Jul 2016 - Cabot eNews
July's edition of Cabot eNews.
In this edition: _________________ 1. EU Referendum: Brexit wins 2. Referendum-related attacks 3. Metro Mayor 4. Harbour Festival - 15-17 July 5. Big local planning applications 6. Green Capital books finally opened 7. Metrobus flood-wall approaches completion 8. New GP Surgery on Hotwells Road 9. Merchants Dock proposals - public meeting 10. Pedestrian/Cyclist near misses? 11. Council Budget simulator 12. Pocket park opens in Hotwells 13. Gaol Ferry Steps - retail update 14. Bristol Ageing Better funding 15. Commonwealth War Graves Commission 16. Second funding chance for communities energy projects 17. Extra bike stands on Jacobs Wells Roundabout 18. Join the Lib Dems for the EU - 13,000 have in the last week! _________________ 1. EU Referendum: Brexit wins In case you've been on Mars for the last couple of weeks: "Leave" won the referendum by 52% to 48%. I am absolutely gutted about this, and I suspect most H&H residents will be as the ward voted by a majority of 3 to 1 to remain in the EU. The coming years will be very turbulent and uncertain with very serious economic shocks likely, and cool heads are required on all sides to guide the country through very choppy waters with dangerous rocks in every direction. The options for the country to take now are complex, and we don't know what direction the public wants to take. In my opinion we should look at every option to stay as close as possible to the EU and to stay in the Single Market. The Lib Dems respect the vote of the UK public, but nevertheless our policy is that we will aim for re-joining the EU at the earliest opportunity. We also believe that the leave process should not be triggered until Parliament has debated the process properly, and it needs to be wrapped up in the appropriate proper legislation for scrutiny. Ideally, a General Election should happen before exit is triggered, to give all parties the opportunity to set out their stalls on what the UK's new relationship with Europe should be - to allow the public to choose the new relationship with the EU. If an election is called before exit is triggered, the Lib Dems will campaign on the platform of not exiting at all. _________________ 2. Referendum-related attacks Unfortunately, a small minority of thugs have taken the referendum result to mean that non-British and non-white people are no longer welcome in the UK. It goes without saying that this is not the case - our ethnic minority citizens are as British as anyone else and will always have the right to stay here; and our foreign residents, including EU nationals, are our welcome guests and are to be treated with hospitality as we would want foreign governments to treat our UK citizens who live abroad. If you have experienced or been a witness to hate crime, please report it to the Police or the Council. Serious incidents should be reported to the police at 999 immediately. Other incidents can be reported to the police on 101, or the Council via SARI at 0800 171 2272 or online at: www.sariweb.org.uk/help-support/online-reporting-form _________________ 3. Metro Mayor At the end of June, Bristol Council voted overwhelmingly (me included) to move forward with Bath and South Glos councils to set up the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA), with a "Metro Mayor" to oversee strategic infrastructure issues. Bath and South Glos councils also backed the deal. The Government offered the councils £30m per year and some extra powers, and the possibility of more money and more powers in future if it goes well. If the deal is ratified after the public consultation there will be an election in May 2017 across the councils for the new Metro Mayor who will chair the combined authority. More info here: www.bristol.gov.uk/devolution The MCA would manage new powers, funding and responsibilities that would be handed from central Government to the region as part of the deal. As a result, more decisions could be made locally, rather than nationally, about spending on regional transport, housing and adult education and skills, for example. There is a public consultation that will run from Monday 4 July until 15 August: www.westofenglanddevolution.co.uk _________________ 4. Harbour Festival - 15-17 July Bristol's best event, the Harbour Festival, is on over the weekend of 15th July. Things have been rearranged a bit to try to avoid the kind of mess and heavy drinking in Queens Square that we have seen in previous years, so make sure you have checked what's new before making plans. In particular there will be no late-night music in Queen's Square, as this was causing heavy drinking and trouble in the spot. Instead there is a ticketed music event at the Lloyds amphitheatre on Friday night, and free events there on Sat/Sun. There is loads of other stuff going on - check it out here, and hope for good weather! http://bristolharbourfestival.co.uk _________________ 5. Big local planning applications Last month I noted in Cabot eNews that 4 big planning applications are bubbling up at the same time across the H&H ward. I'm disappointed to say that all of the plans were - in my opinion - deficient, and I have objected to them all. I objected to: * A 'pre application enquiry' for the vacant site between The Quays and Wapping Wharf on Cumberland Road, because the design was dreadful. * A 'pre application enquiry' for Brandon Yard - the former gas works site and West Purifier House on Anchor Road, because the design was too big, too high, and dominated the listed buildings in the complex. * The Unite Students planning application for Brunel House just off Park St, because the developer insisted on putting a small, ugly, top floor on the plans which made it too tall. * The St Mary's Hospital on Brandon Hill planning application, because the developer is proposing to demolish what I consider to be an iconic local building of historical merit. I don't remember previously objecting to so many big sets of plans in one month! I'm hoping for a quieter July than June was... _________________ 6. Green Capital books finally opened The new Labour administration in the Council has agreed to open up the finances of the Green Capital project. This is very welcome news, and allows proper scrutiny of how the money was spent, and therefore proper lessons to be learnt on what went well and what could have gone better. More detail here: http://tinyurl.com/gw4hds5 The Council's current Chief Executive, Nicola Yates, has announced that she is leaving Bristol Council at the end of the month, so the Council will hire a new chief for the autumn. _________________ 7. Metrobus flood-wall approaches completion The new £775k flood-wall, which runs 250m between the Bristol Harbour Railway and Vauxhall Bridge, will reduce the tidal flood risk to an estimated 170 homes and businesses around the floating harbour, in particular Avon Crescent, which has been flooded several times recently. The 250 metre flood-wall has been faced and capped with a combination of