£38 million to find – where will the cuts fall.

£38 million to find – where will the cuts fall.

A comprehensive review of all spending by Bath and North East Somerset Council has been launched by the authority’s new Conservative administration.

Bath's Guildhall.

Bath’s Guildhall.

The review is taking place in response to the need for the Council to find an estimated £38 million worth of savings over the next four years as a result of continuing reductions to the amount of grant the Council receives from Government, as well as demographic pressures from an ageing population.

This figure of £38 million is even larger than the £32 million worth of savings the Council had to find in the previous four years, and is equivalent to around 16% of all the Council’s day-to-day spending, on top of the savings already achieved.

Conservatives have said that the aim of the spending review will be to maximise the level of efficiency savings that can be made within the Council and put the authority on a sound financial footing for the long-term. However, they have warned that the scale of the savings required will mean difficult decisions will have to be taken, and that it is inevitable that some services will have to be reduced.

Once complete, the review will form the basis of a four-year financial plan for the authority, due to be agreed by Councillors next February.

Councillor Charles Gerrish (Cons, Keynsham North), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance & Efficiency, said:

“The Council is going to have to find an even larger number of savings in the next four years than it did in the past four. Closing this £38 million gap will be a huge task and will mean some very tough choices have to be made about which services to prioritise.

Flowers blooming in Parade Gardens. How might it and other parks be affected by cut-backs.

Flowers blooming in Parade Gardens. How might it and other parks be affected by cut-backs.

“To put the scale of the challenge in context, £38 million is more than the entire amount the Council spends on Children’s Services each year.

“In order to meet this challenge, we have started work on a comprehensive review of all Council spending – building the Council’s budget from the ground up so that we can put B&NES on a sound financial footing.

“Our priority will be to squeeze out every last efficiency saving and find innovative ways of delivering services. We won’t take the easy option of simply taking the axe to vital services, but with such an unprecedented level of savings required some things the Council does will inevitably have to be cut back.”

The results of the spending review will inform the Cabinet’s budget proposals, to will be published early next year.

Virtual Museum note: The Virtual Museum of Bath declares an interest in heritage sites under the Council’s control. One wonders what plans they have for letting other people run things like the town’s parks, the Lawn in Queen Square and even the Victoria Art Gallery. Maybe the Guildhall itself will be off-loaded to a private concern? How will libraries be affected and how much more can they cut back on refuse collection and street cleaning – already two areas that could do with MORE investment.

East Park and Ride still on cards – but where?

East Park and Ride still on cards – but where?

The new Conservative administration on B&NES Council says it’s to move forward with plans to build a long-awaited new Park & Ride on the east of Bath.

At the first public meeting of the Council’s new Cabinet next Wednesday 8th park and rideJuly, the authority’s Conservative leadership will consider a report which outlines plans to launch a public consultation to find the best location for an East of Bath Park & Ride.

Details of the consultation process will be published once a final assessment of potential Park & Ride sites has been completed, with the consultation anticipated to be underway by the autumn. Conservatives have said they want the Park & Ride to have minimal visual impact and are keen to ensure that residents are given a full and proper say over where the new Park & Ride should be built, with the more than one option for a potential site put forward for consultation.

Delivering plans for the long-discussed new Park & Ride on the east of Bath was a key commitment by the Conservatives during May’s local elections, and forms part of a wider package of measures aimed at tackling Bath’s traffic problems.

Some of the other transport proposals put forward by the Council’s new administration include:

· Supporting plans for more frequent local rail services through the MetroWest rail project;
· Backing the re-opening Corsham train station and continuing to investigate options for a station in or around Saltford;
· Promoting the use of more sustainable transport options like cycling, walking, or using the bus;
· Seeking to improve traffic flows in the city and continuing to investigate the potential of further projects to reduce the amount of through-traffic on the east of the city.

Councillor Anthony Clarke (Cons, Lansdown), who is the B&NES Cabinet Member for Transport, said:

“Before the election we promised to bring forward plans to deliver Bath’s long-awaited fourth Park & Ride on the east of the city, and we remain committed to this.

“By reducing the number of cars that need to drive into the city from the east of Bath, this Park & Ride, alongside the other measures we are proposing, will help to address Bath’s unacceptable levels of traffic and air pollution.”

Commenting on the process for deciding the best location for the Park & Ride, Councillor Clarke added:

“We are committed to ensuring that residents in the area are properly consulted over these plans and are given a genuine say over where the new Park & Ride should go.

“This means we plan to put forward more than one potential site for consultation, so that we can choose the best location for the new Park & Ride which is as shielded from view as possible.”

Walcot Councillor Fiona Darey (Cons), whose ward includes the notoriously congested London Road, commented:

“I’m sure that residents in my community of Walcot will be very pleased to see that the Council’s new administration is moving quickly to bring forward long-promised plans for an East of Bath Park & Ride.

