Bath and the Suffragettes.

Bath and the Suffragettes.

A special mention for six of my fellow Mayor’s Guides who are helping to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day by giving a special tour around the centre of Bath which will tell people more about the city’s links with the Suffragette Movement.
As this year commemorates the Suffragettes and the fact that it is 100 years since women over 30 got the vote we are concentrating on those suffragettes who are linked to Bath.
The talk is free and will last about 1 and a half hours.
2018 Womens walk poster v2
Meet Ali Barran, Anne Twitchett, Carole Boardman,  Maggie Fallon,  Lesley Castens and Joy Roberts outside the main entrance to the Roman Baths in Abbey Church Yard. at 2.30  on both Thursday, March 8th and Saturday, March 24th
Saving our river from rubbish.

Saving our river from rubbish.

Bath won’t be missing out – when it comes to community action – during next month’s  ‘Great British Spring Clean.’

There’s an invitation for more to join in on a mammoth litter picking exercise – from 2nd to the 4th of March – along the River Avon  through the city. For the first time ever this will include cleaning up the river as well as its banks.

Do check out the poster below for more information.

Litter Pick with Boat Poster v3

 

Fly-tipper gets heavy fine for despoiling​ Bath beauty spots.

Fly-tipper gets heavy fine for despoiling​ Bath beauty spots.

A 30-year-old man has been fined £6,400 after 12 tonnes of rubbish was dumped in beautiful countryside near Bath, including at an Iron Age Fort and on land belonging to a scout group.

Creese Stantonbury Hill 06.12.2016

The actions of Garth Creese, from Crediton Crescent, Bristol, were described by the prosecution as deliberate and led to blatant acts of environmental vandalism in some of the most beautiful and historic areas in the district which had cost innocent landowners in excess of £3,500 to clear up.

Creese, who runs a waste clearance business, pleaded guilty to nine offences, under the Environmental Protection Act, in Rankers Lane, Compton Dando, Keynsham Scout Group land in Chelwood and two incidents at the site of an Iron Age fort in Stantonbury Hill and Stanton Prior. He was fined £1,600 per offence.

Creese Stantonbury Hill 2 13.12.2018

Creese appeared before Bath Magistrates on Monday, February 19th, and was also ordered to pay £450 costs and a victim surcharge of £160.

Bath and North East Somerset Council brought the prosecution following reports of piles of rubbish dumped in the locations between November 24th and December 13th, 2016.

Creese Compton Dando 01.12.2016

The court heard that the legislation is designed to ensure those disposing and handling waste take reasonable care to ensure it is only handled by reputable waste handlers and any transfer of waste is accompanied by a Waste Transfer Note,  so that waste is traceable and incidences of fly-tipping reduced.

But the court was told Creese’s unregulated waste clearance business resulted in significant incidences of fly-tipping of builders’ rubbish and household waste including black bagged waste, large household items including a sofa, chairs, a fridge-freezer and miscellaneous items of rubbish.

Creese Chelwood 24.11.2016

Magistrates heard during the investigation that it became clear that Creese showed potential customers an expired Waste Carriers Permit and offered his services at a rate that could never have covered the costs of legitimate disposal.

Speaking after the guilty plea, Councillor Bob Goodman, (Conservative Coombe Down), cabinet member for Development and Neighbourhoods, said: “The investigation took a lot of time but this is an excellent result for the council and its Waste Enforcement Team which I want to thank for its hard work.

“This sends a clear message that we will always prosecute. Fly-tipping is anti-social and in this case a blight on beautiful countryside. We want to remind people that if you employ a waste clearance company please make sure it is a reputable one with up-to-date waste carriers licence.”

 

Local artist makes shortlist for major prize.

Local artist makes shortlist for major prize.

Bath artist Charlotte Sorapure, has been chosen from over 1,000 artists to be shortlisted for a prestigious national art prize worth £15,000 to the winner.
Charlotte is one of 83 artists from across the UK shortlisted for the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2018, the UK’s leading competition for British contemporary representational painting and drawing. Having made the shortlist her work ‘The Letter’ will be exhibited at London’s Mall Galleries from 5–17 March.

Sorapure-Charlotte-The Letter

The Letter – painted by Bath-based Charlotte Sorapure.

