Jul 2018 - Cabot eNews
July's edition of Cabot eNews.
In this edition: _________________ 1. Arena decision delayed (again) 2. Mayor U-turns on library closures 3. Cumberland Basin redevelopment "Stakeholder Group" 4. Road issues 5. Speeding on Cumberland Rd 6. First Metrobus route opens! 7. Chocolate Path update 8. Travel disruption last weekend 9. 20mph Speed Limit review 10. Vehicle Dweller and Rough Sleeping consultation 11. Council to spend up to £5 million on renewing computer software 12. Labour Party partially defeated in "power grab" 13. Bristol Older People's Forum AGM 14. Food Waste Reduction Campaign 15. Licensing issues 16. Drone Flying over the Harbour 17. Increased risk from Measles in Bristol 18. Bristol receives government funding for the homeless 19. Local exhibitions _________________ 1. Arena decision delayed (again) The Mayor, Labour's Marvin Rees, has again delayed making a decision on where Bristol's arena will be built, if indeed it is now built at all. A recent Council scrutiny committee examined the details in depth over 3 days and in the end voted by 9 votes to 1 in favour of Temple Meads rather than Filton for the location of the Arena, even though it had a majority of the Mayor's Labour councillors on it. The committee also heavily criticised the Mayor's own report from the Council and the KPMG report that the Mayor is relying on, noting that KPMG were recently severely criticised by independent inspectors for failing to be independent in their analysis. https://tinyurl.com/ybz8zmkz In response, the Mayor attacked the committee for disagreeing with him and for "asking the wrong questions": https://tinyurl.com/yad4j7dh _________________ 2. Mayor U-turns on library closures The Mayor has performed a major and very welcome U-turn on his plan to close most of Bristol's libraries. Lib Dems and other parties have spent the last year working with campaigners to persuade the Mayor that alternative plans, including the Lib Dem proposal to "mutualise" the service, could keep all libraries open within the Mayor's desired budget: https://tinyurl.com/ycstzvzb For the moment, the stay of execution is only until 2020. I welcome the Mayor's U-turn, and I hope that over the next 2 years all parties can work together to make these alternate plans work: https://tinyurl.com/yb5qwyau _________________ 3. Cumberland Basin redevelopment "Stakeholder Group" Six members of the Stakeholder Group recently met with the Mayor's office staff regarding his redevelopment plans. The purpose of the meeting was: * To open a dialogue with the Mayor and the Council about their plans * To provide them with the opportunity to engage and enlist the involvement of the community, through the Stakeholder Group * To assist us in gathering information so that we might better inform the community about the thinking behind these plans and the plans themselves Sadly the Mayor was not available himself. The meeting was still a useful starting point in engaging with the Mayor's office. We have received a letter reply from the Mayor which you can read here: https://tinyurl.com/yaqxasre _________________ 4. Road issues Upcoming temporary closure: Great George Street (from Hill Street to Park Street) and Park Street (from Charlotte Street to St. Georges Road). It is anticipated to take place overnight on 10 occasions between the hours of 8pm and 6am the following day between 30th July and 11th September. The Order is required because of work requiring the use of a crane. There is a TRO in statutory consultation regarding certain turning manoeuvers around the Hotwells one-way system. These manoeuvers are already prohibited, but there was no supporting TRO meaning it wasn't possible to prosecute drivers for violating them. The Council is refurbishing traffic lights at the junction of Hotwells Road / Merchants Road. The scheme also involves some minor changes to provide enhanced pedestrian routes/facilities. A new crossing has been included near Charles Place, in line with a pedestrian desire line. There are also kerb realignments on Hotwells Road towards Christina Terrace to improve visibility of the traffic signals and pedestrians waiting to cross. _________________ 5. Speeding on Cumberland Rd I have spent some time conversing with the Council's Senior Road Safety Engineer about speeding on this road. The Council has been in contact with the police about enforcement along here, but the Police have been reluctant to do any enforcement while there have been roadworks in the area. I have made it clear the roadworks are now over and there is no excuse for not enforcing the limit along here. In addition I have repeatedly asked for a Speed Activated Sign, but the Council says it currently has none spare. I have also raised the point that, with the Chocolate Path closed for the