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:

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

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

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.

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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

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.