Apr 2019 - Cabot eNews

April's edition of Cabot eNews.

In this edition:

1. European elections are ON!
2. Mayor's Cumberland Basin plans - Update
3. Government to end "no fault" evictions
4. Council increases Harbourside Pavilion hire-cost by 1,000% !!!
5. Confusion reins over Clean Air Zone plans
6. No Idling Zone update
7. Cumberland Road speeding update
8. Pedestrian Crossing at Jacob's Wells Road
9. Lib Dem mayoral candidate gives her case for abolishing the job
10. Bins left out on streets 24/7
11. Consultation on Green Space protections
12. Tracking road-safety concerns
13. Two lives saved by harbour cameras
14. Mayor rules out drug "safe rooms"
15. Homelessness strategy
16. Council approves HMO Licensing Scheme
17. Bristol Green Doors Event - 11-12th May
18. Dog poo mapper
19. Local exhibitions
20. Neighbourhood meetings

1. European elections are ON!

It was not expected that there would ever be European elections again in
the UK...but our utterly shambolic government's inability to get their
policy through, and Parliament's inability to decide what it wants,
means there *will* now be elections in late May. Polling stations will
be open open between 7am and 10pm on Thursday 23 May 2019, and you should
receive your polling cards soon.

There is still time to register to vote! The deadline for people to
register to vote is midnight on Tuesday 7 May, and you can register
online via www.gov.uk/register-to-vote . Alternatively, information is
available from Electoral Services: 0117 922 3400.

All parties have rushed to get candidates nominated for the
elections, and you can see the full list for the South West here:

Lib Dem leader Vince Cable offered to the other "Pro EU" parties
(Green Party and Change UK) to fight on a unified list, which would
have maximised the number of pro EU MEPs. Sadly the other two refused,
and so the "Second Referendum" vote will be split 3 ways - quite likely
meaning many votes will be wasted because it requires a certain amount
of votes to get an MEP elected even in this proportional election. It
goes without saying that in this scenario I urge pro-EU voters to vote
Lib Dem in this election!

2. Mayor's Cumberland Basin plans - Update

The Cumberland Basin Stakeholder Group, again finding it impossible to
get any response from the Mayor of Council on some specific questions,
resorted to tabling questions directly at Council meetings asking the
Mayor why residents should believe him when he says he will engage
with the community. The Mayor was apologetic, insisting that Council
engagement on the plans is coming and will be better. We are happy to
hear this...though it isn't the first time we have heard those words.

We now understand that community engagement will start near
the end of May. The final decision on which transport "option"
(over the river) will be chosen, based on Govt and other funding
and consultation, will be summer 2020. I remind you that there is
a running list of all the information we know stored at this page:

3. Government to end "no fault" evictions

In a very welcome surprise, the Conservative government has decided
that enough is enough for tenants being evicted for no reason by their
landlords. Tenants in the UK have less protection than in almost all other
European countries. During the Coalition government, the Lib Dems tried to
introduce laws like this - the then Bristol West MP, Stephen Williams was
local government minister at the time in 2014 and supported it; however
the measure was torpedoed by two obnoxious Conservative back-bench MPs
(one of who then went on to block laws on "up-skirting" and FGM). Now 5
years later the Conservatives have admitted they were wrong to do that -
a welcome U-turn, but during those 5 years many tenants were unfairly
evicted. More: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47927706

4. Council increases Harbourside Pavilion hire-cost by 1,000% !!!

In a piece of truly abominable behaviour, the Council secretly increased
the costs for community groups hiring our local Harbourside Pavilion by
TEN TIMES! Back through 2015-16 the harbourside community and I ran a
campaign to get the Pavilion back into use by community groups, which was
what it was originally built for. In summer 2016, newly elected Mayor
Rees did act and the Council agreed a very reasonable rate of 35 for
half-day community use.

But last month a local resident group was shocked to be clobbered with a
stonking bill of 360, and then be threatened with legal action if they
didn't pay up pronto. Someone inside the Council's Events Management
team has clearly lost the plot and decided that community groups should
be deliberately priced out of the venue. I have written to the Mayor,
and he has replied saying he wasn't aware of the increase and will try
to find a resolution to the issue. I will hold him to that!

5. Confusion reins over Clean Air Zone plans

After the Mayor's bust-up with the Government over him not submitting a
draft Clean Air Strategy to the government back in January, some details
have got out into the media. It seems there *will* be a zone, but it
won't affect cars. If true, we Lib Dems think this is a mistake, because
diesel cars account for about 1/3 of toxic emissions in the city. Our
policy is for a zone that affects all hydrocarbon powered vehicles,
combined with policies to help less wealthy people with diesel cars to
upgrade them. https://tinyurl.com/y2nhcl8u

The draft plan won't be submitted until September, apparently, and wont
come into effect until 2020 at earliest: https://tinyurl.com/y5uh7gcq

If you are interested in joining Hotwells and Cliftonwood Clean Air
Group please email: HotwellsCleanAir@gmail.com

6. No Idling Zone update

Back in December the Council unanimously passed my motion calling for
the Mayor to implement "No-idling Zones" in a handful of pilot areas. The
Mayor accepted this, and has since bragged about it to the government in
his defence of what he is doing regarding clean air. However, locally
there's no sign of any action so far. Working from the Transport and
Environment scrutiny committee that I sit on, I have been chasing up
the lack of action on this...