1,144 artists entered this year’s competition – the highest number in the prize’s 13-year history.
Responding to the news of their shortlisting, Charlotte said: “In an artistic climate that tends to be preoccupied with novelty and gimmickry, the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize is very special, with its commitment to nurturing and supporting the continued development of figurative painting and draughtsmanship. I am very happy to have been included in this years exhibition”
Charlotte has been painting for over twenty-five years. She describes the overriding concerns of her work as being rooted in drawing, composition and colour.
‘The paintings often hint at a poetic awareness, rather than any literal narrative – hopefully emanating an underlying mood or atmosphere. In order to do so, one has to be constantly alert to possibilities in any potential subject; from the corner of the studio or a humble still life, to the pattern and movements of a crowd.
There is a gentle irony, humour and poignancy in the paintings, that life is rarely what it seems. The recognition of these fleeting, incidental and silent moments have the ability to resonate more powerfully, than grander schemes and gestures. Seeing the significant in the insignificant – peering under stones, so to speak’

Trained at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Charlotte is a figurative Artist living and working in Bath. She has exhibited mainly with Messum’s in London and Brian Sinfield Gallery in Burford. Winner of the 2012 Holburne Portrait Prize, she has also exhibited at the Victoria Art Gallery in  Bath as well as more broadly in the UK and abroad. She has produced commissioned Portraits and Murals including a portrait of the war photographer Don McCullin CBE for The Holburne Museum in Bath, which was unveiled in 2015.

charlotte sorapure

Don McCullin and Charlotte Sorapure – wither side of her portrait.

The Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize for representational art – art that seeks to capture the real world – offers total prize money of £30,000, comprising a first prize of £15,000 and a gold medal, second prize of £4,000 alongside the newly introduced People’s Prize worth £2,000. Young artists aged 25-or-under compete for the Young Artist Award of £4,000.

For further details visit www.lynnpainterstainersprize.org.uk

Too many hotels?

Too many hotels?

Tourism officials in Bath are to reassess the impact of new hotel development in the city – according to an online report from The Caterer magazine – https://www.thecaterer.com/articles/521114/bath-tourism-officials-order-review-of-oversaturated-hotel-market

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It follows protests from operators that the market has become over-saturated.

 

The online report continues:

“Between 2017 and 2019, an additional 500 bedrooms are expected to open, adding to the 1,500 rooms in the city prior to the current plethora of developments.

David James, chief executive of Bath Tourism Plus, said: “We now feel the time is for reflection to assess the impact of these new developments before further additional accommodation is added to the city’s portfolio.

“It also has to be said that the impact of Airbnb was not identified as a factor in the last hotel demand study and Bath has seen a large growth in this new offering – over 800 rooms at the last count.”

Bath has traditionally been one of the strongest regional cities for hotel performance in the UK, with occupancy on Friday and Saturday nights often close to 100%. This has resulted in a plethora of developers being attracted to the city to open new hotels.

visitbath.co

A study on the city’s hotel demand carried out by Bath and North East Somerset Council in 2015 identified a shortage of rooms. However, with the opening last year of the 177-bedroom Apex City of Bath and the launch later this year of the 148-bedroom Z Hotel and 121-bedroom Hotel Indigo, alongside the presence of Airbnb, leading Bath hoteliers now believe the city is close to over saturation.

In the most recent AlixPartners Hotel Bulletin, Bath was the worst performing of 12 cities studied, showing a 4% decline in revpar during Q4 of 2017.

It was announced last week that a number of hoteliers had signed a letter protesting at the proposed development of a 206-bedroom hotel within the former Bath College Allen building development.

Real estate investment, development and asset management company Dominvs Group acquired the college property last year and has applied for planning permission to transform it into a hotel, restaurant, bar and café.

Andrew Brownsword, who owns the Bath Priory; Laurence Beere, managing director of the Queensberry hotel; Ian Taylor, owner of No 15 Great Pulteney; and Jonathan Stapleton, general manager of the Royal Crescent hotel, sent a letter to Bath and North East Somerset Council claiming the market is struggling to cope with the increased number of hotels alongside what it calls the “unregulated growth”of Airbnb.

Beere said: “We have as a sector seen a marked decline in occupancy and consequently in room rate, and overall decline in revenue per available room (revpar) because of the excess supply, and that is before an additional 310 bedrooms open later this year,” said Beere.

