Apr 2017 - Cabot eNews

April's edition of Cabot eNews.

In this edition:

1. Metro-Mayor election in just over 2 weeks!
2. Hotwells GP surgery closes...and no replacement!
3. Council decides not to re-route around Avon Crescent
4. Spike Island RPZ review: results
6. Mayor announces Cabinet reshuffle
7. Bus service changes
8. Late night licensing issues
9. Planning applications
10. Coach Parking to move to St Philips
11. First hot weekend brings trash apocalypse
12. Jacobs Wells Baths: inviting interest for Asset Transfer
13. FrANC - York Road Riverbank Clean-up
14. Bristol Walk Fest
15. Bristol Ferry Boats begin commuter service
16. Hundreds of computers available in reuse project
17. Bristol's Quality of Life survey
18. Bristol in Bloom - looking for new committee members

1. Metro-Mayor election in just over 2 weeks!

On May 4th there is an election in our area for the new "Metro Mayor"
post. This is an important election - the post will oversee strategic
issues like transport, planning, and housing in most of the former Avon
region, and will have an annual budget of £30m. If the system works
well, the government has promised that it will devolve yet more powers
and money in the future.

If you are registered to vote, you should by now have received your
Metro-Mayor candidates booklet from the Council, with brief manifestos
of each candidate in. If for some reason you haven't, you can get it
online here: http://tinyurl.com/khn3zm8

BBC Points West will be televising a hustings of the candidates on
Thursday 20th April in the evening - this will be a good opportunity to
see all of them in action.

The election uses the same "supplementary" vote system that the Bristol
Mayor uses. So you get a first vote, and then a second preference vote
which will be used in the run-off between the top two candidates if your
first pref candidate didn't make the top two. More information about
the vote: www.wevote.org.uk

Former Government minister, Bristol West MP, and city centre councillor:
Stephen Williams, is the Lib Dem candidate for this election. He
is currently the bookie's joint favourite with the Conservative
candidate. Stephen's manifesto and other policy info are available here:
https://stephenwilliamsmp.wordpress.com . His current campaigning activity
is available here: www.facebook.com/StephenWilliamsPolitician

If you want to help our election effort in any way, or Stephen's campaign
against a "hard Brexit", please email organiser@bristollibdems.org

2. Hotwells GP surgery closes...and no replacement!

There has been a lot of anger in Hotwells and Spike Island as a result of
the last minute collapse of plans to replace Hotwells surgery, leaving
no replacement at all.

I am very annoyed to hear this news. Last summer I had been involved in
helping the proposed replacement practice get planning permission for a
new surgery in the shops on Hotwells Road, which had been successful. The
failure it seems was in the business planning, but no indication was
given by either party (NHS England or the GP partners) that things were
in trouble until it was too late.

I then wrote to NHS England pointing out - though I am sure they already
know - that there is a good deal of sheltered elderly accommodation in the
Spike Island / Hotwells area, and these people now face long journeys to
a nearest surgery. All the surgeries in Clifton are up very steep hills,
with no direct public transport (although, try the 505 for Pembroke Road
surgery), and are thus unreachable for anyone with mobility issues. The
surgeries in Southville are probably just about walkable for people on
Spike Island, but again there is no direct public transport, and they
are surely beyond the walkable range of those living in Hotwells itself
(and I have heard second-hand that the surgeries south of the river
aren't taking anyone from north of the river anyway).

I asked NHS England what the problem was that caused plans to
collapse, and they would only say it was "operational issues" that
were "commercially sensitive information". Reading between the lines I
would say this sounds like the final problem was a disagreement over
money between NHS England and the private GPs who would have run the
surgery. Obviously this is very disappointing, but with negotiations
breaking down just 2 weeks before the surgery closed, there was no
prospect of finding an alternative plan.

I also asked them if they have a proposal for where and how elderly &
immobile residents of Hotwells should go, and the response was at least
that there is "recognition" that there is work to be done on transport
for the vulnerable and elderly patients.

Overall, I think this is poor behaviour by both the NHS and the GPs
concerned - to have allowed this to collapse so near to the closing date
that no time was left for an alternative plan, when the well-liked Dr
Ring had given them a year's notice for them to work this out.

