Lin steals the show at Combined Authority’s first meeting.

Lin steals the show at Combined Authority’s first meeting.

Congratulations to B&NES Councillor Lin Patterson for stealing the limelight at the first meeting of the West of England Combined Authority – held today (Wednesday, March lst) at the Watershed Media Centre in Bristol.

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The new authority swings into action after May 4th when people from B&NES, Bristol and South Gloucestershire go to the polls to elect a Metro Mayor.

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Council leaders gathered for their first meeting at the Bristol Watershed.

The three council leaders were gathered to elect a Chair and Vice Chair and take submissions from the public.

Lin, who is the Green Party member for the Lambridge Ward in Bath, was straight on her feet to tell the leaders and council officials about the petition-backed campaign to save a modest little circular bus route which linked Larkhall and Fairfield Park with the town centre.

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Cllr Lin Patterson tells the council leaders about her local buses!

The 6 and 7 routes have been reduced following the withdrawal of a council bus subsidy.

Lin said campaigners would not let the new combined authority forget their campaign and hoped WECA would come up with a franchise package to get the bus route back.

The meeting was broadcast live as a webcast.

Here’s a flavour of proceedings including an opening statement from Cllr Matthew Riddle – Leader of South Gloucestershire – and from Cllr Tim Warren the Leader of B&NES.

The meeting agreed the constitution for the new authority and appointed interim statutory officers. The constitution sets out the governance arrangements and establishes three advisory boards, for skills, infrastructure and business. 

These will be chaired by the West of England Mayor and attended by the relevant members from the councils and business members of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) board. 

The constitution also sets out the plans for scrutiny by councillors, to be selected on a politically-proportionate basis, from the constituent members of the Combined Authority.

Patricia Greer was appointed as interim Chief Executive/head of paid service; Tim Richens has been appointed as interim Chief Finance Office and John McCormack as interim Monitoring Officer.

Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of B&NES Council, Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol and Cllr Matthew Riddle, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, said:  “Today is a key milestone in the evolution of the effective joint working across the West of England, and builds on the work we’ve been doing in partnership for many years.

“The creation of the West of England Combined Authority brings decision-making powers on issues that were previously held in Westminster closer to local communities. This devolution deal unlocks a billion pounds of funding for our area and the opportunity to attract further funding and powers for the region to improve transport infrastructure, deliver affordable homes and invest in skills and training.”

The West of England Combined Authority will work closely with North Somerset Council, building on a legacy of successful joint working between the four authorities. This will include the establishment of a Joint Committee between the constituent councils of the Combined Authority and North Somerset Council, and scrutiny arrangements for that Joint Committee by councillors of the four authorities.

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L to R. Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol; Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of B&NES Council, and Cllr Matthew Riddle, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council.

WECA will be chaired by a new West of England Mayor. Elections will take place on Thursday 4 May 2017, when the electorate of Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire Councils will have their say on the candidates. 

Other members of the Combined Authority are Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of B&NES Council; Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, and Cllr Matthew Riddle, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council. The Chair of the LEP, Stephen Robertson, will also attend the meetings.

Minutes from the meeting, which was webcast live, will be published online at www.westofengland-ca.org.uk

The West of England Combined Authority will meet hold its second meeting in public on Wednesday March 15 at Armada House, Bristol. Papers for this meeting will be available on the website on March 7.

Buses

Buses

A message – and point of view – from Bob Draper…..

‘Come on Bathonians – Get out your angle grinders & welding torches….!

Having seen someone almost swept off their feet on the lower pavement on the north side of George St. by the front overhang of a tourist bus coming up from Queen Square  I wondered who controls these behemoths of Bath’s narrow streets? 

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One of Bath’s bright coloured tourist buses on its way down Milsom Street.

 Is it the local council or the Traffic Commissioners?

At every corner & junction these gargantuans of the tourist trade have to stop and wait for opposing traffic to clear so that they can swing out on tho opposite side of the road in order to make the corner. there is an irony in the in the winter months that the load factors are often so low a Smart car would be sufficient!

 For the sake of pedestrian safety maybe buses should fitted with some of these:

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Maybe Bath Newseum readers would like to suggest what would be a suitable size of vehicle for Bath’s clogged arteries’?

Bob Draper, Bath.

A fairer share of Bath buses?

A fairer share of Bath buses?

Getting around inner city Bath has not been easy of late with traffic greatly affected by the resurfacing work in North Road.

This vital arterial route reopens early on Friday morning – October 28th – and one hopes things might ease.

However, there is no way we can kid ourselves that this town can cope for much longer with the volume of commercial and private traffic it is being asked to accommodate.

