Bus gates and London Road planters.

Bus gates and London Road planters.

Be warned there is a new camera being installed to catch those illegally using the ‘bus-gate’ outside of Waitrose in Bath city centre.

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The men in the cherry picker are installing a new camera.

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It’s to catch anyone illegally using the bus gate!

Could do with something like that for the ‘light jumpers’ down where the London Road meets the old Gloucester Road.

While we’re talking about the London Road – those artist-produced and expensive planters that are now minus their trees are supposed to be heading for scrap or replacing some of the concrete anti-terrorist concrete blocks around town.

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A planter minus its tree!

The trees were taken out following a report – published several years ago – saying that they blocked the visibility of motorists waiting to turn onto or cross the London Road.

Why not just leave them where they are and plant them up with some colourful flowers or let the local plant cabbages or carrots in them.

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The newly-installed planters being filled back in April 2015.

Enough fuss was made when they arrived back in April 2015. They belong to the London Road community.

Jenny Pollitt, Director of Lane House Arts – a business on the bend between Walcot Street and the London Road – copied me into an email she sent to the London Road Partnership.

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Jenny Pollitt, Director of Lane House Arts.

“I was shocked to read that the London Road planters will now be removed. This much needed regeneration project cannot simply be sent to scrap. The recent removal of the trees was the first nail in the coffin but to think that the planters will also be removed seems a dreadful waste.
As Richard suggests below, can they not be planted up with other plants which will not restrict the view of cars coming out of the side streets? Could they be used by the wonderful community project Wild Walcot in partnership with Avon Wildlife?
As we have been saying for a number of years now, the London Road is an important gateway into the city of Bath – the planters could enhance the visitor experience let alone improving the area for the local community. Might they perhaps be used in projects with the towns and cities with which Bath is twinned?
Thoughts please. Do not let the Council waste even more money removing these artist-designed planters. “

A spokesperson for the LRP told her:

“London Road Partnership are doing there best by raising awareness which is why the meeting was arranged last week.

It is Cllr Mark Shelford (Transport & Highways) who you should be talking to who wants to move the planters..

I believe that there have already been offers by residents and businesses to maintain them with low growing plants. The only one allegedly where sight line for motorists are a problem is at the bottom of Snow Hill outside Ripples.

It is quite ridiculous for our specially designed ‘street art’ items for London Rd should be stolen and ‘planted’ elsewhere as has been suggested.”

 

In all honesty, there is nowhere else for the planters to go. In the city centre, they will quickly fill with empty bottles, cans, takeaway coffee cup and fast food boxes.

Let the people of London Road care for them and replant them. Encourage people to come together and foster pride and community spirit. It doesn’t cost anything!

Stop idling

Stop idling

 

Gillian Risbridger writes to ask if Bath Newseum could give ‘Bath living Streets’ a shout and also mention their role in a campaign to help cut pollution and improve air quality in Bath.

She would like people to come and support the anti-idling initiative aimed at encouraging drivers to turn off their engines when parked. The next action day takes place on Saturday 28 April at 10.15am at the YMCA in Bath.

Gillian – who is the campaign organiser – writes; “Idling – running a vehicle’s engine when the vehicle is not in motion – increases the amount of exhaust fumes in the air. The anti-idling initiative is organised by Bath Living Streets, a UK charity for everyday walking. 

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The first action day in March was a great success. After a short training session, volunteers – called Bath Clean Air Champions – went out to engage with drivers in the centre of Bath.

Fifty percent of the idling drivers that volunteers spoke with turned off their engines. Many were surprised to learn that idling their engines needlessly contributes to air pollution, and that idling while parked is actually illegal.”

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Local parent Lily Hughes, a member of the Living Streets group, joined the first event, which was held in March. She explained that: “As a mother of two, I’m hugely concerned about air pollution in our beautiful city. When walking with the children we are frequently aware of breathing in fumes from both moving traffic and parked cars with engines running needlessly. We all have a responsibility to do something about this and so I’m joining the Bath Clean Air Champions.”

 

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A group of Bath Clean Air Champions – including Rachel with her arm on the post!

 

The campaign to cut pollution and improve air quality is also supported by local business owner and top vegetarian chef, Rachel Demuth. Rachel, whose cookery school is based at Terrace Walk, said: “I’m joining the Bath Clean Air Champions as we must all help reduce air pollution in our beautiful, heritage city. The more volunteers we get on board, the greater the momentum and success of this incredibly important campaign.” 

