Feb 2018 - Cabot eNews
February's edition of Cabot eNews.
In this edition: _________________ 1. Council Budget 2018 2. RPZ reviews - final results! 3. Review of Bristol's 20mph zones 4. Council gets grant for cleaner buses 5. Chocolate Path update 6. Major Planning consultations 7. Update St Marys Hospital plans 8. Bristol's public toilets now closed 9. Tougher HMO licensing 10. Electric vehicle chargepoint network 11. No paint for old Bathurst Basin bridge 12. Great Bristol Spring Clean 2018 13. Childcare consultation 14. National LGBT Fostering and Adoption Week 15. Volunteer for the SS Great Britain 16. A better name for the 'Harbour Inlet'? 17. Council confusion over coach parking 18. Clifton and Harbourside Neighbourhood Forum 19. Local exhibitions _________________ 1. Council Budget 2018 This week the Council voted on the budget for the coming year, including a 5% increase in Council tax. The Council has to make heavy £34million cuts due to a punitive and unfair grant cut from the Conservative government. However, the Labour Mayor Marvin Rees still has substantial choice in where and how he decides to wield the axe. This year the Lib Dem group spotted that the Mayor is proposing to borrow a whopping £50million to create a new strategic contingency fund for his future capital projects. This contradicts DCLG advice, it is poor economics and the wrong choice for this city at this time of painful cuts. To achieve this unneeded contingency, about £2.5 million extra will be cut from front-line services, and must be paid off every year for the next 50 years - i.e. the Mayor is cutting deeper than he needs to now, in order to give himself more financial freedom in years ahead (nearer elections?). Therefore the Lib Dems proposed to delete this new capital contingency and re-invest the £2.5m saved back into saving libraries, parks, home adaptations for the disabled, and new schools where new housing is being built. Both the Green Party and the Conservatives supported our amendment, but the Mayor instructed the majority Labour group to vote it down. The Mayor repeatedly calls on the other parties to "stop attacking me and be constructive instead", but I have to say that when we do this, the Mayor rejects the proposals anyway. The simple fact is that this year, the Council is cutting deeper than it needs to because the Labour Mayor has chosen to do so. https://tinyurl.com/y87elz3g _________________ 2. RPZ reviews - final results! At long last, the Council has published its review proposals following the RPZ consultations in summer last year. Readers will hopefully remember that, on examination of the feedback, I advised the Council that the optimal proposal based on public response was to leave the Cliftonwood & Hotwells (CH) RPZ unchanged, and to bring the Spike Island (SI) RPZ into line with the CH one. This would mean the SI scheme changing from 9-5 Mon-Fri, to 9-7 Mon-Sat. Informally the Council said in December it agreed with me, but until the Council published the statutory consultation a few days ago it wasn't for sure. The statutory consultation is the last step of the proposed change, and you can look at the detail and response here if you want: www.bristol.gov.uk/trafficorders _________________ 3. Review of Bristol's 20mph zones A review of 20mph speed limits in Bristol is set to be carried out this Spring to look at the effectiveness of the lower limits in each area. The review will involve consulting with local residents and councillors to look at how well 20mph is working in each area and assess whether there is anything that can be done better. It is to be carried out in a similar way to the recent Residents' Parking Zone reviews...though I hope very much that it won't take as long as that did! I'll provide more details when I get them, but I'll say now that I am a strong supporter of the 20mph zones, most of which were brought when the Lib Dems ran the council. According to an in-depth analytical study of Bristol's 20mph project, bringing in a blanket 20mph limit across Bristol has cut the speed of traffic, saved lives and should be used as an example for other places in the country. More: https://tinyurl.com/yalecwff _________________ 4. Council gets grant for cleaner buses Bus services across greater Bristol will benefit from £2.2 million grant that will cut emissions and help to improve air quality in the region. The good news means that 12 routes across the region will benefit from the funding, which was awarded for a successful joint bid by the local councils. More: https://tinyurl.com/yahj2aq3 _________________ 5. Chocolate Path update The Council has allocated a whopping £5m to the Chocolate Path over