7. Cumberland Road speeding update

Readers of eNews will remember I have been tying to get a "vehicle
activated sign" for speeding along Cumberland Road, and the Council has
agreed it will do this, but not when. I have now been told that both the
site and the money has been identified, but no installation date. This
is pretty annoying, and I will keep you updated.

8. Pedestrian Crossing at Jacob's Wells Road

This much-delayed pedestrian crossing on Jacob's Wells Road has been
causing some anguish for local councillors and residents alike. I have
now been informed that work is likely to start in early June.

9. Lib Dem mayoral candidate gives her case for abolishing the job

The Lib Dem 2020 Mayoral candidate, Mary Page, has outlined why she will
be trying to get her own post abolished if she gets elected in 2020:

10. Bins left out on streets 24/7

One of the perpetual problems we face in central communities is
the "squalor" impression left by streets with large numbers of bins
permanently left on pavements. This is typically a problem in areas with
lots of "homes in multiple occupation" (HMOs) where landlords historically
didn't bother allocating space for the bins to be stored. Recently I've
been trying to get the Council to deal with the issue in Berkeley Square,
but was dismayed to find the Waste Department responding with the line
"There is plenty of room for pedestrians to pass". The Mayor has pledged
that the city will be "Measurably cleaner by 2020", and I have raised
a complaint that this response does not fit with his pledge...

Coincidentally, the Council says it has 1m to spend on improving bins
and graffiti: https://tinyurl.com/yyxkvw6n

11. Consultation on Green Space protections

The Council is continuing its review of the city's Local Plan and is
asking for people's views on its approach to protecting green spaces and
parks across the city, and also other local planning issues. Details
about consultation and how to provide feedback, and the draft Plan
document are available until 24 May at www.bristol.gov.uk/localplanreview

12. Tracking road-safety concerns

The Council has a website where residents can record spots on a map where
they feel there is a road-safety concern of some kind. Please do use it
- where hot-spots emerge they inform the process of getting road-safety
improvements: https://tinyurl.com/y747dm3r

13. Two lives saved by harbour cameras

Two people were saved from drowning thanks to thermal imaging cameras at
Bristol Harbourside, according to those running the pilot scheme. The
cameras have been installed at locations near bars and clubs in the
waterfront area. Sensors draw a virtual barrier line across the water's
edge and, if the line is breached, the Council's control centre is
notified. Operations staff can then check the cameras and alert Avon
Fire and Rescue. www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-47800751

This is great news and a good tool to help cut the number of drownings
in the harbour. I always point out that nearly all drownings in the
harbour are of intoxicated people. As the warm weather approaches it's
important that people and harbourside bars understand to take serious
care where drunk people and the quay-side meet.

14. Mayor rules out drug "safe rooms"

In last month's eNews I praised the national Labour party for their
proposal to consider "safe consumption rooms", which are buildings
that drug addicts can take their drugs with safe supervision. In other
countries these have been shown to cut deaths from overdoses, and way
back in 2006 I and a Labour councillor tried to get this tried in Bristol
(but the police squashed the idea). Disappointingly, Mayor Rees has
ditched the idea before it got going: https://tinyurl.com/y2aef3hk

15. Homelessness strategy

A consultation on Bristol's draft homeless strategy will run until Monday,
May 27th. The five year Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy includes
work to prevent and reduce homelessness and plans to continue to work in
partnership with a wide range of other organisations across the city. Take
part by visiting: www.bristol.gov.uk/homeless-strategy-consultation-2019

16. Council approves HMO Licensing Scheme

After a successful trial, a licensing scheme that aims to improve housing
standards and the management of privately rented houses in the city will
be extended across central Bristol, including Hotwells & Harbourside:

17. Bristol Green Doors Event - 11-12th May

The Bristol Green Doors weekend allows people to visit homes which
have been made more comfortable, cheaper to heat and kinder to the
environment. There is more info, including a map, here:

18. Dog poo mapper

Pooper Snooper is a free smartphone application and website that aims to
build public awareness and increase social pressure on dog fouling. More
information at https://poopersnooper.app

19. Local exhibitions

The Stradling Gallery
* Expressive Clay - until Saturday 11 May
The London Art Schools of the 1950s and 60s and their Legacy: Expressive
Clay explores the free and expressive use of clay in British studio
ceramics that emanated from the London art schools in the 1950s and 60s.
The Stradling Gallery on Park Row is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from
11am - 4pm during the exhibition. http://stradlingcollection.org/whats-on

20. Neighbourhood meetings

The next meeting of the Clifton and Harbourside Neighbourhood Forum is
Monday 24th June 7 - 8.30pm at Redland Library.