Metro Mayor’s first meeting.

Metro Mayor’s first meeting.

A transport strategy for the region and economic growth are two topics that will be discussed when the new Mayor of the West of England, Tim Bowles, chairs his first meeting of the West of England Combined Authority next week.

The public meeting will take place at 9.30am on Wednesday June 28, at BAWA, 589 Southmead Road, Filton, Bristol, BS34 7RG.

Metro Mayor 8 - CB Bristol Design 2017.

L to R. Cllr Matthew Riddle, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council; Metro Mayor, Tim Bowles; Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of B&NES; and Mervyn Rees who is the Mayor of Bristol.

The other members of the Combined Authority are Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council; Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol and Cllr Matthew Riddle, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council.

A Deputy Mayor will be appointed, and members will formally agree on ways of working to ensure the organisation makes the most of the new devolved powers, which will unlock opportunities and funding for the region at a scale not seen before.

Members will discuss progress on how the Combined Authority will prioritise funding to projects that generate economic growth, including funding for skills, business and infrastructure. The meeting will also discuss the terms of reference around transport powers devolved to the Mayor and the West of England Combined Authority, to ensure maximum benefit to local residents.

Mayor Tim Bowles said: “Taking on these new powers, funding and responsibilities from central Government means we can be much more ambitious as a region.

“This is an evolution of the effective joint working that’s been going on across the West of England for many years. By working together we can achieve so much more; together we will make decisions about what is best for our region and its residents, cutting across the divides of council boundaries.”

The preparation of a Joint Local Transport Plan (JLTP) covering the Combined Authority area, and North Somerset, is a key priority. This essential tool will ensure that transport is planned in a way that best meets the needs of the area, ensuring the right infrastructure is in place to support anticipated future growth.

Terms of reference for developing a Bus Strategy and a Key Route Network (KRN) will also be discussed.

The Bus Strategy will review the bus network across Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire, and look at where improvements are needed to help meet the transport and economic objectives.

If the meeting approves the approach, the new JLTP, Bus Strategy and KRN will be drafted and a Strategic Environmental Assessment undertaken.

Details of the meeting, which will be webcast live, can be found at www.westofengland-ca.org.uk

Joint Committee

The West of England Combined Authority will continue to work closely with North Somerset Council, building on a legacy of successful joint working between the four authorities.

This includes the establishment of a Joint Committee between the constituent councils of the Combined Authority and North Somerset Council. The Joint Committee will meet for the first time at 11am, on June 28, at BAWA, 589 Southmead Road, Filton, Bristol, BS34 7RG.

It will discuss the Joint Local Transport Plan, and also consider investment into a series of schemes, through the Local Growth and Economic Development Funds, across the four-authority area.

 

Down to business for new Metro Mayor.

Down to business for new Metro Mayor.

The region’s newly elected Metro Mayor doesn’t intend spending much time behind a desk following his ‘swearing in’ at Bristol’s Engine Shed today (Monday, May 8th).

Metro Mayor 1 - CB Bristol Design 2017.

Tim Bowles said he was very proud to be elected as the very first West of England Mayor: “This is an exciting time for our region as the West of England Combined Authority takes on new powers, funding and responsibilities from central Government.

“This means that as a region we can be much more ambitious – we can make decisions here in the West of England about things that affect our residents every day – decisions about homes, transport, skills for jobs and how we support business to ensure our economy continues to grow.

“Over the coming weeks and months I’ll be going out and about to meet as many people as I can. I’ll be talking to businesses of all sizes, transport operators, our local colleges and universities and community groups, to talk about the challenges we face and how we can work together to benefit everyone across our region.

Metro Mayor 8 - CB Bristol Design 2017.

L to R. Cllr Matthew Riddle, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council; Metro Mayor, Tim Bowles; Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of B&NES; and Mervyn Rees who is the Mayor of Bristol.

Mayor Bowles said he would work collaboratively and constructively with his colleagues in the Combined Authority: Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of  B&NES and Cllr Matthew Riddle, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council.

“I know the three councils have worked together very successfully over many years – I want to build on that track record. Together we will make decisions about what is best for our region, cutting across the divides of council boundaries.

Whilst we appreciate that North Somerset Council is not part of the Combined Authority at this stage, we will continue to work closely with them to ensure we can deliver economic growth for the wider region.

