Jul 2017 - Cabot eNews
July's edition of Cabot eNews.
In this edition: _________________ 1. Important consultations on future Council service 2. Protest Library closures 3. Protest Parks cuts 4. Consultation on Council Tax Support Scheme 5. Consultation on traffic changes to Hotwell/Anchor Roads 6. Consultation on Hours/Days of Spike Island RPZ operation 7. Cumberland Road changes... 8. Community bid for Avonquay House loses out 9. Bristol Quality of Life survey 2017 10. Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District 11. First Bus will operate MetroBus route 12. Prince Street Bridge reopens! 13. Harbour Festival - 21-23 July 14. Bristol Ferry Company reaches 40 15. Clean Streets Campaign 16. Hotwells Subway still closed 17. Community support for over 50s 18. Local gallery exhibitions _________________ 1. Important consultations on future Council service Having decided at Budget Council to heavily cut some service areas, the Mayor wants ideas on how to do this. The Council is therefore asking for your views on a group of five consultations on proposals that impact on neighbourhoods and local services you may use regularly. They are: * Library closures * Public Toilet closures * Ending School Crossing Patrols * Withdrawal of all funding for Neighbourhood Partnerships * Changes to Bristol Community Links These surveys all run for 12 weeks, ending Tuesday 5th September. There are what the Council calls "options" for how cuts/savings could be delivered. However, in my opinion, too often these are just a single option with very *minor* finishing touches applied as differences. This is a huge missed opportunity, and is especially the case with the library closures. The consultation doesn't even consider some other options that have been tried in other councils – in particular the option that we Lib Dems want to look at: instead of closing most of the libraries, of mutualising the whole library service away from the Council and running it with substantial volunteer effort. When filling out your consultation, if none of the options are any good for you, then feel free to use the text box to say "None of the above!" and then write in your option for saving the money. The consultations are here: http://tinyurl.com/y9mmysjq There is a map to help (but seems bit awkward to use): http://tinyurl.com/y9u4ojy8 These proposals will be the biggest change in Council services in a generation, so please do spend a bit of time putting your view in. _________________ 2. Protest Library closures There is a petition, which I am supporting, against the Mayor's proposal to close 17 of 27 of Bristol's libraries: http://epetitions.bristol.gov.uk/epetition_core/view/SaveLibraries _________________ 3. Protest Parks cuts There is a petition, which I am supporting, against the Mayor's proposal to totally de-fund all of Bristol's parks: http://epetitions.bristol.gov.uk/epetition_core/community/petition/3842 _________________ 4. Consultation on Council Tax Support Scheme The Council is also consulting on changes to the Council Tax Support Scheme, which helps people who cannot afford to pay Council Tax. All the proposed options involve some level of cuts of help. Although the scheme costs a lot of money (£38m) it helps the poorest people in the city; and while I accept that the Council is broke and needs money to save services, it cannot be right to save those services by clobbering the very poorest in the city - who most often are the very people using the services anyway! The options don't compare with each other very well, which makes it hard to decide between them. As far as I can tell, option 2 continues to provide the most help to the most people for the longest time. Closes 24 Sep. More here: http://tinyurl.com/ybe4qh3k Media report: http://tinyurl.com/ycrp9hqb _________________ 5. Consultation on traffic changes to Hotwell/Anchor Roads The Transport Department is proposing a number of improvements to Hotwell/Anchor Road as part of Better Bus Area Fund Project. The proposals aim to make bus travel easier and more attractive by improving journey times and reliability, whilst improving safety and the environment for all road users. Consultation closes 28 July. More here: http://tinyurl.com/ybd3azqe _________________ 6. Consultation on Hours/Days of Spike Island RPZ operation As I notified some time ago, the Council is doing one last informal consultation on options for changing the hours and days of operation of the Spike Island RPZ. Residents and businesses based in the RPZ will be written to imminently. Please do respond to it if you have opinions on it. _________________ 7. Cumberland Road changes... 1) Roadworks imminent With unhelpful timing, in late June Bristol City Council will start work to improve the city's ducting and fibre communications network. The work will take place from Underfall Yard through to Wapping Wharf. Work will involve digging a trench through Cumberland Road, mostly in the west-bound carriageway, mostly in parking areas. There may be some traffic signals on some sections whilst the work is taking place for short periods of time. 2) Statutory consultation on parking changes (not the RPZ!) As I noted way back in December's eNews, parking alongside the new bus-lane needed to be processed quickly in order for the Metrobus works to not be held up by the RPZ review - some small-ish changes to the originally proposed RPZ arrangements around the Gas Ferry Road area will result in the loss of 2-3 parking spaces, and to make up for this they will convert 18 Pay & Display parking spaces into mixed resident permit and P&D spaces. The TRO consultation runs from Tuesday 25th July to Wednesday 16th August. The consultation will be visible on this web-page after 25th July: http://tinyurl.com/yc8zaqyk _________________ 8. Community bid for Avonquay House loses out Two local community organisations have spent the last year working up a bid for Community Asset Transfer (CAT) of the Avonquay House building from the Council. (This is