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! https://tinyurl.com/y93oa6mt _________________ 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 consents * 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: http://cleanupbristolharbour.weebly.com _________________ 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. _________________