“Enough is enough,” added Stapleton. “Already we are at complete oversupply, there’s no way those rooms are needed in the city.”

Flood works tree felling underway.

Flood works tree felling underway.

Bath & North East Somerset Council has started removing trees and vegetation on the south side of the River Avon near Churchill Bridge. It is part the next phase of works to transform the riverside in Bath as part of its flood mitigation works.

The Bath Quays Waterside project, which started in 2016, involves flood mitigation and defence works to the north and south banks of the River Avon, between Churchill Bridge and Midland Bridge.

Once completed, the project will reduce flood risk for more than 100 existing residential and commercial properties and enable the development of Bath Quays, a new office and creative quarter.

Bath Quays South tree removal

The start of tree removal on the south side of the river.

Following on from the completion of the new south facing park late last year, the next phase of flood defence work will has begun, to remove trees and vegetation on the south side of the river adjacent to Bath Quays South (Newark Works) site, in preparation for completing the flood defence wall and lowering the river bank along this section.

New trees and planting will ultimately be introduced, completing the council’s programme to introduce more than 150 new trees to the river corridor at Bath Quays.

In addition, ecological enhancements will be incorporated including a new bat roost and an otter holt.

Councillor Paul Myers, (Conservative Midsomer Norton Redfield) cabinet member for Economic & Community Regeneration, said:  “The regeneration of this area will bring a wide range of benefits to the economy and the ecology of this area. Together with additional tree planting on the south bank, this will improve the long-term resilience of the riverside ecology and reinforce the presence of the River Avon as a wildlife corridor in the heart of Bath. Through these improvements the riverside has not only become a new destination in the city centre, it also provides a distinctive place for relaxed sitting, strolling and observing nature right in the heart of the city.”

The completion of the flood defence along the south edge of the river, will be undertaken as part of the Bath Quays South development scheme which is envisaged to commence in the spring.

 

New mosaic uncovered at Roman Baths

New mosaic uncovered at Roman Baths

The earliest mosaic ever found at the Roman Baths in Bath has been discovered during excavations taking place in advance of the Archway Project, which will extend the public access into a new area of the site.

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The uncovered mosaic

The mosaic was found by local volunteer Fiona Medland who is part of the team of volunteers from the Bath & Camerton Archaeological Society (BACAS) that are helping professional archaeologists from Cotswold Archaeology to carry out the dig.

Fiona said ‘Finding the mosaic was the luck of being allocated “the sewer” to clean up. I thought it was just the edge of the door threshold until it dried a bit and showed all the individual tesserae [cubes of stone]. So I cleaned it up further and revealed a couple of rows, totally stunned. I have been helping BACAS for 10 years now, this is my first real find and a dream come true. Thank you all for allowing us to partake in this fabulous project, I know everyone has enjoyed it.’

The mosaic was found in the threshold of a Roman room. So far, just a few of the small cubes of stone that make up the floor have been uncovered. They are a creamy buff colour and are made from local stone. They are small in size, about 1 centimetre square, and carefully laid.

Stephen Clews, Manager of the Roman Baths said, ‘A mosaic in this position is likely to be plain or with only a simple geometric design.  Although we only have a few cubes of stone to go on we can confirm that from its position in the building sequence this must be the earliest mosaic yet known from the site, dating to the later first century AD.

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Another view of the uncovered mosaic.

It shows that right from its inception the Roman Baths was furnished with all the trappings of a very fine establishment.

We will discuss with Historic England how we should approach any further uncovering of the mosaic.’

The Archway Project is a major development delivering the new Clore Learning Centre, an extended public viewing area for the Roman Baths and a new World Heritage Centre for the city. The project is being carried out by Bath & North East Somerset Council, the owner and operator of the site.

Councillor Paul Myers, (Conservative Midsomer Norton Redfield), Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Regeneration, said: “This is a very exciting discovery and we look forward to finding out more about the mosaic. When the new Clore Learning Centre and World Heritage Centre open in 2019, everyone – from school children to visitors – will be able to learn more about the fascinating history of Bath and the Roman Baths in state-of-the-art surroundings.”

The Archway Project is supported by National Lottery players through a £3.4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

For more information go to www.romanbaths.co.uk