, centring on traffic, housing and small businesses. In questions, he was asked about: his role as Bath's MP; cynicism with politicians; graduate retention; what made Bath 'special'; localism; and what he would do for Bath if elected.
Bath Rugby (BR): BR's stadium proposals move steadily towards a Planning Application. Henry wrote to BR in Feb, summarising comments we raised when the FoBRA contact group met BR again. The latest visualisations were circulated, followed by a spirited debate. In particular, the east (temporary) stand seemed absent, although it is due to be at least as high as the projected west one, to seat more spectators, and to be in place for more than half the year. Also discussed were: control of congestion; use of the stadium for other purposes (and for how many days); noisy Pop concerts; and FoBRA's role in all this, & whether it should support or oppose a planning application.
Bath Transport Plan: FoBRA attended the Transport Commission meeting in Feb. It went well and seems to be aiming for a public consultation in Apr.
Two New Members: Entry Hill Drive Residents' Association joined FoBRA, and the Westmorland Residents' Action Group became an affiliate. This brings FoBRA to 28 full members and 5 affiliates (with another imminent).
Chairman's Report: This covered: the Bath City Conference (30 Apr); the Enterprise Master Plan; Julie Girling MEP's help on traffic & congestion; a recent meeting with Bath's senior policeman; and an offer of legal help on licensing. Henry added a statement on the departure from the Council of Rhodri Samuel – architect of the Public Realm & Movement Programme and other visionary projects.
News from Associations: Ainslie's Belvedere, Bathwick Estate and Lansdown contributed this time.
Planning Report: This covered: Rec proposals; Bath Quays Waterside; Student Housing; Saw Close; Abbey bus shelter; Green Park House; and HMOs. At the meeting, the following were added: Core Strategy hearings; Colonnades progress; Burlington St wall; Foxhill proposals; and the flood risk upstream of the weir. This led to a discussion on recent flooding in St John's Road, raised by Henrietta Park Association.
AGM and Elections: The AGM will be on 1st May. We have Nominations for all posts (and 2 for Vice-Chairman!), but no volunteer for Secretary yet.