the next few years for potential repairs. The busy path is currently closed due to subsidence. This is a huge sum, and I have queried with the Council what it is likely to be used for. The funding is currently estimated at £1m to deliver immediate repairs with a further £4m to undertake the maintenance required to stop the further wholesale failure of the path. There is a report being undertaken - funded by West of England - to determine the underlying cause of the subsidence and more detailed assessment of the remediation works required. Until the report is completed and reviewed in March, the estimate could potentially vary substantially. https://tinyurl.com/ybdkhfcv _________________ 6. Major Planning consultations The Council is reviewing and updating its core planning document, called the "Local Plan". This is a major consultation and will run until 13th April. Some of the revisions are aimed at managing the continuing growth of student accommodation - both purpose-built blocks and also conversions of family housing (HMOs). This is well worth looking at to see if it goes far enough. You can see details online here: www.bristol.gov.uk/localplanreview Related to this, the Council is replacing its "Tall buildings policy" with an "Urban Living policy". The key issue in this change is - in line with the Major's desires - the expansion of high-rise building permitted areas to include Redcliffe, Bedminster, and "Western Harbour", which is the new name for Cumberland Basin area. You can see details of this online, here: https://tinyurl.com/yc6g8r99 _________________ 7. Update St Mary's Hospital plans Final plans have been submitted for redevelopment of the hospital. These plans are a substantial improvement over the previous set of plans. The previous plans intended to demolish the building of merit and local landmark, the St Mary's Hospital; these current plans aim to keep the building and enhance it as an asset for the city, and that is very welcome. These latest plans follow in the footsteps of the previous-but-one set of plans, and are generally slightly better than them. However they suffer from the same key detrimental issue, which is a proposed new building extremely near to Byron Place/Upper Berkeley Place. Because of this, I have objected to the plans, and I hope the developer will revise them. _________________ 8. Bristol's public toilets now closed Following the Council's Cabinet decision in December 2017, 18 public toilets are now closed. The toilet provision will be replaced by a Community Toilet scheme, which will allow people to access the facilities of businesses and organisations across the city. So far, a range of local businesses and organisations have signed up to the scheme, and its promotion is ongoing. If you are aware of any businesses or organisations that would be interested in joining the Community Toilet Scheme, please email email@example.com or direct them to https://tinyurl.com/yao5j56z A list of all Community Toilet Scheme and public toilets is available at http://bit.ly/bristolpublictoilets _________________ 9. Tougher HMO licensing The Council is consulting on proposals to introduce additional licensing requirements to 12 wards in central Bristol, including H&H ward, to try and improve housing standards in the city. The proposed additional licensing scheme will apply to houses in multiple occupation (HMO) - houses or flats that are let to three or more people who aren't related and who share or lack some facilities, like kitchens or bathrooms. I think this is a good idea, because HMOs in central Bristol - often student accommodation - are sometimes poorly managed and maintained. The consultation last another 12 weeks and is available online here: www.bristol.gov.uk/licensingscheme _________________ 10. Electric vehicle charge-point network A major public market research exercise has been launched by Bristol City Council to help inform the future development of the city's electric vehicle charge-point network. The organisations conducting the research on behalf of the council want to hear views from any potential users of electric vehicles to help inform how our region's electric charge-point network should be supported going forward. Completing the survey should take no more than ten minutes and those responding will be entered into a prize draw for a chance to win a £100 Amazon shopping voucher. The survey can be found at: https://tinyurl.com/yc8vww4x _________________ 11. No paint for old Bathurst Basin bridge Now that the nice new Bathurst Basin bridge is finished and open, the grubby state of the old bridge is highlighted, with its graffiti and tired look, especially compared to the nicely