“This is something which has been needed for many years in order to help reduce traffic on the east of Bath, but which previous Councils have been unable to deliver.

“Residents living in and around the London Road shouldn’t have to put up with such high levels of traffic and pollution on a daily basis, so I’m glad the Council is taking the need to address this issue seriously.”

Council to face its public!

Council to face its public!

This year’s Bath City Conference takes place at the Guildhall on Friday 10 July from 12 noon.

The Bath Guildhall

The Bath Guildhall

Organised by Bath & North East Somerset Council, this free event is open to everyone.

It’s your opportunity to find out about:

• Bath’s Transport Strategy (12.30-1.30pm)
• Railway electrification (12-6pm)
• Projects involving the regeneration of the river  (12 to 6pm)
• Sustainability projects on food and energy (sessions at 2pm and 3pm)
• Future governance for the City of Bath (5-5.45pm)
• Who makes up your cabinet in the new Council? (12-6pm)

Following on from afternoon’s activities, the day will conclude at 6.30 pm in the Council Chamber with an hour long Question and Answer session. The Leader of Bath &North East Somerset Council, Cllr Tim Warren, members of the Cabinet and the Council’s Chief Executive, Jo Farrar will be present.

The discussion will be available as a webcast. To access the webcast visit: http://www.bathnes.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/181888.

Do you have a question that you would like answered? Send us your question and we will ask the most popular questions at this session e-mail – bathcityconference@bathnes.gov.uk.

Councillor Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip), Leader of Council, said: “Our new administration is keen to inform people and raise awareness of how we are working with local communities and partner organisations to improve the lives of everyone who lives, works and visits the area. This is an excellent opportunity for people to engage in the future of their community.”

If you want to support your local community you can find out how by visiting the Banqueting Hall which will be filled with over forty exhibits, stands and representatives from community groups across the City.

To find out more and receive regular updates, join www.bathcityconference.net/ and @yourbath2015 on Twitter.

Willow pattern in place.

Willow pattern in place.

Laura Ellen Bacon's completed installation.

Laura Ellen Bacon’s completed installation. Click on images to enlarge.

Illness prevented me from witnessing much of the work that went into installing ‘Murmuration’ – a new installation by Laura Ellen Bacon which has certainly transformed the facade of the Holburne Museum.

The art work weaves its way around the central portico.

The art work weaves its way around the central portico.

She’s been helped by an army of dedicated volunteers who helped prepare the Flanders Red willow – grown and harvested locally – which was soaked to make it pliable enough to be shaped into panels.

These have then been woven into the final structure.

Laura Ellen Bacon (r) showing volunteers how to weave the sections of willow.

Laura Ellen Bacon (r) showing volunteers how to weave the sections of willow.

Certainly visible from the Great Pulteney Street approach this intricate and dynamic installation certainly brings to mind the murmuration patterns of vast groups of swallows and starlings.

The sculpture will relocate to a permanent home in the Holburne’s grounds in the autumn. It’s part of a series of contemporary installations at the Holburne which are supported by the Arts Council.

A group of volunteers getting down to making sections of the installation.

A group of volunteers getting down to making sections of the installation.

A note for your diary. Laura will be discussing her work – past and present – at the Holburne on Friday September 4th at 7pm. Tickets £10/8. To book call 01225 388569.

More information about the Holburne on www.holburne.org

Party at the Pools

Party at the Pools

cleveland poolsin Bath, the Cleveland Pools Trust has organised a day of celebrations to mark the bicentenary of Britain’s oldest surviving Georgian outdoor swimming pool.

It’s a real Fourth of July get-together involving music and theatrical performances from11 lam to 3pm on Saturday, July 4th at the Pools off Hampton Row in Bathwick.

Tickets for adults are £4 a head – and for children and concessions £2.

Please click on the poster for more information or click on clevelandpools.org.uk

Torch-lit Baths

Torch-lit Baths

The Roman Baths will open its doors until 10pm (last entry 9pm) every evening in July and August, giving visitors a chance

The Roman Baths.

The Roman Baths.

to explore the awe-inspiring attraction by torchlight.

With its steaming Great Bath, 2,000-year-old pavements and stunning Roman artefacts, an evening visit to the Roman Baths is a unique and unforgettable experience.

Run by Bath & North East Somerset Council, the Roman Baths attracts 1 million visitors a year, making it one of the most visited heritage attractions in the United Kingdom.

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones, (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “We are delighted to offer visitors the chance to see the magnificent Roman Baths by torchlight. Entry is free for Bath & North East Somerset Council residents on production of a Discovery Card, so this is a great opportunity for local people to experience one of Bath’s most famous attractions out of normal daytime hours. The Roman Baths is leading the way in encouraging a vibrant evening economy in Bath.”

