Jan 2017 - Cabot eNews

January's edition of Cabot eNews.

In this edition:
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1. Council Tax likely to rise 5% in 2017
2. Power-boat racing in the harbour again?
3. Metrobus works / disruption
4. Major road changes in south-west Bristol
5. New Arena delayed
6. Low Emission Zone update
7. Proposal for "landmark" Harbourside hotel
8. Chocolate Path section diverted due to subsidence
9. Cumberland Road chaos eases (slightly)
10. Redcliffe Wharf public consultation
11. Neighbourhood Partnership and Forum dates
12. Monday morning Harbourside social running
13. Future of Jacobs Wells Baths
14. Police "Transformers" funding
15. Bristol floating garden wins prize
16. Local exhibitions
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1. Council Tax likely to rise 5% in 2017

The Labour Mayor, Marvin Rees, has proposed raising Council tax by 5%
for the coming year. This will be the biggest rise in many years, and is
several times the current inflation rate. The new(ish) Mayor continues to
look for ways to save a whopping 100million over the next 5 years to
cover both harsh Government cuts and his own new spending commitments,
and he has clearly decided that raising the tax rate will play a big
part: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-38604398

It looks to me that the Mayor is attempting to "front-load" the
savings and cuts, which will get the bad news out of the way early
in his term. The down-side of this is that, as the local media
reported, "Bristol's budget cuts will be more brutal than expected":
http://tinyurl.com/zeloz9v

Under the mayoral system, the Labour Party now has enough councillors
to be able to pass the Mayor's budget without any amendments from the
other political parties. The local media has a summary of the key measures
Mayor Rees is proposing so far, which cover about 1/3 of the total and are
likely to be included in this year's budget: http://tinyurl.com/jb2j677

The budget proposals as they stand unfortunately would also spell the end
of Neighbourhood Partnerships as we know them. This would be a huge shame,
as a great deal of local action has occurred in recent years because of
the flourishing of the Neighbourhood Partnerships. Another down-side of
this is that it will return all Council power back to the centre. I very
much hope this can be avoided.
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2. Power-boat racing in the harbour again?

The Mayor has expressed a desire to see power-boat racing return to
Bristol harbour, and is exploring the idea with a promotions company who
want to deliver the event. The races were mostly during the 80s when the
docks were derelict and very different to today, but they were ended in
1990 after the 7th driver was killed and organisers wouldn't risk the
reputation harm of more deaths (the course was so dangerous that the
racers nicknamed it the "widow-maker").

I'm not a supporter of this proposal. The Mayor needs to express how he
thinks an event like this fits with Bristol's Green Capital aspirations;
and he also needs to consider what the reputational harm to the city
might be if there were more fatalities. But my main concerns are the
huge disruption this will cause for those who live or have businesses
on the water. The harbour would have to be cleared of boats for a week
around the event, which would likely be in high summer. This would mean
moving dozens of residents who now live in boats and businesses that
now operate on the water. The Mayor should consider whether it is fair
to deliberately clobber some businesses in order to benefit others.

I have been asking all over the Council what the implications would be and
who knows what, and have submitted questions to the Mayor trying to find
out more. I remember the races from when I was a child; but personally,
I think they were a spectacle of the past that should stay in the past.
http://tinyurl.com/jjdzjql
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3. Metrobus works / disruption

Balfour Beatty have said that they have had to extend their works on Spike
Island for a month, so Smeaton Road will now reopen at the end of March.

Also, due to major works, diversions will take place on Winterstoke Road
from 8pm Saturday to 8pm Sunday on the following weekends:

* 21-22 January (Winterstoke Northbound and Ashton Underpass closure)
* 28-29 January (Ashton Underpass closure)
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4. Major road changes in south-west Bristol

Two big road changes happen from next week, which may affect you if you
are leaving the harbour area via the Cumberland Basin or Winterstoke
Road. The first is that the "South Bristol Link" opens from Monday
16th Jan; linking Hartcliffe roundabout to the A370. The second is that
Hartcliffe Way becomes a one-way road for Metrobus works, with diversions
in place for 10 months. Plan your route!
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5. New Arena delayed

The Mayor has decided not to progress a main building contract with the
current developer to build the Bristol Arena. This is because apparently
"an agreement on price cannot be reached". All the existing work and
planning permissions remain in place, and can be taken up by a future
developer, but this now means that the arena will end up being at least
2 years delayed. While this is hugely disappointing, I can understand why
the Mayor has done this. It's not unusual for developers to push councils
on major projects, believing that politicians will be unable to call their
bluff for fear of losing face in public. When the Council is strapped for
cash it's better to get a developer who will build at the right price...
www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-38589492
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6. Low Emission Zone update

The local media reported that the Council has given taxi drivers advance
notice that their cars could face restrictions in the central area if
they don't meet certain emissions levels in future. This is good news,
as it means the Council is trying to let companies know they need to
up their game (although I suspect the media is being a bit alarmist
in suggesting that the charge might hit all private cars). More:
http://tinyurl.com/jqet5es
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7. Proposal for "landmark" Harbourside hotel

