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:

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:

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

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