Jan 2018 - Cabot eNews

January's edition of Cabot eNews.

In this edition:

1. 2018 Council Budget
2. Bristol Arena thrown into doubt again
3. Major Broadmead redevelopment granted permission
4. Mayor starts to listen on libraries
5. Metrobus...
6. Mayor still believes in new underground tube system
7. Key waterfront site marketed by Council
8. Mayor promotes Cumberland Basin redevelopment
9. McArthur's Yard redevelopment to go ahead
10. Mayor fires all non-Labour members of Cabinet
11. Harbour Festival 2018
12. Chocolate Path closure
13. Jacobs Wells Road Baths to be a pool again!
14. Parks consultation still open
15. Be a school governor
16. Dates for New Cut riverbank clean-ups in 2018
17. Help the Friends of Brandon Hill!
18. Local exhibitions

1. 2018 Council Budget

Following a six week city-wide consultation, the draft Corporate Strategy
2018-2023 has been published containing the council's vision, commitments,
principles and values for the next five years. The draft plan has been
produced as the council sets out a proposed budget that makes savings
of £108m required by April 2023. The 2018-2019 budget section of the
plan will be debated and voted on at the Full Council meeting on Tuesday
20 February 2018. A full report on the consultation is available now
at https://tinyurl.com/yd4hb7h2

2. Bristol Arena thrown into doubt again

The Mayor has confirmed the rumours and announced that he is actively
considering a site in Filton instead of behind Temple Meads for the new
Bristol Arena. This means that the building of the Arena is now several
years further down the road, if at all.

I am opposed to the arena being built out on the fringes of north Bristol,
for exactly the same reason as I am opposed to big new shopping centres
being built out on the fringes of north Bristol. The suggested Filton
site is effectively an "out of town site". Of course building there
will be cheaper and easier - that is exactly the same reason that drew
business to create Cribs Causeway as an out of town site. But having
the facility there will inevitably leads to less public transport use,
more car journeys, and it will also likely pull hospitality businesses
and jobs out of central Bristol towards the northern fringe - away from
where they are needed most in south and east Bristol.

In addition, there has been some worrying media coverage of financial
conflicts of interest among the landowners of the Filton site and those
who were actively promoting it in the Council; some of who used to work
in the Council's economic development department and now work for the
landowner: https://tinyurl.com/yae87zb3

3. Major Broadmead redevelopment granted permission

Planning permission was granted this month for a major upgrade to
Broadmead shopping area. I voted in favour of the plans, which were
returning to Planning Committee after the meeting in September passed my
proposal to defer the plans until the developer substantially reduced
the size of the proposed new car park. Originally set at 1,000 places,
the September plans included 580 new spaces, which I felt was still too
much. The final plans included 380 places, which was just 290 new ones
after including places that will be lost elsewhere in the redevelopment.

Broadmead urgently needs to be revamped as it is in a big fight with a
proposed huge new expansion of Cribbs Causeway, which already has over
7,000 free spaces in car parks!

4. Mayor starts to listen on libraries

After facing 6 months of fierce campaigns to save most of the city's
libraries from his closure proposals, the Mayor has decided to re-evaluate
possible options for running the library service for less money. The
Council has invited library campaigners to workshops about future
management options, where 5 options will be discussed, including the
"mutualised" option we Lib Dems have been promoting. While it is a shame
we have wasted 6 months battling with the Mayor on this, I welcome his
temporary pause, and hope that he will genuinely listen to the results
of the workshops.

5. Metrobus...

While it's quite clear that the physical infrastructure is nearly all
done now, there is still no sign of the buses. The new stop on Cumberland
Road, opposite the Baltic Wharf shop, is one of the last remaining items
being built right now. However, in a memo I have seen, the Council says
"The first route is due to run in late spring". Late spring, to me,
suggests May. We will see. The major hold-up is still the ticket-machines,
it seems.

6. Mayor still believes in new underground tube system

The Mayor has been hitting back against near universal ridicule of his
idea to build an underground tube system in Bristol - he is to spend
£50k on a feasibility study: https://tinyurl.com/y7ja8t2s

The cost of the system is already estimated at £4.5 billion, and
the Government absolutely will not fund it, so the Mayor says private
business will pay to build it and run it. In order to be viable, private
business needs to make 5% of the cost of any investment per year. So
in Bristol's case, the tube would have to make ~£200million *profit*
per year to finance its build costs. Most of the world's underground
systems (including London) run at a loss, and I'm not aware of any
in the world that run a profit big enough to recoup their build cost
(maybe Hong Kong's comes closest).

Quite apart from this, there is zero chance it can be built in 10 years
as the Mayor suggests, when the £120million Metrobus has taken 15 years
to get to the place it is now. It would take more like 20 years minimum
to plan and build (Crossrail in London will have taken 30 years), by
which time underground tube systems will have been made obsolete by
computer-driven electric pod-cars anyway. I think the whole idea is
fanciful, and spending £50k on a study when that money could save a
small library from cuts is irresponsible. The Mayor seriously needs a
dose of reality on this.

