Search for Mayor’s Young Citizen

Search for Mayor’s Young Citizen

The Mayor of Bath (Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones) is launching a search for his ‘Mayor’s Young Citizen’.   The Award began 24 years ago to counteract some negative publicity about young people and to encourage them and celebrate their many fine achievements.  



The new Mayor – Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones – with the outgoing Deputy Mayor, Cllr Rob Appleyard – pictured at recent Mayor Making ceremony.


He said “I would like to meet as many young people as possible.  I am always amazed by the latent optimism and unimpeded talents of our youthful generations.  I will be looking for enthusiasm as well as wider interests when I meet the candidates, so there is all to play for.”

This individual award is for a 16, 17 or 18 years old who has made good progress at school or given service to the local community.  Letters will be sent to local senior schools, colleges and youth organisations with a nomination form.  

To enter, the young people must live in Bath, or attend a school/college in the city or belong to a Bath-based group. The young person chosen to hold the position for one year will receive £150 and be invited to some of the events the 791st Mayor of Bath will attend throughout his term in Office.  The runner-up will receive £50.  

Candidates and their nominator will both need to be available to attend a 10-minute interview on the afternoon of Monday 2 July and the Presentation Ceremony will take place at 5.00 pm on Thursday 5 July at the Guildhall.

A nomination form can be downloaded from, emailed on request at, or collected from the Guildhall Reception.  Nominations need to be received in the Mayor’s Office, Guildhall, Bath, Somerset, BA1 5AW by Tuesday 26 June 2018 at 5.00 pm.  


Photograph:    Jaydee Emery receiving her Award from the then Mayor (Councillor Ian Gilchrist) in 2017.

Jaydee Emery was awarded the title last year.  She shone out because of her evident commitment to helping other people beyond the immediate remit of her work with the Southside Family Project, and her infectiously friendly personality, which made it easy to see how she gets on with everyone and from all walks of life. 

At the Presentation Ceremony then Mayor (Councillor Ian Gilchrist) said ‘I was very impressed with Jaydee’s determination to continue with a career in assisting others and her understanding that achieving anything involves hard work and, above all, patience.’


Shame about the Saw Close.

Shame about the Saw Close.

Am l alone in being very disappointed by the recently ‘re-imagined’ Saw Close – an historic open space which lies just inside what was the old city wall.

As part of a recent redevelopment – that has seen the construction of a restaurant, casino and soon-to-open boutique hotel – the space between the old Palace Theatre facade and the Theatre Royal – on the other side – has been paved, stepped and now covered in troughs of plastic foliage.


Don’t bother looking for a central fountain,  specimen tree or piece of sculpture. This newly-imagined space comes complete with bike racks, benches, plastic box hedging and an outside seating area for a chain restaurant.

This was a golden opportunity – with either a small water feature or just a specimen tree – to create another atmospheric public space for people to gather.


Steps to the left have white edges and are also marked by troughs of plastic hedges! Bike racks and benches lie beyond.

But where Kingsmead Square and its central tree, cobblestones and cafe chairs has worked – the Saw Close is a mess.

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Kingsmead Square

Benches have been laid out like seats at a bus station. Bike racks occupy even more space in this so-called open area.


Another view of bike racks, troughs of plastic privet and those now white-edged steps. The area is covered in gull droppings too.

Steps were constructed that were so invisible and unsafe – as a potential trip or fall hazard – that the developers had to turn around and put handrails and white lines on the risers to make them usable.

Now – to crown it all – planters have arrived – full of plastic box hedging.

It may be low maintenance but it’s also a new low for a World Heritage city with a reputation for winning national competitions for its floral displays.


I thought this city was turning its back on plastic?!

Shame on you B&NES for not insisting on a higher-quality – and more imaginative – finish.

This is a missed opportunity to create a new focal point in a city famous for its Georgian iconic spaces.

Understanding retail

Understanding retail

Problems at House of Fraser has put the High Street under the spotlight again and – while  the company has NOT announced the closure of its Bath store – it seems the local authority IS keen to understand retail supply and demand in its area.


The Jolly’s store which dates back to 1831.

Independent retailers in Bath are being reminded to give their input on Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Local Plan.

Businesses have until Wednesday 13 June to take part in a survey which has been prepared to help inform research and policy development.


Local Plans are the key documents through which local planning authorities can set out a vision and framework for the future development of the area.

With a forthcoming Local Plan consultation period set for summer 2018, work is underway to understand retail supply and demand in Bath and North East Somerset both now and for the future.