3. Council decides not to re-route around Avon Crescent

After 3 years of thinking about it, the Council has decided not to
go ahead with plans to re-route traffic around Avon Crescent. The
Crescent will still become one-way in the autumn, as Metrobus had always
required. The Council's argument for not going ahead is concern about
traffic flows on and off of Spike Island, and partly in response to the
opposition in the consultation. I am disappointed about this decision,
as I think that the scheme would actually improve traffic flow as it
would eliminate the road merger that will now happen at the Cumberland
Rd/Avon Crescent junction, and because the scheme would have improved
the public space between A-Bond and the harbour.

The Council now has £80k that will instead be spent on safety and calming
measures in Avon Crescent, as was originally required in the Metrobus
planning permission. The Council will consult on these measures from May.

4. Spike Island RPZ review: results

Readers may remember that in the RPZ review I had asked the Parking
department to consider equalising the times of the Spike Island scheme
with the Cliftonwood & Hotwells scheme. I am pleased to announce that the
department have agreed to do a formal consultation on exactly this change,
so residents and businesses in the area will be asked if they want to
move to 9am-7pm operation and from Mon-Fri to Mon-Sat operation. The
Council will consult on this from May. I also made it very clear that
this change must be mitigated around the Spike Island Arts centre,
to prevent the venue being clobbered by changes.

5. Council "Spending Freeze" lifted

The Council's spending freeze was lifted at the start of April. This
means that non-vital activities can happen again. Remember though, that
the Council now has much less money because of cuts by central government,
so some things may still not happen, or may take longer.

6. Mayor announces Cabinet reshuffle

Mayor Marvin Rees has reshuffled has cabinet, taking over the transport
role himself, and dropping the only Lib Dem in the multi-party cabinet. As
the Lib Dem cabinet member was well regarded in the city this was a big
surprise to us, but we will continue to offer the Mayor support where
warranted and opposition where necessary.

7. Bus service changes

* 11 - UWE Bower Ashton Campus / Broadmead, Wessex Bus. This service
will unfortunately be withdrawn from 19th May.
* X1/X2 - Weston Super Mare / Bristol, First Bus. Service X1A will be
renumbered X2.
* 505 - Hotwells Road up to the Downs. This service is likely to become
less frequent

8. Late night licensing issues

In the last couple of weeks I have objected to the lateness of a couple
of proposed music licences:

* I objected to Saturday night of Grillstock on harbourside having live
music until midnight
* I objected to a 2am licence for live music at the old Goldbrick House
on Park St

My rationale is that live music is harder to control the volume of,
and is more disturbing than, that from regular amplified recorded music.

9. Planning applications

* The plans for the old Gasworks ("West purifier House") were passed at
planning committee. Construction works should start soon.
* Look out for emerging plans for 24 flats and some office space at 123
Cumberland Rd.
* I met with "Manor Property Group" - those behind the plans for a new
hotel between the Lloyds HQ and Bordeaux Quay. Manor Group have a mixed
history and I have concerns at their lack of community involvement so far,
and I impressed this on them in the meeting. They weren't thrilled at what
I had to say, so we shall see how this progresses. One to keep an eye on.

10. Coach Parking to move to St Philips

Planning permission has been granted on a new coach site in St Philips,
which is expected to open just after Easter. This completes the move
from Cumberland Rd that was necessary for Metrobus, and will be welcome
news for those on Baltic Wharf, who have often had to put up with late
night moving and engines running.

11. First hot weekend brings trash apocalypse

The glorious weather over the weekend of 8th April had a shameful
hangover: vast amounts of rubbish strewn in every park, and overflowing
bins. The problem here is twofold, 1) the Council needs to empty bins more
often when the weather forecast says sunny and warm, and 2) Citizens need
to not leave trash on the grass, and if bins are full they need to take
it away with them instead of just piling it up. http://tinyurl.com/kxv72vk

On a related note, the 2017 Bristol Big Give campaign will have British
Heart Foundation charity banks across the City from April 25th until July
14th. They will be emptied every other day and if there is excess waste
around the banks this will be collected by Bristol Waste Company. There
will be contact telephone numbers on the banks.

