Hey Bath – let’s big it up!

Someone in the B&NES ‘think-tank’ has earned themselves a nice mid-summer bonus or at least a pat on the back.

They’ve come up with a slogan the council thinks will help put a positive spin on local life as we live it.

Big up Bath and North East Somerset – let’s talk it up, not bring it down’ – says the heading at the top of a press release which has been wending its way to local press and other influencers this Wednesday morning.

What with the city earning itself a second UNESCO World Heritage inscription, getting a mention in Time magazine’s l00 best travel destinations AND hosting and helping train a successful ‘Team Bath’ Olympic contingent – B&NES – says the release -should be proudly waving its own flag and celebrating its successes.

Now this is a wonderful city and l am proud of all the above-mentioned positive achievements. Let’s also not forget how so many have pulled together – professionals and volunteers – to get us through some dark days – but l am left wondering if there isn’t a little something extra behind all of this flag waving.

Is there a suggestion here that the Council is aware of people trying to ‘bring it down?’ Does this release have an underlying message for the press and other influencers? If you are not with us – you are against us?

Looked at that way it’s all a little divisive if you ask me. I am all for applauding the good but hope we can still be aware of the many critical issues that have to be dealt with – whether it’s a day of rain or shine.

Let’s hope our council can also be positive with cleaning up our air, re-invigorating our tourist business, encouraging investment and new ways of economic thinking.

An authority committed to its manifesto and one that listens to its officers as well – as the public – whatever the outcome of local elections in two years time.

Anyway, here’s the release in full – so you judge for yourselves and don’t forget to SMILE!

“Council leaders today encouraged people to ‘big up Bath and North East Somerset’ and celebrate all that’s positive about the area.

This comes as businesses and organisations work hard to come out of lockdown with the lifting of restrictions.

This week the city along with ten other historic spa towns secured much-coveted UNESCO World Heritage status as part of the ‘Great Spa Towns of Europe’ nomination.

A UNESCO committee, held in China, inscribed the ‘Great Spas of Europe’ on to the World Heritage list. It means that the City of Bath, will have an exceptional second inscription, overlaying the first.

Bath was recently named as one of the World’s Greatest Places in TIME’s annual list. The city and the Design District, London were the only locations in England to be named in the news platform’s top 100 extraordinary travel destinations.

Last year Netflix drama Bridgerton became the network’s biggest show to ever have aired, reaching 82 million households in its first 28 days, and putting Bath and the surrounding area in the international spotlight again.

And the area was celebrating sporting success this week with Olympic Golds. Team Bath’s own Tom Dean put in a spectacular performance in the 200m freestyle in Tokyo on Monday and picked up another Gold in the Men’s 4×200 free relay with Bath teammates James Guy and Mat Richards and Stirling’s Duncan Scott.

A strong ‘Team Bath’ Olympic contingent, including nine swimmers, three Judo players and a modern pentathlon squad are part of Team GB.

Councillor Kevin Guy, council leader, said: “We have all been through, and are still dealing with, so much as a result of Covid. I would encourage everyone to big up Bath and North East Somerset and celebrate its successes.

“We are incredibly proud of our Team Bath Olympians, some of whom I was fortunate to meet before they headed off to Tokyo. They are a credit to Team GB and to our city, especially in the unique circumstances they have had to train and compete and are a great example to us all. 

“We should equally be proud of the UNESCO World Heritage status as a Great Spa Town and having an exceptional second inscription. Thanks must go to all those involved in achieving this.”

Councillor Richard Samuel, deputy leader and cabinet member for Resources, added: “There is no doubt that the pandemic has been, and still is, incredibly tough on business and organisations, as well as on council services. Over the past 16 months we’ve seen great examples of people pulling together – huge numbers of volunteers have supported the Wellbeing Hub and residents have played their part to stay safe. While we all need to remain cautious, because Covid hasn’t gone away, bigging up Bath and North East Somerset rather than bringing it down is a much more positive message to help the area, its communities and businesses recover.”

