Proposals have been put forward to create a new ‘City Forum’ to strengthen community representation and civic governance in Bath.
The idea behind the new City Forum is to give Bath residents a stronger voice on matters affecting the city, and would comprise of Bath Councillors as well as representatives of outside organisations such as residents groups, local businesses and other community organisations in the city.
The proposals aim to address the long-standing concern that, whilst the authority’s rural areas are represented by Town and Parish Councils, Bath currently lacks its own forum at which issues directly affecting the city can be aired.
The City Forum proposal has been developed by a cross-party working group of Councillors, established last year to look at options for strengthening civic representation in Bath using input from local residents and community groups.
It is envisaged that the City Forum would meet three times a year and would be able to set up smaller working groups to look into specific issues in the city in more detail and make recommendations to the council.
Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones, Deputy Leader of the Council’s ruling Conservative Group, said:
“These proposals will give residents, businesses and community groups in Bath a stronger voice over issues affecting our city. For the first time since the old Bath City Council was dissolved nearly twenty years ago, Bath will finally have its own forum at which matters affecting the city can be discussed by people from the city, in the same way that our rural areas have their own Town and Parish Council forums.
“We want to draw upon as much of the city’s talent as possible, with a broad set of opinions represented. That’s why we’re proposing that the City Forum is made up of representatives from residents groups, local businesses and other community organisations as well as elected Councillors.
“As well as advising B&NES on the big issues affecting our city, the Forum will also be able to undertake research into specific Bath-related issues and put forward recommendations.”
Long-standing Bath Councillor Colin Barrett (Cons, Weston) said:
“These proposals represent a big step forward in strengthening community representation and civic governance in our city. It’s right that Bath should have its own forum in the same way as other areas do, and this new forum will give a bigger voice to Bath residents.”