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 firstname.lastname@example.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: http://bccscheme.bytebackitrepair.co.uk _________________ 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: email@example.com Tel: 07727 038899 _________________