Dec 2016 - Cabot eNews

December's edition of Cabot eNews.

In this edition:

1. Shock Council Spending Freeze
2. 2017 Council Budget
3. Metrobus / Spike Island RPZ
4. Bathurst Basin Bridge traffic chaos
5. Prince Street Bridge vote supports car access
6. Mayor's plan to clean up Bristol's Streets
7. Metro-Mayor devolution to go ahead
8. West of England Joint Spatial Plan / Transport Study
9. Planning victories: St Mary's, and Brunel House
10. New University Campus proposed
11. New community noticeboard on Cathedral Walk
12. Tesco "Bags of Help" grants available
13. Does a park near you need some attention?
14. Harbour Lift Vandalism
15. Jacobs Wells Dance Studio consultation
16. Groups combating loneliness
17. Neighbourhood meeting dates
18. Would you like to help me help you?

1. Shock Council Spending Freeze

Councillors and the public were surprised to hear the announcement from
the Labour Party Mayor Rees last week that "all non-essential spending"
in the Council has been stopped. We are told it will remain "until the
council has firm plans for a balanced budget this year and next, along
with a more developed five-year plan". We don't know exactly what that
means, but my guess is at least until the Budget meeting in February.

We are told that the move means that all maintenance of buildings,
roads and parks will stop unless there is a risk to people's health or
safety. This includes budgets controlled by Neighbourhood Partnerships,
which includes well-being grants, highways schemes, clean and green
projects, or any other neighbourhood budget spend.

Clearly this radical action is being driven by an emerging budget "hole"
in the Council's finances. I accept that the Council is facing yet more
years of dire finances in the face of unreasonable Government funding
cuts, but I am worried that this move is completely un-targeted. If the
effect is just to delay most projects by 3 months until February this
may not have lasting effects; but if the effect is to cancel numerous
projects that have been years in the making it could have serious
unforeseen consequences, and disastrous effects for future public
confidence in the Council.

2. 2017 Council Budget Consultation

The Council is consulting on its five-year budget plan for the
city, including possible solutions to saving at least £92m from
2017-2022. Mayor Marvin Rees and his Cabinet have released a draft
five-year Corporate Strategy which sets out what the council will do, how
it will do it and what its financial future looks like. The consultation
will inform the February Budget; full details and the consultation are
available online at:

3. Metrobus / Spike Island RPZ

A statutory consultation on Cumberland Road for the new inbound
bus priority is about to go live. This is for the new bus "gate" by
Gas Ferry Road, which will allow buses to get ahead of cars at rush
hour. Complicating this matter is the recent Spike Island RPZ review,
as the results of the review are not yet processed.

I have been told by the Transport department that the section of RPZ
alongside the bus-lane needs to be processed with emergency speed in
order for the Metrobus works to not be held up by the RPZ review; they
have told me that some small-ish changes to the originally proposed RPZ
arrangements around the Gas Ferry Road area will result in the loss of 2-3
parking spaces, and that to make up for this they will convert 18 Pay &
Display parking spaces into mixed resident permit and P&D spaces. This
is regrettable but doesn't sound too bad.

Estimated completion times in 2017:
* South Bristol Link - January
* Baldwin St traffic change - February
* Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge - delayed until Spring
* Ashton Vale to Temple Meads - Summer
* Hengrove to North - Autumn

4. Bathurst Basin Bridge traffic chaos

The traffic lights on the junction of Wapping Rd with Cumberland Rd are
causing chaos every rush hour, with stationary traffic half a mile along
the road typical in the evening. There is currently one lane closed to
enable resurfacing the closed lane. After they complete this work they
will close the other lane so they can construct the walking/cycling
route on the south side of Commercial Road that will connect with the
walking/cycling path on the new bridge.

The council's Network Management team have visited Bathurst Basin a number
of times to review the situation and are "satisfied" with the traffic
management (which includes manually controlled lights during the day),
but I have to say I think it's a disaster. It is hoped the works will
be done by the end of December.

5. Prince Street Bridge vote supports car access

An "advisory" motion was brought before the Full Council in November
regarding worries that it might be closed to cars when the repair works
on it are finally completed. I have always opposed closing the bridge to
cars because it is a critical access to Spike Island, which has only a
couple of roads in and out, and I had already received assurances from
the Cabinet councillor for Transport that it would remain open. I spoke
for the Lib Dem group in favour of allowing cars to continue using the
bridge, and in the end the Council voted 50 to 8 to do so, with just a
few Green Party councillors voting against.

We have been told that the repairs still wont be done until "early in
the new year".

