May 2017 - Cabot eNews
May's edition of Cabot eNews.
In this edition: _________________ 1. Metro Mayor...and General Election too! 2. Last chance to register to vote in June's General Election 3. Prince Street Bridge to open to pedestrians and cyclists Monday 22nd May! 4. Outcry over chop of tree maintenance 5. Cyclist/Pedestrian improvements 6. Metrobus update 7. Bristol 10k disruption 8. Government awards cash to tackle homelessness 9. Licensing issues 10. Neighbourhood Partnership news 11. Parks Byelaws come into effect 12. Bristol Older People's Forum 13. Local exhibitions _________________ 1. Metro Mayor...and General Election too! Just a few days after the last Cabot eNews went out, PM Theresa May stunned the nation by calling a snap General Election. Before the General Election was called, all the experts were predicting Lib Dem local election gains across the country; but since then the UKIP vote has collapsed towards the Conservatives, and the Labour Party has been boosted a bit as well. In Bristol this overshadowed the Metro Mayor election, changing the dynamic in the election dramatically. As a result, on May 4th, what was expected to be a close Lib Dem/Tory result across former Avon was in the end was a very close 3-way result: Con 27%, Lab 22%, Lib Dem 20%. The result didn't change in the "second round", which the Conservatives won. Although the result was a huge increase in the Lib Dem vote since 2015, I really think that if the we Lib Dems had just squeaked into second place instead of Labour, we would have won in the second round as we are more "vote transfer friendly" than Labour under Corbyn. We will hopefully hear in due course what infrastructure plans the new Metro Mayor, Tim Bowles, has for the wider area. As for the General Election, personally I feel it is totally unnecessary, and a pretty naked attempt by Theresa May to eliminate any opposition to her plans for a very Hard Brexit. In Bristol West, having been fired up by the Metro Mayor campaign, former MP Stephen Williams is standing again in an attempt to win his seat back from Labour's Thangham Debonnaire. I've worked with Stephen for over a decade while he was local MP and I local councillor. There is a very real chance that the coming parliament could be even less liberal than the brief last one, and only more Lib Dem MPs can prevent that...so I am backing his campaign to win! You can find more info about his campaign and policies here: www.stephenwilliams.org.uk www.facebook.com/StephenWilliamsPolitician _________________ 2. Last chance to register to vote in June's General Election The deadline to register to vote in June's General Election will pass at midnight on 22 May. Registering to vote can be done in minutes online using a PC, laptop, phone or tablet by visiting www.gov.uk/register-to-vote with a National Insurance number and a date of birth. Anyone who is unsure whether they're registered or not should call Electoral Services on 0117 922 3400 to check if they still need to register. _________________ 3. Prince Street Bridge to open to pedestrians and cyclists Monday 22nd May! The structural refurbishment works have now been completed, and the City Docks Engineers have fully tested and recommissioned the operational movements of the bridge and are now satisfied that it can be reopened to the general public. Further monitoring and testing will now take place before scaffold is removed, and the bridge can be reopened to southbound traffic movements out of the city. The southbound-only traffic route is likely to be in place until at least summer 2018, at which point the Mayor will review the usage of the bridge. The cost and ridiculous delays on this project will soon be examined by a Council scrutiny committee, after I asked for it last year. The papers can be seen here (meeting date delayed): http://tinyurl.com/kces4hx I'm quite pleased to see that only southbound traffic will be permitted as a trial, as this is something I recommended to the Transport Department a year ago. It should help cut congestion in the centre by allowing another exit from the Centre without providing another entrance; and it will also avoid the issue of deadlocked traffic on the bridge when the directional traffic lights change during stationary traffic. Finally, a cycle improvement scheme on Prince Street connecting Cumberland Road to Baldwin Street and Broad Quay will begin this month. _________________ 4. Outcry over chop of tree maintenance There has been strong opposition to the Council's plans to axe 3/4 of the tree maintenance budget. The Cotham Lib Dem councillor, Anthony Negus, complained at a Cabinet meeting that tree maintenance budget - which would see only essential works ever done - would very quickly lead to much bigger costs as thousands of trees would get out of control and potentially dangerous. The current plans are: * No pollarding of street trees or removal of epicormic growth around the tree. * Emergency cover outside normal working hours is no longer being provided * Tree management will be limited to felling to address safety risks * No planting of street trees, either replacement or new, even when cost neutral These decisions were taken