Visitors can round off their evening with a meal at the Pump Room restaurant or Roman Baths Kitchen.

Evening Dining at the Pump Room
The Pump Room restaurant will be open late for dinner and drinks during July and August, with live music every evening. Last orders 9pm. Please call 01225 444477 to book.

Roman Baths Kitchen
The Roman Baths Kitchen offers a more informal setting with alfresco dining. Reservations can be made on 01225 477877 or email rbk@searcys.co.uk.

Twilight Dinner and Tour
A special twilight ticket including two-course dinner with coffee at the Roman Baths Kitchen followed by a guided tour of the Roman Baths by torchlight is available between 5pm and 9pm (£36 per ticket). Reservations can be made on 0844 8475 256 or email tourism@bathtourism.co.uk.

The Roman Baths shop will stay open until 9.45pm. Visit http://www.romanbaths.co.uk/torchlit to find out more.

The Fashion Museum and Victoria Art Gallery, also run by Bath & North East Somerset Council, will also stay open late on selected evenings in August 2015.

Between floors at the Victoria Art Gallery.

Between floors at the Victoria Art Gallery.

The Fashion Museum will be open until 7pm (last entry 6pm) on Thursdays 6, 13, 20 and 27 August. Visit http://www.fashionmuseum.co.uk for more information.

The Victoria Art Gallery will host ‘Thursday Lates’ to accompany the ‘Jane Austen’s Bath’ exhibition. Period dance displays will take place from 5pm to 7pm (free to Discovery Card and ticket holders):

· 6 and 13 August – Bath Minuet Dancers
· 20 and 27 August – Jane Austen Dancers.

See www.victoriagal.org.uk for details.

Mayor’s Guides announce summer specials!

Mayor’s Guides announce summer specials!

The Bath Blitz, Stothert and Pitt & Industrial Bath and the River Avon and Kennet & Avon Canal are just some of the historical aspects of Bath you can hear more about while enjoying a series of FREE special walking tours being given by The Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides in July.

They will run from 20 July to 31 July 2015. Each walk lasts up to 2 hours and booking is not required except for groups of 12 or more.

The full list is given below.

The Kennet and Avon through Sydney Gardens.

The Kennet and Avon through Sydney Gardens.

The River and Canal
Mon 20 July 14.00 and Mon 27 July 19:00. Start and finish at Pulteney Bridge on Grand Parade

Haile Selassie in Bath
Mon 20 July 19:00, Fri 24 July 19:00 and Mon 27 July 14:00. Start outside Abbey Great West Doors and finish at the Guildhall

The Newark Works - former home of Stothert and Pitt

The Newark Works – former home of Stothert and Pitt

Stothert & Pitt and Industrial Bath
Tues 21 July 14:00 and Fri 31 July 19:00. Start Riverside between bus station and Churchill Bridge and finish at Widcombe lower lock

Medieval Bath
Tues 21 July 19:00 and Tues 28 July 14:00. Start and finish outside Abbey Great West Doors

The Bath Blitz
Wed 22 July 14:00, Wed 29 July 19:00 and Thurs 30 Jul 14:00 Walk back in time to April 1942 when the bombs fell on Bath. Discover the damaged buildings, remember the human cost, hear the stories and live the wartime spirit. Start outside the Tourist Information in Kingston Parade and finish at the Assembly Rooms

Now You See It – Now You Don’t
Thurs 23 July 14:00 and Thurs 30 Jul 19:00
Throughout its history Bath has always moved things. Fountains, Statues, Buildings and more. A lighthearted walk to trace some of the mysteries and some surprises. Start outside Abbey Great West Doors and finish in Orange Grove

The new-look board for the Mayor's Guides

The new-look board for the Mayor’s Guides

Thomas Gainsborough and Co
Thurs 23 July 19:00 and Wed 29 July 14:00. Start outside East End of Abbey in Orange Grove and finish at the Royal Crescent

Attacking Satan In His Own Quarters! (Charles Wesley)
Fri 24 July 14:00 and Tues 28 Jul 19:00 A walk around some of the lesser known places of worship – both past and present. Start outside Abbey Great West Doors and finish at Walcot Parade, opposite Walcot Methodist Church

Jane Austen’s Bath

These specially themed walks start from the Abbey Courtyard at 11.00 am and are free of charge.That’s the square – alongside Bath Abbey – with the tourist office on one side.

The dates are:
July – Friday 10, Wednesday 15, Tuesday 21 and Tuesday 28. August – Tuesday 4th, Friday 14th and Sunday 23rd. September – Friday 11th, Sunday 20th and Sunday 27th.

Go to  www.bathguides.org.uk for details and updates on everything.

Don’t forget the Mayor’s Guides also give regular daily free walking tours from a collecting point alongside their ‘board’ outside the Pump Room. Sunday to Friday at 10.30 am and 2pm and 10.30 am on Saturdays.