new and existing pennant stone. The metal railings have also been replaced. The wall will prevent incidents such as this: http://tinyurl.com/ze5ljeo One unfortunate side-effect of the lovely new railings is that it has created stark contrast with the ugly decrepit railings upstream of Vauxhall Bridge. I pointed out to the Council 6 months ago that the old ones would look awful, but still they will not allocate cash for the old railings to be sorted out. I am investigating other possible sources of cash to do this work. _________________ 8. New GP Surgery on Hotwells Road The current Hotwells GP surgery on Charles Place has been scheduled for closure for some time by the owner. Plans for a new surgery on Hotwells Road had got deadlocked, with Council planners objecting to various issues about the new surgery proposal. I intervened to support the new surgery proposals, telling the planners that getting a new surgery open in time to meet the closure of the existing surgery was too important to be quibbling over trivial details like the kind of windows were being used in the new surgery. I'm pleased to report that the plans are now progressing again, and I hope that the new surgery will be open in time for the closure of the old one so that there is no interruption in service for residents. _________________ 9. Merchants Dock proposals - public meeting There is a proposal to widen a 20m stretch of quayside next to Rownham Mead estate, in order to allow better cycling space alongside pedestrians. This was previously a contentious issue, as residents and pedestrians feel that speeding cyclists along this stretch can intimidate and "buzz" families and walkers. The previous plans were rejected at planning committee. I have been asked to chair a public meeting to discuss the plans, which will be held on Wednesday 13 July at 6pm. The venue is Holy Trinity Hall, Hotwells Road. _________________ 10. Pedestrian/Cyclist near misses? Two websites have been set up to try to find hot-spots and pinch-points on paths that cause frequent near-misses or collisions between cyclists, pedestrians, and cars. The first is "Bugbears": https://bristolbugbears.commonplace.is . Also, you can report near misses to the police here http://tinyurl.com/jlp6h6l The purpose of these are to find the hotspots so that they can be tackled and hopefully fixed. Please use them whether you are a cyclist or a pedestrian. _________________ 11. Council Budget simulator A new interactive 'budget simulator' is helping local people get to grips with Bristol City Council's budget challenge as they share their priorities for future spending and saving by the council. For the first time in Bristol people can see the projected budget and suggest where savings can be made, along with the potential consequences of doing so. The tool, which is compatible with smart-phones and tablets, requires users to save £60m across the whole range of daily services provided by the council. All of the council's net revenue is included, so people can see what is spent where and get to grips with the tough choices faced by the city. People can take part from now at http://bristol.budgetsimulator.com _________________ 12. Pocket park opens in Hotwells A new "pocket park" will be opened at Cumberland Piazza, Cumberland Basin Rd, Hotwells, on 9th July at 2pm. The "Concrete Community" team will create a ball court and performance canopy from the newly unveiled play sculptures at the old play park on the Cumberland Piazza in Hotwells. They will host an afternoon of games, gardening and present the project history and future plans for community facilities and climate change adaptations to the site. Free tea and cake provided for friends, neighbours and visitors of all ages in celebration of a revitalised community space. For further details visit http://artundertheflyover.com _________________ 13. Gaol Ferry Steps - retail update Wapping Wharf's vision for creating a new independent food and drink quarter is taking off along Gaol Ferry Steps. Visitors are now able to enjoy a coffee and pastry from Mokoko, a speciality coffee house and artisan bakery, which has space to sit indoors or outside on the terrace. In July, the Better Food Company will open their organic and local food and convenience store having taken three retail units and will also be creating 30 jobs. Next on the scene will be Wild Beer Co who are making their first foray into Bristol to complement their existing set up in Cheltenham. The first phase of CARGO, Bristol's first ever retail hub made of converted shipping containers, is due to open in August and includes a host of independent food and drink businesses and other retailers. _________________ 14. Bristol Ageing Better funding There is a funding opportunity to develop and provide activities and engagement with older persons who are isolated in their communities. The Bristol Ageing Better Programme aims to fund projects which identify the most isolated older people and that provide activities and services to empower them and improve their contact with their community. The deadline for receipt of completed bids is midday on Monday 15 August. Details of the funding at http://bristolageingbetter.org.uk/open-applications _________________ 15. Commonwealth War Graves Commission The Big Ideas Company are working with the Commission to deliver the Living Memory project which aims to raise awareness of the 300,000 First World War and Second World War graves and memorials that can be found here in the UK, with significant numbers to be found across Bristol. They are offering funding and resources to groups to help them visit their local war graves here in the UK and discover more about the lives of those buried there. More information is on the website www.cwgclivingmemory.org and at http://tinyurl.com/j4ahgcl _________________ 16. Second funding chance for communities energy projects A second round of grant funding is now available to groups looking to make a positive change to how energy is used and generated in local communities. The council's Bristol Community Energy Fund is offering grants of up to £10k to projects that develop local solutions to community specific energy challenges. More information on the fund's website: www.bristolcommunityenergy.co.uk _________________ 17. Extra bike stands on Jacobs Wells Roundabout At the request of shop owners I have asked for extra cycle stands to be installed at the end of St Georges Road and Jacobs Wells Roundabout. _________________ 18. Join the Lib Dems for the EU - 13,000 have in the last week! Since the referendum result, 13,000 people have joined the Lib Dems! As the only national party that isn't currently trying to replace its leader, the Lib Dems are a beacon of stability and common sense while all other parties seem to be losing their minds. Our message is simple: leaving the EU is a mistake and we will explore every possibility and every option to try to stay as close as possible to the EU. Don't give up now - fight! www.libdems.org.uk/join