There is a new proposal for a "landmark" hotel on the vacant space next to
the Lloyds HQ on Harbourside. It would feature a floating restaurant and a
covered area for market stalls/events on an area of land running alongside
Bordeaux Quay. The Council has long had this plot listed as a "prime"
development site, and I will be investigating the proposal and asking
any plans to deliver the most possible for the local community. More
info: http://tinyurl.com/hlj6tkn
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8. Chocolate Path section diverted due to subsidence

A 100m section of a popular cycle and pedestrian route is being
diverted due to concerns over its stability. A temporary footpath
diversion is being installed using part of the heritage railway, which
runs parallel, and it will remain in place for the foreseeable future
while structural investigations are carried out. The heritage railway
will not operate along this section until the stabilisation works are
completed. Time-scales for any structural work can only be determined
once the investigation work has taken place.
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9. Cumberland Road chaos eases (slightly)

The rush-hour congestion on Cumberland road has eased slightly, after
the contractors made a number of changes to the traffic management system
suggested by residents and myself (well done for those suggestions!) It
is still hoped the works will be finished by the end of January...but I've
stopped counting my chickens when it comes to Metrobus completion dates.
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10. Redcliffe Wharf public consultation

Complex Development Projects will be holding a second public consultation
before submitting a planning application for the redevelopment of
Redcliffe Wharf Suite 2 (First Floor), M Shed, Wed, 18th January, Noon
- 8pm.
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11. Neighbourhood Partnership and Forum dates

Central, Clifton and Harbourside Neighbourhood Partnership: Thu 26th Jan,
7pm; at City Hall, College Green.

Hotwells and Harbourside forum: Tue 24th Jan, 7pm; at The Pavilion No1
Hannover Quay, Harbourside, BS1 5JE. Agenda:
* Local planning developments update
* MetroBus update
* Crime and community safety update from the Police
* Future of Neighbourhood Partnerships
* Neighbourhood and community issues
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12. Monday morning Harbourside social running

"Better on a Monday" - Weekly from Monday 9th Jan, 9.30am Mardyke Steps

Led by local runners, the run is open to all abilities and perfect for
those looking for some daytime social running. It's not competitive -
no one is left behind. Meet on the harbourside at Mardyke Steps behind
the Galley Cafe, next to Young Bristol, at 9:20 for a 9:30am start. The
run lasts for about an hour. Running will be on road and first few runs
will be around the harbour. Similar to "Feel Good Friday" at Tyntesfield
and Leigh Woods - but they're "Even Better on a Monday".
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13. Future of Jacobs Wells Baths

There is an important Open Meeting concerned with the future of the
Jacobs Wells Baths, hosted by the Jacobs Wells Community Hub: Thursday,
Jan 19th  6.30-8.00 pm. There will be the opportunity to hear results
of the on-line and paper survey / consultation and ask questions.
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14. Police "Transformers" funding

There is 5,000 of funding from the Police through the 'Transformers'
fund to spend on youth projects in our area. Applications must be in
by 17th February. Grants will be awarded to support ideas that promote
youth engagement and benefit within the partnership area in the current
year. More info here: http://tinyurl.com/h2ok8bj
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15. Bristol floating garden wins prize

A Bristol art project has won the 2016-2018 Vera List Centre Prize for
Art and Politics. Presented every two years, this year the winner is
Brazilian artist Maria Thereza Alves, who created Bristol's Floating
Ballast Seed Garden. The garden, which was berthed in Bristol's floating
harbour between 2012 and 2016, formed part of "Seeds of Change" and was
brought to Bristol in 2011 at the invitation of Bristol City Council and
Arnolfini. Making use of a derelict concrete barrage owned by Bristol
Harbour Authority, the ballast garden featured plant species not native
to the UK but that had occasionally self-seeded in the harbour after being
trapped in cargo. Well done all involved for such an innovative exhibit!
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17. Local exhibitions

Spike Island Art Centre:

* Lubaina Himid, Navigation Charts - 20 January to 26 March 2017. Lubaina
Himid (b. 1954, Zanzibar, lives and works in Preston) works in painting,
drawing, installation and printmaking. Spike Island presents the first
major UK survey of her work in collaboration with Modern Art Oxford and
Nottingham Contemporary.

* Sian Norris - 2 January to 30 April 2017. Novelist, short story writer,
journalist and poet Sian Norris is writer-in-residence at Spike Island,
developing a new novel and running a series of workshops and literary
events.

* Mary Paterson - January to March 2017. Working between critical writing,
poetry and live art, Mary Paterson is art writer in residence for early
2017, hosted by Spike Island in partnership with Arnolfini and the Art
Writers Programme
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Best wishes,

Cllr Mark Wright


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