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.

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:

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:

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

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:

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

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 communitytoilets@bristol.gov.uk or direct them to

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:

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:

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 hello@bristolwastecompany.co.uk . 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:

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:

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 volunteering@ssgreatbritain.org 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.