I will (also) work closely with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership LEP’s new interim chair, Steve West, and look forward to him attending the Combined Authority meetings to represent the views of the Local Enterprise Partnership and its members”.

One week to go to Metro Mayor election

One week to go to Metro Mayor election

With a week before polls open in the first ever West of England Combined Authority Mayoral Election, registered voters in Bath and North East Somerset are being reminded to have their say on Thursday 4th May.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 15.56.37

Over 680,000 registered voters across the region will have the chance to choose their candidate to become the first Mayor of the West of England via postal votes or at polling stations when they open at 7am on 4th May.

The West of England devolution deal, worth £1 billion, brings powers and money from national Government with the ability to make local decisions about spatial planning for the region (including where new homes are planned and where investment in new services is needed to support their development), adult education and skills, employment and regional transport.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 15.57.02

Maria Lucas, Local Returning Officer for Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “The 4th May election will give residents in Bath and North East Somerset the chance to make their choice on who will become the first West of England Combined Authority Mayor. I urge all eligible registered voters in the region to exercise their democratic right to vote and cast their ballot on 4th May.”

A booklet has been produced with useful information about the West of England Combined Authority, the mayoral election and the supplementary voting system, and statements from the candidates standing in this election. All registered voters have been sent a paper copy of this booklet as required by law*. An online version can be found at www.wevote.org.uk.

Polling stations will open at 7am on Thursday 4th May and close at 10pm. Voters are urged to check their poll cards for the address of their polling station and allow time to cast their vote.

British citizens, Commonwealth citizens and citizens of the Republic of Ireland, Cyprus and Malta who are registered to vote in the West of England Combined Authority Mayoral Election are also registered to vote in the UK Parliamentary General Election on 8th June. Residents who are not already registered to vote should visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote to register online. The deadline to register to vote in the UK Parliamentary General Election on 8th June is midnight on 22nd May. It is now too late to register to vote in the West of England Mayoral election. 

* One booklet must be distributed to each person entitled to vote at the election. This booklet has been produced in accordance with The Combined Authorities (Mayoral Elections) Order 2017.

For information:

Supplementary Voting System

This election will use the supplementary voting system. Voters will have two votes – one for their first choice candidate and another for their second choice candidate. The ballot paper will list all of the candidates in alphabetical order with two columns next to the names. To select their first choice candidate, voters will mark an “x” in the first column and, should they wish to, an “x” in the second column next to the name of their second choice candidate.

The first choices are then counted and if one candidate has 50 percent of the vote or more, they are declared the winner. If no one candidate has 50 percent of the vote or more, the two candidates with the most first choice votes will remain in the election and the others will be eliminated. The ballot papers for the eliminated candidates are then checked and any second choice votes for the remaining two candidates are added to their first round totals. The candidate with the most overall votes wins.

 

A call to arms. My own point of view.

A call to arms. My own point of view.

Wow. Not totally unexpected but the calling of a General Election is a call to arms for those who haven’t already voted for a return to ‘Little England’.

The Prime Minister must be thinking she can ‘kill’ many ‘birds’ with one electoral stone.

The government is obviously going to carry the Brexiteers with them and will win.

She then becomes an ‘elected’ prime minister who has finally (and hopefully solidly) united the country behind her ‘vision’ for our independent future outside Europe.

She is also – no doubt –  hoping to take the heat out of the simmering issues of Scottish independence and Irish re-unification.

The cherry on the cake would be bringing about Jeremy Corbyn’s final downfall and the further disintegration of the Labour Party.

Cmh2sxNWIAAgnfu

I would like us to work towards creating – with our votes –  a real opposition to fight for a re-connection with the rest of Europe as soon as possible.

We are currently adrift in a democratic dictatorship which is suffocating free speech and poisoning and distorting the truth.

It is no good waiting for a hero – we have to waste no time in nailing our colours to the mast of the political ‘ship’ that can survive the tempests ahead and plot a new course for this country.

I live in a city that voted overwhelmingly to remain in Europe. I hope my fellow citizens will use the Metro Mayor elections to vote for the candidate who most represents their point of view.

As my local chemist told me – just minutes ago – we have got to get the young out for this election. It is their future at stake. Their voice should be heard now and they must realise how their votes will certainly count.