re-painted Prince St bridge. I have complained to the Council about this, but the Council says there are still no plans to re-paint it. What with this and the state of the Cumberland Rd railings east of Baltic Wharf, sections of Metrobus will soon open already looking tired, which is a shame. _________________ 12. Great Bristol Spring Clean 2018 Bristol Waste Company and the Council will be supporting groups to take part in the Great Bristol Spring Clean; part of a national weekend of litter picks organised by Keep Britain Tidy. So many groups wanted to take part last year that they are extending the event locally to cover the whole week, from Friday 2 March - Sunday 11 March. Bristol Waste Company have hundreds of litter picking kits to loan out, so if you are interested in organising a litter pick or would like to join a local group then get in touch by calling 0117 304 9022, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . More information is available on www.bristolwastecompany.co.uk/springclean18 _________________ 13. Childcare consultation There is a Council consultation on the future for Bristol's Childcare Development and Sustainability Service. This is a service to improve access to good childcare in Bristol. You can do this online here: https://tinyurl.com/y7wj4ou3 _________________ 14. National LGBT Fostering and Adoption Week The Council is holding an information session at the Watershed on Wednesday 7th March 6pm-8pm for anyone from the LGBT community in Bristol and surrounding areas who are interested in fostering or adopting. This event is free. Details on how to register here: https://tinyurl.com/y82c39d8 _________________ 15. Volunteer for the SS Great Britain You can join the team of committed, enthusiastic volunteers at Brunel's SS Great Britain at a special time. Excitement is mounting at the SS Great Britain as they count down to the opening of the new Being Brunel museum in March 2018. The museum will explore the personality, achievements, and legacy of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. They are now looking for new volunteers to join the team. You would be joining their popular, well-established volunteering programme based on board the SS Great Britain and in the new museum. No prior knowledge necessary. Anyone who is interested in volunteering is invited to attend a taster session on Saturday 3rd March, 11am-1pm. The taster session will include a welcome and introduction from the volunteering team, a volunteer led tour of the site and refreshments. If you're interested please get in touch through completing their online enquiry form www.ssgreatbritain.org/volunteer-enquiry-form . You can also call 0117 926 0680 or email email@example.com for more information. _________________ 16. A better name for the 'Harbour Inlet'? As the last bits of Harbourside finally get developed and made into attractive public spaces, attention has turned to the nice new marina at the end of Millennium Promenade, which currently goes by the very unimaginative name of the 'Harbour Inlet'. Officially this area is just a part of Porto Quay, and it is believed that the name 'Harbour Inlet' just stuck from early use on planning diagrams. Suggestions so far for a more relevant and historic name include: Brunel / Canons / Porto / Hannover / Brandon / Cabot / Millennium / Lime Kiln / Gas, either marina, or wharf. Do you have any other suggestions? If so, let me know! _________________ 17. Council confusion over coach parking The old coach parking on Cumberland Road was moved to a much better facility in St Philips. However, after resurfacing, it appears that coach parking has been put back in on Cumberland Rd. The Council appears confused as to what this will be used for now, and most drivers will prefer the new facility at St Philips. _________________ 18. Clifton and Harbourside Neighbourhood Forum After the abolition of Neighbourhood Partnerships by the Mayor, local councillors and community groups are trying to salvage some structures from the wreckage. There will be a meeting of the fledgeling Clifton and Harbourside Neighbourhood Forum at Clifton High School main hall at 7pm on 30 April. _________________ 19. Local exhibitions Spike Island Iman Issa: Material for 2018 * Iman Issa (b. 1979, Cairo, Egypt, now lives and works in Berlin) makes work exploring the relationships between history, language, objects, and collective and individual memory. Until 15 April. Test Space Exhibition: d/UMP * Artists Annabelle Craven-Jones and Anja Borowicz present d/UMP, an open-ended investigation into how diagrammatic tools can be applied to thinking practices within art making. Until 4 March. _________________