One area of interest is the need to understand the city’s independent traders and their customers, as well as the associated economic impacts on Bath. The council is keen for city-based independent retailers to respond.

Please see link to the survey:

The deadline for responding is noon Wednesday  13 June 2018.

‘Mr Clean’

‘Mr Clean’

The city our millions of tourists briefly visit is not the same as the one Bathonians have to live in.


Their coaches add to the constant central pollution the local authority has been told to clean up and the government has set a 2021 deadline to do it too.

A Clean Air Zone is the proposal and citizens are currently being asked for their views on various proposals. The local MP doesn’t think Council plans are radical enough.


Maybe its time to pedestrianise the whole city centre! But will that kill business?


Meanwhile, there are other pollutants to deal with.  Domestic rubbish and street litter are also high on the ‘clean up’ agenda with news now that the Universities have been drawn in to help bear the cost of clearing rubbish once the students move out.


Then there’s the gulls!


If anyone can lay claim to the title of ‘Mr Clean’ its Cllr Bob Goodman – B&NES Cabinet member for Development and Neighbourhood. It’s his job to deal with these issues and he’s determined to stay the course.

Bath Newseum met him in Parade Gardens to go through his ‘hit’ list.

So let’s start with that public consultation about a Clean Air Zone. What are the people of Bath saying?

Pleased to say – the day after our interview – the steps of the Guildhall have been cleaned!


Good to see the gull mess has been​ cleaned off the Guildhall steps!

But across the road bags of rubbish were on the pavement until around 10.15 am and the residue remaining looks disgusting.



The Eagle has wings!

The Eagle has wings!

Things have been looking up recently for one of Bath’s most unusual but well-loved green spaces.


Hedgemead Park was laid out – in the late 19th century – on the site of an earlier residential development destroyed by a landslip.

In 1883 it was agreed that the City Corporation would acquire the unstable ground and plant it as a public park in order to consolidate the dangerous slope.


When opened, the site was known as Hedgemead Pleasure Ground and was laid out with a series of contoured walks, a terrace walk and bandstand, an ornamental cast-iron drinking fountain, and terraces retained by stone walls and structural planting designed to consolidate the slope.


‘Vedgemead’ Park – with that special vegetable -enhanced flower bed.

Time has taken its toll on the place but the park hit the local headlines when a flower bed was planted with edibles and re-named Vegmead!

The bandstand has been restored and now – a newly-formed Friends of Hedgemead have started work on that ornamental drinking fountain.


The recently=restored bandstand.

Some of the specialist work – analysing what original paint was used and re-gilding the eagle at the top of the fountain – has been undertaken by Bath’s World Heritage Enhancement Fund which is meeting the costs.


Graham Groom explains to a park user what is happening to the fountain.

Ainslie Ensom – the Fund Administrator – told Bath Newseum:

“The WHEF has been involved in trying to refurbish the fountain in Hedgemead Park for years, and today, thanks to co-operative efforts from us, the Parks Department, our new mayor Patrick Anketell-Jones and the newly formed Friends of Hedgemead Park, the work begins.’

The eagle is to be re-gilded

Bath Newseum caught up with Graham Groom – one of the ‘Friends’  volunteers – at the fountain site where he has been helping to prepare the structure for its new coat of paint. So what happens then?
 Meanwhile, Roger Houghton reminds us of another project the World Heritage Enhancement Fund might like to support.
He writes:

A useful place for a drinking fountain – if only it worked!


Photo Roger Houghton



Welcome, Mr Mayor!

Welcome, Mr Mayor!

It’s an odd little ceremony which took place in the city’s Abbey on Saturday morning.

A 500-year-old building which was temporarily closed to the general public – aka milling tourists – while a group of costumed people called The Charter Trustees elected the 791st Mayor of Bath.


In comes the procession for the start of the ceremony. It’s headed by the outgoing Mayor, Cllr Ian Gilchrist.

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones takes on a ceremonial role as First Citizen in an ‘office’ that can be traced back to 1230.

Once the Mayor held the keys to the city’s four gates – today he or she is expected to work as an ‘Ambassador for Bath’ – a non-political role promoting the city, nationally and internationally, and supporting the local community.


This is a meeting of the Charter Trustees as well of course. Here’s the outgoing Mayor Cllr Ian Gilchrist getting down to business. When the meeting began he was still Chairman

The Charter Trustees are the 32 councillors elected to represent the wards in the city on Bath and North East Somerset Council.

They meet four times a year and annually elect one of their number to be their Chairman and Mayor – along with a Vice Chairman and Deputy Mayor.