Bath and North East Somerset Council (BaNES) has been monitoring the air quality in Bath for several years. It currently operates seven continuous monitoring sites, providing live data on various pollutants. The city has been identified by government as an area where nitrogen dioxide levels are projected to exceed national air quality objectives beyond 2021. Current pollution levels regularly exceed EU legal limits by 50% or more.group photo terrace walk

Gillian continues: “Now is the time to act. We’re thrilled local businesses are backing us, but we need lots more volunteer champions to help spread the word.

Idling your engine for longer than 30 seconds wastes fuel, is detrimental to your health and unnecessarily adds to pollution levels in Bath. Our campaign will help raise awareness in pollution hotspots, and by engaging with people help to change behaviour and improve local air quality.”

If you’d like to get involved with the Bath Clean Air campaign, why not attend one of the group’s anti-idling events? They’re taking place at the YMCA, Bath on Saturday 28th April at 10.15am and Thursday 24th May at 10.15am and 2pm.

For more information, and to sign-up, visit www.idlingactionbath.org or send an email to bathcleanair@gmail.com.

For your further information.

Living streets is a UK-wide organisation that wants to create a walking nation, free from congested roads and pollution, reducing the risk of preventable illness and social isolation and making walking the natural choice. Find out more about them: https://www.livingstreets.org.uk

 

The No Idling campaign in Bath was inspired by similar campaign set up in London. Vehicle Idling Action is a London-wide behaviour change campaign which is helping to reduce localised air pollution caused by motorists who leave their engines running when parked. This campaign is supported by the mayor of London. Find out more: https://idlingaction.london 

Floral cut-backs

Floral cut-backs

Reacting to the Bath Newseum story about flower beds in Parade Garden being grassed over to save money on maintenance, Barry Cruse writes to tell me:

“I gather there will only be one carousel in the city centre and that will be in Milsom Street. Also no baskets on Grand Parade.”

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Last year’s carousel display in Union Street

As former Chairman of the Bath in Bloom committee Barry says he is ‘very disappointed. I understand the carousel in Milsome Street is being sponsored by Bath BID.’

 

Grow petals – win prizes!

Grow petals – win prizes!

It’s not only Bath’s big formal public parks that can win awards for flower and shrub displays – there’s a chance now for green-fingered owners of everything from an allotment, a suburban garden or even a display of hanging baskets to win a cash prize too.

The annual competition run by Bath in Bloom is now open for entries.  There are categories for private gardens of all sizes.  Community groups, Allotment holders, Pubs and Businesses can also enter and a special category for children under 12 to plant a reused container. 

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Prior Park gardens were the Community group winners in 2017.

The competition is free to enter and open to anyone within the Bath and North East Somerset area. 

Winners will be awarded vouchers and an Aqua blue glass paperweight.

‘Bath in Bloom’s new Category for 2018 in the local Competition is ‘The Battle of the Flowers between Streets and Squares’     Jane Moore well known local gardener and writer will be the judge – so get together within your area – street, square or a row of shops and enter.   You could win £75 and a Silver Cup for a year.

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The Star Inn got its award for being the Best Pub without a Garden.

Entry is free  For full details look up Bath in Bloom on the Bathnes website.  

If you are looking for help the Parks department can provide hanging baskets and troughs of Floral Displays, handmade, watered and tailored for you please click here or email the Parks department via Council_Connect@Bathnes.gov.uk or telephone 01225 394041

New pump for Laura Place​ fountain​

New pump for Laura Place​ fountain​

It’s official. The reason why the fountain in Laura Place is not operating. It needs a new pump.

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Filled but not functioning?

I bumped into the contractors filling the bowl as part of the fountain’s recommissioning after its winter isolation. Come time to flick the switch and nothing happened.

It needs a new pump. As far as Bath Newseum is concerned it needs a kind sponsor to spend some money on what is a slowly disintegrating poor excuse of a spectacle to help celebrate this city of waters.

I will try and let you know when the fountain is working again. In the meantime, a reminder of what it looks like in action!

 

 

Gull ‘menace’ scheme to be extended.

Gull ‘menace’ scheme to be extended.

