Jun 2017 - Cabot eNews
June's edition of Cabot eNews.
In this edition: _________________ 1. General Election aftermath... 2. Details of Mayor's budget cuts finally published 3. Future of Bristol's Parks 4. Grenfell Tower fire disaster 5. McArthur's Warehouse plans submitted 6. Temple Gate roadworks starting 7. Mayor's new Congestion Task Group meets 8. Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge re-opens 9. Harbour powerboat racing update 10. Friends of Harbourside Reed Bed 11. Friends of the Avon New Cut walk 12. The world's first 'treehouse crane' opens in Bristol! 13. Cumberland Road Metrobus Bus shelter 14. Trash problems _________________ 1. General Election aftermath... In last month's eNews I said of the General Election, "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". Well, after a roller-coaster ride it seems that the public came to the same conclusion! PM Theresa May has been deprived of her majority, and it all looks very silly now. How the PM is going to put together a government now I don't know. In 2010 - at a critical time for the economy - the Lib Dems stepped up in the national interest; but that is not possible this time, for a number of reasons. The results in Bristol reflected the national picture, with a big gain for Labour in Bristol North West, and increased majorities in all other seats. The Labour Party now hold all the city's MPs, Mayor, and a majority on the Council - the first time since 2003 they have held everything. I congratulate them and expect them to represent our whole city, and to remember that those majorities include the lending of many Liberal votes who wanted more than anything to prevent the presumed Conservative landslide. Elsewhere in the country the Lib Dems had mixed results. We gained seats, and got some of our best performers back into Parliament; but we lost Nick Clegg, which I was gutted about. We were also only 500 votes away from doubling our seat total, as we had a number of agonisingly close losses (including one by just 2 votes out of over 40,000!) In the aftermath of the election, Tim Farron has resigned as leader, which I am also gutted about. A new leader will be elected later in the year. _________________ 2. Details of Mayor's budget cuts finally published The Mayor, Labour's Marvin Rees, has published the details of the cuts from his March budget. There are some painful shocks in the detail, the biggest of which is the closure of most of Bristol's libraries: http://tinyurl.com/yantovll http://tinyurl.com/ybsbsygx As my colleague, Cllr Anthony Negus says, we councillors were not consulted on these library cut proposals, and in the long run such drastic closures will likely add to costs as more residents face isolation, lack of access to services, and other costly health issues: http://tinyurl.com/y8vhwtll Of course, the cuts are driven by Government cutting funding for councils, but decision where to cut is local. The Council has put up a survey where you can give your opinions on these, and other proposals including the dismantling of Neighbourhood Partnerships - please do so: http://tinyurl.com/y947em52 _________________ 3. Future of Bristol's Parks The Mayor is planning to cut the entire parks budget over the next few years, in the hope that Bristol's parks will somehow become self-sufficient. This has never been successful before, and many people think that it's a hopeless quest that will lead to the decaying of our city's parks. The Bristol Parks Forum have set up a petition against this plan: http://epetitions.bristol.gov.uk/epetition_core/community/petition/3842 (Note: This petition was supposed to activate yesterday, but was still disabled when I last checked) _________________ 4. Grenfell Tower fire disaster The Grenfell Tower disaster has shocked everyone, with at around 60 deaths now confirmed. As someone who grew up in a block of council flats, it's been painful for me to see. There are no Council tower-blocks of flats in H&H ward, but several just beyond it. The Council has written to all its tenants, with information. Two key paragraphs from the Council's letter are: * From the information currently available, it would appear that the Grenfell block in London was over-clad with a 'rain-screen cladding' system. This is an entirely different system/material to that used in Bristol comprising a different design, completed with different materials. Furthermore we do not and have not used the company which supplied the cladding in London. * We do not believe that there is any cause for concern about the council's housing blocks, but we will of course consider the details of the fire in London as they emerge, including whether there are any other steps which may need to be taken. Council representatives will, where required, attend meetings with residents in order to hear any outstanding concerns. If you have any concerns please do not hesitate to contact the Major Projects Team on 0117 3525403 _________________ 5. McArthur's Warehouse plans submitted A planning application for McArthur's Warehouse has been