3 Comments

  1. Of course it’s important that people feel they are able to offer criticism and elected officials and governmental bodies are mostly aware that this is part of the process. I doubt whether this upbeat message will deter either those who have a genuine complaint or those who just want to join in the ‘pile on’ that seems to happen far too frequently on local social media sites and Nextdoor (the neighbourhood app). This is probably what’s alluded to in the message of ‘talking Bath up rather than bringing it down’. It’s evident many people have no idea who is responsible for what and frequently the council/ MP are attacked for issues outside their remit. A classic example is the Hartwells’ development which was rejected by the council (and two councillors joined the campaign against it) but was finally approved by the government-appointed Planning Inspector – yet the council bore the brunt of the criticism. Ditto, the CAZ: of course, the LDs want to improve air quality and are keen to reduce CO2 emissions within the city, but the government has threatened to fine councils who don’t meet their targets. Ironically, it’s the national government that has taken tangible steps to curtail criticism by limiting the power to protest through the recent Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill while the local Conservative Association (as a body, not specific individuals within in it) have a history of blocking on Twitter those who, like me, who criticise them. Now that is worrying.

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  2. I agree with the sentiment of Mr Wyatt’s article as I understand it – “..applauding the good but hope we can still be aware of the many critical issues that have to be dealt with..”. We residents of Bath have enjoyed “the good”, some of which has come about as a result of the better decisions of our councillors, and some as a result of the efforts and wisdom of others. I am not a fan of ‘spin’, nor of people or organisations taking the credit for something they had no part in. ‘Big up Bath’ smacks of that.

    As for ‘piling on’, those critics of the Council’s decisions and performance over the last two years should not be ignored, despite their sometimes irritating approach. They are not necessarily ‘no idea’ ranters, despite the Council’s concerted efforts in the recent past to make their machinations as opaque as possible e.g. TUFA fields, Cleveland Bridge, Bath Rugby’s on-going planning application, North Road Cycle Lane trial, LTNs, Liveable neighbourhoods, eScooters and so on.

    Our Council published their Strategic Plan 2020-24, and its Foreward contained some fine words describing a plethora of good intentions about how it would behave as it formulated and implemented policies. The evidence is that those good intentions are merely paving our way to an air-pollution, congestion and decibel hell for its residents. They are certainly not being evidenced in practice.
    What our Council fails to do is effectively prioritise. #1 Priority MUST be the health and wellbeing of Residents. That is a MUST and should demote all other aims & initiatives to the lower Nice-to-Have priority levels(consult Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for further insight into the difference between NEED & WANT).

    Our Council is a LOCAL administration that appears to have been hi-jacked by a cabal of Green ideologues somewhere along the way, who have steered its purpose to Saving the Planet. Thus we have a bag-full of Green initiatives distracting them, and some of us, from the real purpose of the Council, to make its ” ..peoples’ lives better..”.

    By all means, let us celebrate what is good about Bath, whether as a consequence of our Council or not. But we must NOT allow our Council to be distracted from its primary purpose, its #1 Priority, the Health and Wellbeing of ALL its citizens. So, BANES, get that Strategic Route designation removed from the A36 and restore the 18Tonne weight limit to the Cleveland Bridge. Spend whatever time, money, resources and goodwill (yes, try to generate some goodwill with the ‘Tory’ Wiltshire County Council & MPs) required to make that happen. Do not squander any more money on the ‘Nice-to-Haves’, because that’s not your purpose.

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  3. As a BATHONIAN , born and bred , Fairfield park.although several year’s in Cornwall, untill Last November.
    I now live near Yeovil .
    I was disgusted at the state of the City centre , after a ( hot week) staying just outside of the city. I’m nearly 50 , my sister late 60’s who we met on Friday in Westgate Street , first comments were, what a @#&&+* mesh our city looks ( my first time in the centre for MANY years) so YES ,BIG up bath , it’s WORLD famous after all .but for God sack , what the hell will international ? Staycation visitors think ??? And as for Eateries / alfresco dining ,take your pick ! Yes I agree with Mr Carson it’s been hijacked by ” green do gooders” who have jumped on the ” climate emergency ” bandwagon ! I also wonder?? How many on the council are actual Bathonians ,or have local links to the City?? RANT OVER ! sort it out BANES!

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