Let’s start the push for change on May 4th and then don’t stop there. Wound this ruling bunch of ‘Empire’ builders and create the political weapon that will eventually destroy them. A real and effective opposition.

Let battle commence!

Let battle commence!

The names of the six candidates standing in the first West of England Combined Authority Mayoral election have been published.

Those standing in the West of England Mayoral election are:

Tim Bowles – The Conservative Party Candidate

Aaron Warren Foot – UK Independence Party (UKIP)

Darren Edward Hall – Green Party

Lesley Ann Mansell – Labour and Co-operative Party

John Christopher Savage – Independent

Stephen Williams – Liberal Democrats

Registered voters in Bath and North East Somerset will have their say on Thursday 4 May on who becomes the first Mayor for the West of England Combined Authority.

Only those registered to vote will be able to have their say in this election and the deadline to register passes at midnight on Thursday 13 April. Registering to vote can be done in minutes online. Visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote with your national insurance number and follow the on-screen instructions.

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 12.13.47

From mid-April, everyone in Bath and North East Somerset who is registered to vote can expect to receive a Mayoral Election booklet which includes information about the election and a campaign statement from those candidates who wished to be included 

The Combined Authority Returning Officer is legally required to produce this booklet for all registered voters. 

The West of England devolution deal worth £1 billion brings powers and money from national Government with the ability to make local decisions about spatial planning for the region (including where new homes are planned and where investment in new services is needed to support their development), adult education and skills, employment and regional transport.

As part of the devolution deal there needs to be a regional authority and an elected regional Mayor.

https-cdn.evbuc.comimages293985942063855865101original

For your information.

Full details of candidates standing in the West of England Combined Authority Mayoral election can be found online at www.wevote.org.uk

Polling stations

Poll cards have been sent to every registered elector in the region. These cards contain information a citizen needs to be able to vote on Thursday 4 May. It will have the date and time of the election and the polling station they will need to visit.

Voters are reminded to check their polling cards carefully as their polling station this year may differ from the one they are used to visiting. Anyone who loses their card and doesn’t know which polling station to visit should go online to www.wevote.org.uk for guidance.

 

New Metro Mayor could get £62,000 annual allowance.

New Metro Mayor could get £62,000 annual allowance.

The West of England Combined Authority, which will manage new powers for transport, housing, adult education and skills, holds its second meeting on March 15, at Armada House, Bristol.

The Combined Authority is made up of Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils. At the meeting, members will agree a budget for 2017/18.

west-of-england-partnership-1-bristol-design

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.

It will also will consider the recommendations of the independent remuneration panel, which recommends that the new West of England Mayor should receive an allowance of £62,000 per annum.

Through the Combined Authority, more decisions will be made locally, with £1bn of investment and transport funding coming from Westminster to the West of England.

In its first year, this will include:

£30 million to deliver infrastructure to boost economic growth.

£20.475 million for highways maintenance and transport improvement schemes.

In addition the Combined Authority is taking part, with the constituent councils, in the Government’s 100% business rate retention pilot, starting 2017/18, allowing the region to benefit from future growth in business rates.

The Combined Authority will deliver an ambitious strategy for the region that will, in its first year, prioritise transport, business and skills. It will build on the success of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which has supported the creation of over 11,000 new jobs; supported 477 businesses and levered in to the region £126m in public sector and £104 million in private sector funding.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-13-31-40

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

Elections for a new West of England Mayor to chair the Combined Authority 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. 

Members of the Combined Authority are Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset 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.

Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol and Cllr Matthew Riddle, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, said:  “The West of England is one of the UK’s most prosperous regions. The new Combined Authority offers us the opportunity to build on this and make it even better for everyone.

“It means that we can be more ambitious, taking collective decisions about what is best for the region, cutting across the divides of council boundaries.

“The new Combined Authority will be lean and efficient, and will make the most of existing resources, avoiding duplication where possible. None of the delivery and running costs of the new Combined Authority will fall on the constituent councils.”

More information about the West of England Combined Authority, including meeting papers, can be found at www.westofengland-ca.org.uk The budget meeting will also be webcast live on the website.

The meeting will take place at Armada House, Telephone Avenue, BS1 4BQ.

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.

IMG_2340.jpg

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.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-13-31-40

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.

screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-13-43-54

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.

west-of-england-partnership-1-bristol-design

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.