submitted to the Council. This follows quite a long period of consultation. The final plan has a distinctive industrial feel, which may or may not please. I have always been clear with the developers that the design must not bring future residents into conflict with the working boatyard - we don't want people moving in and then complaining about people hammering metal all day! Much of the proposed site is 7 storeys, and the southern tip is 8-storeys. This is higher than I would have liked; my feeling is that the whole site is probably 1 storey too high. Whether that is enough to object to the plans, I haven't decided yet - it will probably depend on how much other positive benefit the plans bring to the harbour. More: http://tinyurl.com/yajfszgl _________________ 6. Temple Gate roadworks starting Did you think that roadworks across the city were finally starting to finish up? Well, the Temple Gate roadworks are coming and will last until Autumn next year: http://tinyurl.com/y78772q6 _________________ 7. Mayor's new Congestion Task Group meets The Mayor took personal control of transport in the city in the spring, and one of the first things he did was set up a "Congestion Task Group", about which we had heard nothing for months. The group has now met for the first time. I'm not sure what it's going to deliver, but it sounds like a good idea. I have been warning for two years that there is now zero spare traffic capacity in the city as a result of numerous road and lane closures over recent years; this means that whenever there's a blockage somewhere in the centre, total gridlock results for many hours. The re-opening of Prince St Bridge to cars outbound from the Centre (soon) will help this. We will see if the group comes up with further measures to prevent congestion. More: http://tinyurl.com/y7ajxp6s _________________ 8. Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge re-opens After a long restoration, Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge is open again to cyclists and pedestrians. The bridge is grade 2 listed and the restoration cost £3.8m. _________________ 9. Harbour powerboat racing update I have been informed that the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has said it is not minded to approve power-boat racing in the harbour at this time (2017). The RYA is the regulatory body for harbours in the UK. The Council is investigating the possibility of 2018, but I hope the RYA will stick with their original - and correct - decision on this. People familiar with the RYA suggest it wouldn't normally change its opinion unless there is a material change of circumstance. _________________ 10. Friends of Harbourside Reed Bed The Friends of Harbourside Reed Bed (FrOHB) are a small group of local Harbourside volunteers and residents who regularly pick litter from the reed bed opposite the ss Great Britain and clear overgrown vegetation. FrOHB have recently launched a Crowdfunding project called "Restore Bristol Harbourside Reed Bed". Funds raised will pay for repairs, replanting and restoring the reed bed to its former glory. However, the project will only be funded if at least £6,000 is pledged by 9:00am on Thursday 29th June. If you would like to find out more about this local conservation project or, more importantly, are prepared to pledge a donation then please visit: http://tinyurl.com/yddygs5j _________________ 11. Friends of the Avon New Cut walk The next FrANC event this year will be a Botanical Walk along the New Cut that will be held on Sunday 25th June. Meet at Gaol Ferry Bridge (Coronation Road side) at 10:00am. This walk will last approximately 1.5 hours and a small donation of £2 per person will be requested as a contribution to FrANC funds. There is no need to book formally, but if you would like to take part it would be helpful if you could email firstname.lastname@example.org so that they have a rough idea of how many people to expect. _________________ 12. The world's first 'treehouse crane' opens in Bristol! You may have noticed that one of the harbour cranes has had something built around it recently. It has become a temporary hotel! More here: http://tinyurl.com/y9oeptk6 _________________ 13. Cumberland Road Metrobus Bus shelter People have contacted me regarding this bus shelter, which is oddly placed in the pavement. The cycle path runs directly in front of it, and occasionally anti-social cyclists zoom past the front of the shelter as people are leaving or entering it - causing a collision risk. I contacted the Metrobus people, and they have agreed to put some "Cyclist SLOW" markings on the cycle route; and to consider putting some 'rumble strips' along the path in front of the shelter. _________________ 14. Trash problems The combination of good weather and cuts to waste collection budgets has created a dismal mess in many of our favourite and most beautiful city-centre spots. I have complained to the Council about this numerous times (to little effect). You can report overflowing bins online here: http://tinyurl.com/yauwrtyu _________________