with no consultation with stakeholders, who would quickly have pointed out that this will cost much more money in the medium and long term. In the face of strong opposition from tree groups and parks groups, the Mayor has said that the Council will "look again" at the impact. More: http://tinyurl.com/mrofnhv _________________ 5. Cyclist/Pedestrian improvements As part of the Cycle Ambition Fund programme, the Council has been investigating ways to improve the walking and cycling legibility and atmosphere within the City Centre. The proposals aim to improve the natural legibility of key areas responding to comments made on the "Bristol Bugbears" website. There will be improvements to the shared-space and cycle paths on both Queens Square and College Green, to more clearly segregate cyclists from pedestrians to reduce conflict where possible. This is good news, although I have repeatedly made the point to the Council that the problem is often one of excessive cyclist speed around pedestrians, more than anything else. _________________ 6. Metrobus update Approximate dates: * Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge restoration complete - bridge will reopen later this month * Announcement of MetroBus operators - June * Bathurst Bridge due to open - August * Unveiling of brand, logos, buses, iPoints etc, - August _________________ 7. Bristol 10k disruption I received a number of complaints about the Bristol 10k race and the disruption it caused. While on the one hand, events such as this help put Bristol on the map and bring in business, there has to be balance in the amount of inconvenience it causes to residents and businesses. In particular the road closures in the central area where there is often little scope to take alternative routes, are a real problem. I always make the point to the Council that major road closures for events (including the Portway) should be rare. _________________ 8. Government awards cash to tackle homelessness The Council has received a £2.5m grant from the Govt to tackle the severe homeless problem in the city. The money is split into: £925,000 grant for prevention will seek to identify those at risk of homelessness, trial early intervention action and focus on addressing root causes; £382,866 rough sleepers grant to tackle rough sleeping; £1,125,000 will be allocated to tackle long-term rough sleeping in Bristol. More: http://tinyurl.com/ldykzmx On this subject, the Council is trying - but struggling - to contain the rough/tent sleeping on both the New Cut and on Brandon Hill. The Council's strategy is with the police to tackle locations first where there are cases of ASB, which currently means more Brandon Hill than New Cut. The department is woefully under-resourced, so hopefully the above grant will make a good difference. _________________ 9. Licensing issues I objected to the lateness of the "Grillstock" music licence. The application had originally requested that the live-music main-stage go on until midnight on Saturday! As a result of my objection, Grillstock have brought the application in to 11pm. _________________ 10. Neighbourhood Partnership news The Central, Clifton and Harbourside NP Environment group is looking for a) new projects to consider, and b) new members to help. Typical projects are listed below. If you are interested in either, contact Chair, Fraser Bridgeford: firstname.lastname@example.org * City centre street tree planting * Installation of step handrails * Education of traders on the positioning of euro bins and other waste * Upgrading of park pathways and lighting * Removal of graffiti and graffiti prevention * Creation of new replacement playground / play equipment * Education of traders on the use of 'A' boards * Installation of historical interpretation signage * Provision of youth facilities _________________ 11. Parks Byelaws come into effect The new parks byelaws were recently passed by the full Council and came into force on April 28th. Full details can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/ltn4qdb . As a result of the new rules, BBQs are now only allowed in a small part of the park, shown here: http://tinyurl.com/kn6s5nm _________________ 12. Bristol Older People's Forum The BOPF produce a quarterly newsletter, and you can see the spring one here: http://tinyurl.com/lwkh79l . Their website is https://bopf.org.uk _________________ 13. Local exhibitions Spike Island Arts Centre, until 18 June: * Giles Round: They bow. Curtain. No applause. "For his exhibition at Spike Island, London based artist Giles Round draws on his professional experience as an exhibition designer to theatricalise the standard systems of display employed by galleries and museums." Andrea Luka Zimmerman: Common Ground. "The first UK solo exhibition of artist, cultural activist and filmmaker Andrea Luka Zimmerman. Central to the exhibition, Zimmerman's essay film Estate, a Reverie (2015) tracks the long drawn out closure of the Haggerston Estate in East London and the utopian promise of social housing it once offered." _________________ Published and promoted by Daniel Kelly on behalf of Stephen Williams (Liberal Democrats), both at 31 James St West, Bath BA1 2BT