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):

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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

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.