the brick building visible just next to the lock gates opposite the Pump-house pub). Hotwells and Cliftonwood Community Association (HCCA) and the Avon Quay Creative Hub Steering Group have put in huge effort working up a viable plan for the building, and I wrote to the Council giving my wholehearted support for their application. At the very last minute, and without any warning to the parties concerned, the Council terminated the CAT process and handed a commercial let on the property to an organisation that HCCA had previously invited into the CAT bid and had the business plan shared with. It goes without saying that the HCCA, the Steering Group, and myself, are all very upset at what has happened here. It isn't clear to me, yet, that the Council hasn't acted outside of the CAT procedure in what has happened. The HCCA have lodged a formal complaint to the Mayor and Chief Executive on the grounds of maladministration and breach of understanding, and have been informed that a senior strategic officer is now investigating the complaint... _________________ 9. Bristol Quality of Life survey 2017 Bristol's annual Quality of Life survey is up and running and open to residents to take part. The survey consists of 65 questions that cover topics such as neighbourhood safety, health, community and local services and aims to take a snapshot of people's lifestyles and how they feel about living in Bristol. This year, for the first time, all members of the public aged over 16 are invited to take part online. The closing date is 13 August. The online survey can be found at www.bristol.gov.uk/quality _________________ 10. Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District The businesses in the city centre have voted in favour of forming Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID). This is great news! It means they will now pay a small amount extra on their rates, which will be spent to improve the area. The BID will invest £6m to do this over its 5 year initial term. More here: www.bristolcitycentrebid.co.uk _________________ 11. First Bus will operate MetroBus route The West of England councils have confirmed that the first operator to start running part of the MetroBus service is First Bus. First will run the MetroBus route from Ashton Vale to Temple Meads and Bristol city centre as soon as it is completed - expected to be in the Autumn. First have already ordered the guided buses they will use on the route. More: http://tinyurl.com/yapkbs8p I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, First obviously have excellent experience in Bristol and we know they can deliver. However, their appointment means that Metrobus will not be in competition with the rest of the bus network, and that means First may avoid actions on Metrobus that would harm its other services... _________________ 12. Prince Street Bridge reopens! The day we thought might never arrive, has finally arrived: the bridge is open! Vehicles can only travel southwards out of the city centre on the bridge now. The delays and cost over-runs will be examined at the Council's "Place" scrutiny committee (which I sit on) on Monday, 24th July, 6.30pm. Ironically, this scrutiny meeting is also 6 months late... Meeting papers here: http://tinyurl.com/yb7tbdny _________________ 13. Harbour Festival - 21-23 July A reminder that the Harbour Festival is on 21-23 July. The very best of Bristol, and a little bit of the worst of Bristol, will be out on display all weekend. There will be ships, acts, fairs, music, food, drink, and fun! If the weather is fine, you can also expect hundreds of thousands of people, absurd amounts of rubbish, and unfortunately a fair bit of drunken behaviour and noise... Please enjoy the weekend, and of course drink responsibly. More: www.bristolharbourfestival.co.uk _________________ 14. Bristol Ferry Company reaches 40 Bristol Ferry Company are celebrating their 40th birthday this summer! More info: http://tinyurl.com/yao88pd7 _________________ 15. Clean Streets Campaign The Mayor is running a clean streets campaign, which I very much support. I must admit that I haven't seen much improvement recently - in fact the fine weather has produced the most horrendous trash piles in popular spots - but anyway you can find out more info on what's happening and how to get involved here: http://tinyurl.com/y8su4ly3 _________________ 16. Hotwells Subway still closed One of the subways under the Cumberland Basin interchange (not far from Rose of Denmark) has been closed for 6 months now, following extensive damage from an arson attack. The Council originally told me it would re-open this summer, but it now seems it has been de-prioritised, and will be open next summer at the earliest. The closed subway is very unsightly and is attracting the usual anti-social activities. As a result I am investigating whether there is any other source of cash to do the repairs earlier than next summer. _________________ 17. Community support for over 50s Are you interested in seeing a greater number of community activities for over 50s in Hotwells & Harbourside? If you have a skill you'd like to share with others, an idea for a group, time to offer, or would simply like information on activities, social events, and fitness groups in the local area, please get in touch with David Fakray, Community Development Worker (Hotwells & Redcliffe) at Bristol Charities. Call 07584 278937 (leave a voice message or text with your details) or email email@example.com _________________ 18. Local gallery exhibitions Spike Island: * Maeve Brennan - "The Drift"; until 17 September. Spike Island presents a major new film commission by London and Beirut based artist Maeve Brennan. * Tessa Lynch - "L-Shaped Room"; until 17 September. New works including sculpture and performance by Glasgow based artist Tessa Lynch. Architecture centre: * Garth England - "Murdered with Straight Lines"; until 10 September. Bristol buildings captured from a milkman's memory as drawings. _________________