foreseeable future, the road is now a cycle route and is dangerous for them with speeding vehicles. The Council has stated that "there are currently no plans for temporary calming for cyclists as a part of the Chocolate Path repair works and this is the first request we've had for such measures". If residents also want to write to the Council about this it might help; you can do this online here: https://tinyurl.com/y747dm3r _________________ 6. First Metrobus route opens! The city's first Metrobus route has started running. The M2 route, linking Emerson's Green and the city centre, via UWE Bristol, has been running since the start of summer. The Ashton Vale to Temple Meads route is still scheduled to open "in the Autumn". https://tinyurl.com/y7wbc5c4 _________________ 7. Chocolate Path update I asked the Transport Department about "rumours" that the path would be shut for 2 years, and they said they were not aware of such rumours and can confirm they are not working to such a timetable. Budget has been allocated for further investigatory work on an 80m stretch of bank/wall, which should be complete by spring/early summer 2019. Once these works are complete the Council will have a clearer idea of the problems in this location and the necessary works required to fix them. The conclusion of these investigatory works will be reported through the appropriate channels. _________________ 8. Travel disruption last weekend A number of residents have contact me about the severe travel disruption on 7th and 8th July. There was a confluence of St Paul's Carnival, Bristol's cycling Grand Prix, and no local trains running due to track maintenance. Some efforts were made by the Council to advertise all these (I saw them) but most residents do not routinely watch the Council's media channels, and more needs to be done to ensure people hear the relevant warnings. In addition, the continuing closures of central roads for events make life very difficult for residents. I continue to argue that many of these events would be better on The Downs... _________________ 9. 20mph Speed Limit review The purpose of this online Council consultation is to gather comments from residents on what is working and what may need localised adjustments in order to ensure that the speed limits in the city are working well. Residents will be able to leave feedback on 82 selected roads, and they can also comment on other roads that have not been included in the initial list. The consultation will run until Friday 31st August. www.bristol.gov.uk/20mphreview _________________ 10. Vehicle Dweller and Rough Sleeping consultation The Council has launched a consultation on two important new policies. They are asking for feedback on their approach to rough sleeping encampments and separately their approach to vehicle dwelling camps. * The Council's aim for rough sleeping is to get people off the street as quickly as possible, assess their needs and help provide the necessary support. You can find the consultation at www.bristol.gov.uk/roughsleeping * Their aim for vehicle dwelling is to ensure "a measured approach, demonstrating tolerance whilst also being willing to take action when needed". You can find the consultation at www.bristol.gov.uk/vehicledwelling These are both tough issues for the Council, who have to manage both the safety issues arising from these modes of living, at the same time as acting humanely towards those who have fallen on hard times - so I urge you to respond and put your input in. In addition, you may have noticed that there are a number of tents currently on College Green who are protesting about this issue. _________________ 11. Council to spend up to £5 million on renewing computer software The Council has announced that it will spend up to £5million on upgrading all computers to the latest Microsoft software. https://tinyurl.com/ycyku5fx I submitted a statement to the Cabinet heavily criticising this move. When I was responsible for BCC's IT portfolio between 2009-2011, I pushed forward hard in the "Open Source" direction. I tried to educate the Council to concepts like "Total cost of ownership" and "Vendor lock-in" - issues that end up trapping the Council into throwing huge amounts of cash out of the country to rich American companies, like it has just done. You can read my full statement here: www.cabot-liberals.org/Cabot/MS_Renewal_Open_source.pdf _________________ 12. Labour Party partially defeated in "power grab" In an unusual move, the Lib Dem, Conservative and Green Parties in Bristol produced a unified front to try to stop the Labour Party changing multiple Council rules that would have given themselves more paid jobs and made it harder to challenge the Mayor: https://tinyurl.com/ybyf9jcg In the end, impassioned speeches against the moves from across the