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: https://tinyurl.com/y4jnj628 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: www.bristolnpn.net/current-topics/cumberland-basin-western-harbour _________________ 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: https://tinyurl.com/yxphv5hz _________________ 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: https://tinyurl.com/yydhn8pq _________________ 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: www.bristolgreendoors.org/events _________________ 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. _________________