7. Key waterfront site marketed by Council

The Council has started marketing the most important remaining harbourside
site - the bit of land between the old Bordeaux Quay and the Lloyds HQ. I
will be keeping a close on on how this progresses. Anything developed
on this iconic site will have to be something that benefits Bristol and
the community, not just developers, and not just delivering a wad of
cash to the Council to blow on other issues. https://tinyurl.com/y6va26d3

8. Mayor promotes Cumberland Basin redevelopment

While the Mayor will not yet give us details of what he plans for the
Cumberland Basin in his new vision for the area, he has been out in
China and the Far East touting the potential of the area. It would be
nice if he told local residents of the area about his vision before he
told Chinese businessmen. Media reports: https://tinyurl.com/ydy4upm8

9. McArthur's Yard redevelopment to go ahead

The derelict building of McArthur's Yard is to be redeveloped, having
got planning permission at the end of last year. It is one of the last
derelict buildings on Spike Island. More: https://tinyurl.com/y9n9p8tx

10. Mayor fires all non-Labour members of Cabinet

At the end of 2017, the Mayor has fired all the remaining non-Labour
Party members of his cabinet, accusing them of not being supportive
enough of him. He fired the Lib Dem member at the start of 2017, using
the same rationale. More: https://tinyurl.com/y79pgeu2

11. Harbour Festival 2018

The Council wants to work with local individuals, groups and organisations
across the city to create an engaging and inclusive programme for
the 2018 Harbour festival. Anybody wanting to get involved will need
to express their interest by Wed 31st January, which can be done via
www.bristolharbourfestival.co.uk/info/get-involved . Once received, all
applications will be categorised and shared with the relevant festival
curators to create the festival programme. I'm very pleased that the
Council is making this open appeal this year, so do respond if you've
got something to contribute.

12. Chocolate Path closure

Just as it seemed that everything along Cumberland Road might be
finally getting finished, the Council has closed the Chocolate Path
due to subsidence issues. There have been subsidence problems for many
years along it, though it is possible that recent Metrobus works haven't
helped. The Council's official statement is that the safety of residents
means it needs to stay closed, but they will work to get this open
at the nearest possible opportunity. They have commissioned a report
to determine the nature of subsidence and failure of this section of
the Chocolate Path. When this work is completed, a clear prognosis and
remedial programme established, and funding identified they will be able
to update further, including more exact timeline. My guess is that it will
be shut for several months at least. More: https://tinyurl.com/y8p2mnxn

13. Jacobs Wells Road Baths to be a pool again!

As reported in November, a surprise positive outcome led to a company -
Fusion - proposing to refurbish the Jacobs Wells Road Baths and run them
as a swimming pool again. The Cabinet in December granted approval for
this, with the following provisional timeline:
* By March 2018: Lease completion and hand-over to Fusion
* Essential repairs to be undertaken within 6 months of grant of relevant
* Full operational improvements and refurbishment to be commenced within
3 months of relevant consents with target of 4 years fully operational
from grant of lease.

14. Parks consultation still open

Having backed away from cutting the entire Parks budget, the Mayor is
now cutting "only" 2/3rds of the budget. The consultation on this is
online until 29 January: www.bristol.gov.uk/parksconsultation

The Bristol Parks Forum are an independent group of park volunteers,
and they have put up some analysis of the plans at their own website
here www.bristolparksforum.org.uk

15. Be a school governor

Have you ever thought about being on the governors board of a local
school? The city is hundreds of governors short, and the Council is
looking for more. More info here: www.bristol.gov.uk/BeAGovernor

16. Dates for New Cut riverbank clean-ups in 2018

The following dates have been set for New Cut riverbank clean-ups
during the early months of the year - all Saturdays: 13th Jan, 17th Feb,
10th Mar, 14th Apr. Further details about each clean-up, including the
stretch of New Cut riverbank to be tackled, will be posted on the News &
Events/Latest News page of the FrANC website: www.franc.org.uk

A reminder that there are Harbourside clean-ups once per month as well;
more info:

17. Help the Friends of Brandon Hill!

The Friends of Brandon Hill are looking for new volunteers to join their
regular Tuesday morning gardening group. They meet outside the depot,
below Cabot Tower, at 10am, and work for 2 hours alongside the ParkWork
team. All equipment is provided. If you are interested, just turn up
and introduce yourself to Joe McKenna who runs ParkWork.

18. Local exhibitions

Spike Island
* Iman Issa: "Material for 2018". 17 Feb to 15 Apr. They look forward
to presenting the largest UK exhibition to date by Iman Issa. Working
across sculpture, text, video, photography and sound, Issa questions the
possibility of addressing the collective through individual experience.