Showdown at St Swithins – will the Meadows yet be saved?

This week Bath welcomes the Mayor of the Dutch town of Alkmaar –  here for a week-long celebration of possibly the oldest town-twinning arrangement in the world.

It’s 70 years since the two cities started their ‘friendship’ – an association that followed on from locals collecting money, food and clothes to help those suffering famine at the end of Holland’s wartime occupation.

While ‘His Worship’ is busy representing us all, in his non-political role,  the Council’s Leader could probably benefit from some ‘Dutch Courage’ in his appearance on Tuesday evening in front of some of those ratepayers who actually elect people like him to manage the area’s affairs.

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Cllr Tim Warren Leader of B&NES.

Cllr Tim Warren has agreed to attend a meeting – organised by the Bath Deserves Better pressure group – to be held at St Swithin”s Church.

There will be presentations and ‘questions and answer’ sessions with ‘Save Bath Library’, ‘Save the Arts’ and ‘Bathampton Meadows Alliance.’

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The big sit down – by Bath Deserves Better protestors – that brought traffic to a halt in Milsom Street a few months ago.

All other council members of B&NES have been invited also.

The umbrella group – Bath Deserves Better – describes it as ‘ an era of new politics in Bath – open, honest engagement’ and will be hoping to ‘ hold our council leaders to account.’

The meeting comes shortly after what Cllr Tim Warren described as ‘ a mid-term reshuffle’ in his ruling group. Protestors – and some of the outgoing cabinet leaders – see it differently with resignations pointing to differences of opinion.

There are rumours – and a growing hope  – of a change of heart. That Bathampton Meadows – the current location for a new East of Bath Park and Ride – may be saved.

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Looking down on Bathampton Meadows from the side of Solsbury Hill.

That Cllr Warren will either announce a search for a different location or drop the project altogether.

It’s a proposal on which B&NES has spent three and a half million pounds to date – but one that recently cost Tory MP Ben Howlett his seat.

Was this the political event that has forced a re-think?

Will Tim Warren release a statement prior to the meeting or will it be something he saves for his audience?

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Interior of St Swithin’s Church

One thing is for sure. If he sticks to the original proposal – cars on the water meadows – he is in for a stormy evening in a church named after a saint credited with making the heavens open.