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Bus after bus caught in today’s jams.

While millions are soon to be wasted on another park and ride  – which will take a few cars  off the London Road –  it doesn’t deal with the biggest need.

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Wouldn’t take many of these to bring our city to a standstill.

Historic Bath is crying out for a relief road – a proper by-pass – and some effective traffic management.

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Coaches and buses caught up on North Parade.

I couldn’t believe how many huge buses were caught up in today’s jams.

It was a regular convoy of one passenger-carrying vehicle after another. Many of them part of the subsidised service which ships students in and out of the city. Both of our universities have been built out of town.

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More jams in West Street.

And while our under graduates get a regular flow of transport to and from academia – the residents of Larkhall district fight to retain their more modest connection with town.

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There is a public meeting tonight – October 26th – at St Saviours Infant School – attended by  James Freeman who is Managing Director of First Bus, and  Cllr Anthony Clark who is B&NES Cabinet member for  transport.

 

Where exactly do you want to ‘park and ride?’

Where exactly do you want to ‘park and ride?’

park and rideThe public consultation on possible sites for a new park and ride to the East of Bath has been opened by Bath & North East Somerset Council.

As part of the consultation and to help residents decide which site they believe the Council should take forward, further details have also now been released about the benefits and challenges of each of the potential sites.

Members of the public are encouraged to share their views by visiting the online consultation page: www.bathnes.gov.uk/eastpandr

The plans for an East of Bath Park & Ride form a key part of the Council’s wider strategy to improve transport, tackle congestion and reduce air pollution levels in and around Bath.

An independent review in 2013 found that there were seven potential sites. Three have been deemed viable.

Cllr Anthony Clarke (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “The consultation is now live on the Council’s website, and we would encourage all local residents to take part and give their views on this important transport project. The three sites which are being put forward to consultation are the ones which have been assessed and identified by the Council’s transport officers as the most viable of the seven originally considered. We do not have a preference for which of these three sites should be taken forward – we want to hear which site residents believe would be the most appropriate location and deliver the most benefit in terms of improving transport.”

The three sites for consultation are:

· Land east of A4/A46 junction

o Benefits: near to the city; would accommodate a large number of cars; visual impact could be reduced by landscaping and planting.

o Challenges: poor existing access to London Road; high risk of flooding; part of the River Avon Site of Nature Conservation Interest; inside City of Bath World Heritage Site and Bath Conservation Area; would create a need to replace the existing playing fields elsewhere.

· Land west of Mill Lane

o Benefits: not considered at risk of flooding; outside City of Bath World Heritage Site; visual impact could be reduced by landscaping
and planting; could service a new railway station.
o Challenges: requires new access from A4; might require access from adjoining site with a tunnel under Mill Lane.
· Land east of Mill Lane

o Benefits: low risk of flooding; outside City of Bath World Heritage Site; visual impact could be reduced by landscaping and planting.
o Challenges: requires new access from A4; would be visible to a number of homes.

Cllr Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip), Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: ““One of our new administration’s top priorities is to improve local transport – making it easier for residents, businesses and visitors to get around our area. Therefore we’re taking action to meet people’s needs for an east of Bath Park and Ride. We’re keen for people to take a look at the potential sites and give us their views to help us to choose the preferred location.

“Our existing Park and Ride sites are very popular with the public and have recently been expanded. But we also need an additional Park and Ride site to the east of the city to improve access from that side and further reduce traffic coming into the centre unnecessarily.”

The consultation includes:

· A brochure and website where you can look at plans for the different sites and compare their benefits and challenges.
· Exhibitions in Bathampton Village Hall (Saturday 19 September – 2.00pm to 6.00pm) and the Guildhall in Bath (Tuesday 22 September – 4.00pm to 8.00pm).
· More exhibitions are planned, see the Council’s website (www.bathnes.gov.uk/eastpandr) for further updates.
· Meetings with parish councils and other interested local organisations.

The consultation will run until early October. At the end of the consultation, officers will analyse the results, which will be put before councillors in November for a decision. Once a preferred site has been chosen it will be included in the Placemaking Plan later this year.

Objectives for the Park and Ride Scheme:
· To reduce congestion within the city
· To improve the city’s environment
· To reduce car use into the city centre and improve the proportion of journeys made by public transport
· To reduce carbon emissions from transport
· To support the city’s economic development and Enterprise Area
· To improve connectivity to support business and growth of the wider region.

There are currently three Park and Ride sites on the edges of Bath, at Newbridge, Lansdown and Odd Down.