This year those joint roles will be filled by Cllr Anthony Clarke.

This meeting is open to the general public and held in Bath Abbey. The Trustees and some ‘distinguished’ guests walk in – and out – in procession.

Many have ceremonial robes and are proceeded by mace and sword bearers – carrying some of the historic civic regalia.


Maces and ceremonial sword ‘resting up’ during the proceedings.

These Bath councillors maintain the traditions and functions of the Mayor and hold other historic and ceremonial property including 27 royal charters issued by monarchs such as Richard the Lionheart and Elizabeth the First.

As the great West Doors were opened for everyone to parade out – and onto the Guildhall for an informal first meeting with the new Mayor – Bath’s tourists swarmed around the entrance – wondering exactly what this slightly strange, costumed event was all about.


Bath’s MP Wera Hobhouse – second in from the right – was one of the invited guests.

I cannot exactly say the Abbey was overwhelmed by citizens – keen to support this historic event. Only one line of pews were full – before the people making up the procession filled another.

You do have the feeling of sitting in on a private committee meeting where even the passing of the Mayor’s ceremonial robes from one councillor to another is done in a  room away from the proceedings.

Maybe a symbolic passing of the chain of office could be done in public?


Out of the ‘robing room’ emerges the new Mayor Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones with his deputy Cllr Anthony Clark behind him.

Speeches are made by incoming and outgoing Mayors and Deputies – with more praise for noble doings made by other councillors proposing and seconding elections and noting the achievement of those who had served in mayoral roles during the past year.

I glanced up to spot a memorial tablet on the Abbey wall which noted the burial in the church of the city’s most famous ‘Master of Ceremonies’  Richard ‘Beau’ Nash.


Beau Nash’s memorial tablet. Bath’s best-known Master of Ceremonies.

We need an MC like him today –  to mastermind the ‘Mayor Making’ ceremony and maybe encourage more people to come and witness proceedings which could be more crafted towards a modern audience.

Followers of Bath Newseum will know that l am a keen supporter of bringing back a flag for Bath. I want to see the city’s historic coat of arms flying above our public buildings.


I have been told the flag now only represents the Mayor but as his office is in the Guildhall – and the Mayor Making ceremony was held in Bath Abbey – it was a shame not to see the flag fluttering on either one of those buildings.


It’s the Abbey’s own flag above the church for Mayor Making.

B&NES can argue it’s the cost of erecting and taking down a flag. They have to pay an outsider to do both! Time for our public body to arrange an ‘insider’ to carry out this operation at less expense. We have National Days to celebrate and foreign dignitaries to welcome. Flags could be used to help do this.


Honorary Alderman Dave Dixon of Minuteman Press in Bath ‘printed’ me out a copy of the city’s flag. The shield shows symbols for the city wall and its waters – hot and cold. It’s Roman name – Aquae Sulis (waters of Sulis) and the crown for the crowning of Edgar – the first king of a united England – here in the city. The lion and bear stand of oak leaves and acorns to represent the legend of Bladud – Celtic monarch of the city and legendary King of the Britons .

Let me know your thoughts.

Meanwhile, new Mayors are expected to have ‘themes’ for their year of office and Cllr Anketell-Jones has chosen the environment.

It’s a good non-political subject for him to get his teeth into and l think he is going to be quite active in promoting it too.

Now for some of your comments!

Via Facebook.

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Bridge lodges still at risk says councillor.

Bridge lodges still at risk says councillor.

Following expensive repairs to one of the Cleveland Bridge lodges – and much traffic disruption while restoration work was carried out – local councillor Richard Samuel is asking for some extra protection for the historic structures which – he says – remain at high risk.


Cllr Samuel – who represents Walcot ward – said the initial damage was caused by the impact of a vehicle and thinks there is nothing in place to stop it happening again.


The columns are still unprotected says Cllr Samuel.

Before his views on that subject – l asked him for his reaction to reports that all but one of those expensive planters at the top end of the London Road are now likely to stay.

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The planters nearest the Snow Hill turning is likely to go.

The one going will probably be the one at the Snow Hill junction.  The others will be moved slightly so there is no obstruction of a sight line for motorists joining the London Road from a side street.

Here’s the interview – starting with his reaction to the planters probably staying.

I have asked B&NES if they would care to comment on Cllr Samuel’s concerns.

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However this road is eventually divided up – between those using it – you have to agree trees make a big difference to how it looks.


Later Cllr Samuel tweeted the following on Twitter!

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