Bath & North East Somerset Council is extending its successful campaign to tackle the gull menace.

The Council has allocated funding, on a permanent basis, for free roof treatments to remove gull nests and eggs in areas of Bath where evidence confirms large or increasing numbers of breeding pairs.

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In addition to Abbey, Kingsmead, Newbridge, Twerton, Westmoreland and Widcombe, the wards of Bathwick, Combe Down, Lyncombe, Oldfield, Odd Down and Southdown will now be included in the scheme.  These extra wards have been added in response to concerns that gulls maybe being displaced into these areas, following treatments in the more central wards.

Cllr Bob Goodman (Conservative, Combe Down), Cabinet Member for Development & Neighbourhoods, said: “Gulls can be a real menace and during the breeding season, which runs from April to August, they can become noisy and aggressive.  We know that reducing their numbers is a key priority for residents, which is why we are extending our successful free roof treatment scheme. Everyone can do their bit to help. If there are nests on your roof and you are in one of the areas covered by the scheme, call and ask for a free roof treatment; make sure you use your food waste bins, and don’t feed the gulls – you’re not helping your community or the birds.”

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A too familiar sight in Bath.

The Council has allocated £55k from the 2018/19 budget, along with additional support from the Bath Business Improvement District, to tackle the gull problem in Bath and North East Somerset.

Following a tendering process, NBC Environment have been awarded a three-year contract to carry out the work on behalf of the Council.

NBC Environment said: “Last year we removed in the region of 1000 eggs and 400 nests from properties in Bath and North East Somerset. We’ll shortly be visiting all affected wards and will begin the first round of roof treatments as the gulls start building their nests.  We’ll be contacting existing customers and will try to call on as many properties as possible. If you think you have a gull problem and live in one of the wards covered by the scheme please contact us as soon as possible”.

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Gulls will typically start nest building in mid-April so be vigilant and start looking to see if you can see any nesting activity on your roof.

Treatment cannot be fully booked until there is confirmation that a nest has been built. It can be difficult to confirm this when you may not be able to see your entire roof, so some useful indications that a nest may be present are:

•           Increased activity, with gulls travelling back and forth with twigs and nesting material.

•           The nest is formed in two to three days, after which one of the pair will be seen sitting on the nest.

•           In the early stages, you will see a pair sitting close together, usually close to where the nest will be formed.

•           You will also often see an increase in aggression from the adult gulls swooping at anyone or anything that gets too close. NBC Environment will need permission from the property owner before they access a roof. They also need to make sure that your roof can be accessed safely.

If you believe there is a nest on your roof, please contact NBC Environment on 0800 169 9646 (Please select the option for the Customer Service team) or complete a web form on the Council website: www.bathnes.gov.uk/gulls

The roof treatments are part of a series of measures being put in place to tackle the gull problem, supported by Bath & North East Somerset Council. There will also be further work encouraging everyone to keep the streets clear of litter and waste.

Bath Preservation Trust support for Clean Air Zone.

Bath Preservation Trust support for Clean Air Zone.

Bath Preservation Trust  has come out in support of the proposal by B&NES to introduce a Clean Air Zone in Bath (CAZ) – particularly because its boundaries take into account the through traffic crossing Cleveland Bridge and exiting the City along the London Road. 

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In a press statement – released today, Tuesday. April 10th – BPT say:

‘We support the highest category of restriction (category D) in order to encourage behavioural change for car users as well as commercial vehicles.

Bath traffic results in three problems which can damage the listed buildings and harm the amenity of the World Heritage Site: pollution, congestion and vibrations. The CAZ is primarily aimed at the former (pollution) though it is to be hoped that it will also change behaviours of both longer distance drivers and local users.

While the CAZ is therefore by no means a total solution to the traffic problems of Bath, we hope that this will provide a first step towards providing a number of ‘carrot and stick’ methods to changing behaviours regarding vehicle movements in the City.

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London Road traffic.

We have two specific requests to make. The first is that any ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) installations used to run the charging system collect data as long as possible BEFORE the imposition of the charges so that there are definitive ‘Before and After’ datasets which will allow the effectiveness to be measured; and that secondly the income form the CAZ is at least in part hypothecated to incentivising other forms of non-polluting transport such as clean delivery methods, clean buses, strengthened public transport, and increased prioritisation of cycling and walking infrastructure.’