chamber persuaded just enough Labour backbenchers to rebel so that two of the measures (stopping rotating the Lord Mayor among the parties, and raising the signature threshold for debating petitions) were defeated: https://tinyurl.com/yblykrel _________________ 13. Bristol Older People's Forum AGM This is on Thursday 12 July 2018, 10:30-12.30 at Broadmead Baptist Church, Union Street (next to Tesco Express), BS1 3HY. All welcome, free entry. You can find further details of their meetings on their website: https://bopf.org.uk/our-meetings _________________ 14. Food Waste Reduction Campaign You may have noticed that your bins have recently been covered with stickers or wrapped up in black and yellow "tape". This is part of a campaign to try to drive recycling rates back up. Sadly, recycling rates in Bristol have declined continuously in the 6 years since the Lib Dems lost control of the Council, and while we were the best major city in 2012 for recycling, we are now nothing special. So I welcome extra efforts to get back where we left the city. However, there has been criticism of the measures for generating extra un-recyclable waste and for being totally un-targetted. I hope the measures do have a measurable effect. _________________ 15. Licensing issues I objected to a new bar opening under #1 Berkeley Crescent, which would have been open until 3am every day. There is currently no bar there, and as this area is a "Cumulative Impact area" (i.e. it already has lots of bars) any new venue must bring a positive and different offer to the area or it should automatically be rejected. Also, The Cuban, on Harbourside, is to have its licence renewed. I welcome this - the venue has been a noise nuisance for many years and has been caught violating its licensing conditions on many occasions: https://tinyurl.com/ybyeddgf _________________ 16. Drone Flying over the Harbour Residents have noted to me the increasing occurrence of drones being flown over the harbour. Drone flying is *NOT ALLOWED* over the harbourside area, and if residents see people flying drones please feel free to point out the following: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has put in place specific rules that apply if you fly drones that weigh under 20kg recreationally. The full details of these can be found in Articles 94 and 95 of Air Navigation Order 2016, but the key points are as follows: * If the drone is capable of undertaking surveillance or collecting data - e.g. it has a camera - you must not fly the drone: #1 over or within 150 metres of any congested area - defined as any area of a city, town or settlement which is substantially used for residential, industrial, commercial or recreational purposes #2 within 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle, structure or person not under your control Clearly, both #1 and #2 apply to the whole harbourside and city-centre area, so flying camera-equipped drones is illegal in this area unless the operator has written permission from the CAA. More: https://tinyurl.com/y73yvdsx _________________ 17. Increased risk from Measles in Bristol Public Health England is joining forces with GPs to ask the residents of Bristol for their help to stop the spread of measles in the city. There have been 52 confirmed cases and 24 probable cases reported so far this year, which is an increase. Parents are urged to ensure that they ensure children get *all* the vaccinations offered by the NHS. For further information about measles, please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/measles _________________ 18. Bristol receives government funding for the homeless Bristol City Council has received £600,000 to improve support given rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness. Bristol is one of 83 areas that will share £30 million. Councils will be supported by the government's new Rough Sleeping Initiative Team consisting of experts from the sector with a track record of successfully helping rough sleepers and preventing those at risk from becoming homeless. _________________ 19. Local exhibitions Spike Island Studio: * Nina Beier - European Interiors; 21 July to 23 September. Danish artist Nina Beier works with an array of objects that carry particular social histories, from human hair wigs to mechanical rodeo bulls and cigars to luxury soap. * Harriet Bowman - All Round-er (sad sale); 21 July to 23 September. Harriet Bowman presents a series of new works based on an ongoing narrative about a fictional character called Fled who explores Bowman's own curiosities for cars, horsepower and the language of equestrian advertising. * Colin Higginson - Test Space; 21 July to 5 August. Colin Higginson's art practice incorporates sculpture, model making, photography, film, installation and performance. _________________