12. Jacobs Wells Baths: inviting interest for Asset Transfer

Bristol City Council is now inviting Expressions of Interest from
not-for-private-profit organisations in the Jacobs Wells Baths
building. All proposals should be sent via email by 9am on Monday 3
July 2017. The offer, the eligibility criteria and requirements for the
future tenant are set out in the brief, which can be downloaded, along
with the full details, from the website at: www.bristol.gov.uk/jwbaths

In addition, the Jacobs Wells Hub's "Annual Gathering and Celebration"
is on 23 April, 3-5pm to the Hub Space in Jacobs Wells Baths. Join them
to celebrate their achievements in the last busy year. Bring something
edible to share if you can and they can provide the tea and raffle.

Finally, the Friends of Jacobs Wells Baths working group's meeting #3
is on May 11th at the Baths at 6.30 - 8.30 pm.

13. FrANC - York Road Riverbank Clean-up

The last major FrANC Clean-up of Spring will be on Saturday 22nd April,
along the York Road Riverbank. They are meeting from 9:50am onwards at the
Banana (Langton Street) Bridge on the York Road side of the New Cut. You
will receive a short (but mandatory) pre-Clean-up briefing. Please wear
warm, waterproof clothing and strong shoes, and bring protective gloves
if you have them. They will provide you with spare gloves (if needed),
litter-pickers, bags for rubbish and recyclables and a high-visibility
FrANC vest for you to wear. In the event that they are forced to postpone
the Clean-up because of extreme weather conditions then a notice to that
effect will be posted in the News & Events/Latest News section of the
FrANC Website - www.franc.org.uk - early on Saturday morning.

14. Bristol Walk Fest

One of the country's largest urban walking festivals is set to
return this May as the Bristol Walk Fest gears up for another year
of strolling, scrambling and hiking with something for all ages and
abilities. Throughout May (1-31), there is a packed program of walks
planned in and around Bristol that will be available for local people
to enjoy.  The majority are free and with different walks available
nearly every day, there's something for everyone. The program is now
available online via a new website: www.bristolwalkfest.com

Ed Hall will be leading a walk entitled "Exploring the Cumberland Basin"
as FrANC's contribution to Bristol Walk Fest 2017.  The walk, which
will last around 1.5 hours, will start at The Cottage Inn on Baltic
Wharf and will encompass a "tour of the Cumberland Basin showing how the
development of the lock system and the Floating Harbour enabled Bristol
to manage the high tidal range so that trade could flourish".

If you would like to take part in this walk then there is a choice of
four dates/times when it will be run during May:
* Thu  4th May start 10:15am
* Wed 10th May start 1:30pm
* Wed 17th May start 6:15pm
* Thu 25th May start 1:30pm

Each walk will be limited to a maximum number of 20 people, so it is
essential that you book a place beforehand by contacting Ed on his mobile
phone number (07805 007 304). A fee of £2 per head will be charged as
a contribution to FrANC funds.

15. Bristol Ferry Boats begin commuter service

The well known yellow and blue boats have another service - with the
support of Low CarbonSW and Stride Treglown services are being extended
to include some early morning commuter times. They will run at 7.15,
7.55 and 8.35 from Temple Meads and Hotwells into the City Centre and
onwards to either end of the harbour. Evening services run from 4.20pm
to 6.15pm. More information: http://tinyurl.com/lrpjvb9

16. Hundreds of computers available in reuse project

Over 400 reconditioned computers and laptops are available to be bought
by residents who may not otherwise be able to afford them. The equipment
is being made available through Bristol Computer Reuse in partnership
with Byteback IT Solutions and Bristol City Council to provide affordable
computers to people on low incomes or who face other challenges. In order
to be eligible for the project residents have to meet one or more of the
criteria on the form; you can apply for a laptop or computer online here:

17. Bristol's Quality of Life survey

Bristol's Quality of Life survey provides an annual snapshot of people's
lifestyles and how they feel about living in Bristol. It gives local
residents an opportunity to voice their opinions about living in Bristol,
local public services, and what they think needs to be done differently
in their area. It runs until 29th May. If you fill out only one Council
survey per year, this is the one you should do: www.bristol.gov.uk/quality

18. Bristol in Bloom - looking for new committee members

Bristol in Bloom Community Association is now independent of Bristol
City Council funding, and is therefore re-structuring. They are
looking for new members to help in organising the initiatives that are
under-way for this year. If you feel that you could spare some time
to these worthwhile initiatives please contact Monica Whyte - email:
bristol-in-bloom@hotmail.co.uk Tel: 07727 038899