6. Mayor's plan to clean up Bristol's Streets

The new Mayor has launched a major initiative to clean up Bristol's
Streets. I'm very pleased to hear he is focussing on this as unclean
streets are a real problem in H&H ward. The three year campaign asks
individuals, community groups, schools and businesses to take collective
responsibility for keeping the streets clean and tidy, and encourages
everyone to reuse, repair and recycle more. The campaign is being
delivered in partnership with Bristol Waste Company. More info:

Bins and recycling complaints and issues:-

Reporting fly-tipping:-

7. Metro-Mayor devolution to go ahead

Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils
recently gave final endorsement to the proposed £1 billion West
of England devolution deal. It follows the decisions in June by the
three councils to move forward with the deal and the subsequent public
consultation in July and August. Once it passes through Parliament, the
councils will have the powers to establish the West of England Combined
Authority early next year and hold Mayoral Elections in May 2017.

8. West of England Joint Spatial Plan / Transport Study

In November the four West of England councils will be consulting on
drawing up plans which will guide development in our area over the next 20
years. Last year, people's thoughts and ideas were sought to help set the
approach and priorities. Having taken on board the consultation feedback,
the next phase of the process is to consult again, this time on outline
proposals. Consultation closes on 19th December and you can view the
consultation documents and make comments at

9. Planning victories: St Mary's, and Brunel House

Some good news at least on planning applications in H&H ward. First,
the plans for St Mary's Hospital, Brandon Hill, have been refused by the
Council. I have consistently opposed these plans because they intended
to demolish an iconic local landmark building, so I am happy to see
them refused. Second; the plans to expand Brunel House, St Georges
Road, substantially upwards and turn it into student flats have been
significantly scaled back. Instead, the existing building will be used
without expansion, which is a great result. I had opposed the original
plans, but was happy to vote in favour of the reduced plans at planning

Finally, I have seen notification of a pre-application enquiry for
McArthur's Warehouse, Gas Ferry Road. This derelict building has needed
redevelopment for some time, and I will keep residents informed of news.

10. New University Campus proposed

Plans for the University of Bristol's 'transformational' new campus
have been unveiled, with the £300 million project to be built near
Temple Meads on the derelict former sorting office site. It's hoped
the campus will open in time for the start of the 2021/22 academic
year. This has implications for H&H ward in that it may pull future
growth of the university and student numbers away from the Triangle and
towards Temple Meads.

11. New community noticeboard on Cathedral Walk

After a painfully long tussle with the private management company for
Harbourside area, a new community noticeboard is up and available for
use. The new spot is on the grassy area of Cathedral Walk. It isn't for
commercial events, but is for educational, cultural and social events. If
you have things you want to put up in it, contact Jacobs Wells Community
Hub: - - Facebook -
Text 07804 649152

12. Tesco "Bags of Help" grants available

Bags of Help will see the money raised by the 5p bag charge in
Tesco stores opened up to projects that support community use of open
spaces. Projects that will get funding will include volunteer training,
physical improvements of open spaces, equipment purchases, community
events and sports and leisure activities. Groups can apply by following
this link:

13. Does a park near you need some attention?

ParkWork is a programme that gives those on the route to employment
work-experience, gardening skills and training, while helping improve
Bristol's parks and green spaces. The programme, initiated by the Bristol
Parks Forum and supported by Bristol City Council has been running
successfully for 18 months throughout the city with participants moving
on to either full time employment or education.

If you know of an area that needs a bit of TLC above that provided by
Bristol Parks then let them know and they will arrange for Joe McKenna
the ParkWork coordinator to scope the work. Joe can be contacted on or 07469 400689

14. Harbour Lift Vandalism

Sadly the disabled lift at The Boathouse/Gas Ferry has been vandalised
again. I have asked for CCTV at this spot to watch over it.

15. Jacobs Wells Dance Studio consultation

This is an opportunity to contribute your ideas and views for the
future of this great building. This on-line questionnaire should
take no longer than 5 minutes. There is plenty of room at the
end of the survey to write down your views in a free text field:

16. Groups combating loneliness

A community group called "Bristol Community Friendship Club" are a
women-only social club aiming to prevent loneliness. More info here:

Also, Bristol Ageing Better are attempting to boost well-being among
older people:

17. Neighbourhood meeting dates

* Hotwells and Harbourside Forum: 24th Jan, The Pavilion, Hannover Quay,
BS1 5JE - 7pm to 8.30pm
* Central, Clifton and Harbourside Neighbourhood Partnership: 26th Jan,
City Hall - 7pm to 8.30pm

18. Would you like to help me help you?

In October and November I delivered the Autumn edition of the paper Cabot
News to 3,000 letterboxes across Hotwells & Harbourside ward with the
help of my band of local helpers. If we missed your door for some reason,
you can download it here:

Delivering so many leaflets is tough work and takes up a lot of our
time. If you would like to help by delivering to a road near you, please
reply and get in touch ASAP - we are always very pleased to have a bit
of extra help!

If you know of people who would be interested in any of Cabot eNews,
please forward it on to them. If you have received this email from a
friend and like it, email us to get added directly to the distribution. We
also welcome feedback. We are happy to help residents, local businesses
and voluntary agencies where we can, to pursue issues to make Hotwells &
Harbourside a better place.

Best wishes,

Cllr Mark Wright