Fancy being the new Metro Mayor?

Fancy being the new Metro Mayor?

Fancy your chances at being elected a ‘Metro Mayor’ for the West of England?

This new role has been created as part of the 1 billion pound devolution deal Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire authorities have done with the Government.

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A ‘still’ from the new website.

They have agreed to form a Combined Authority – led by the new West of England Mayor – and the Cabinet will be the Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Cllr Tim Warren, Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees, and the Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, Cllr Matthew Riddle.

The new mayor will be elected on May 4th and there is now a website for finding out more – if you want to stand – or simply understand where the new ‘deal’ will leave us all.

If you are considering being a candidate, please send an email to electoral.candidates@bristol.gov.uk

Everyone that has registered interest in being a candidate will be sent information in early January 2017 and will be invited to discuss the nomination and election process in early February.

The new website can be found on http://www.westofenglanddevolution.co.uk/ 

 

Facing up to economic facts – which way should B&NES look?

Facing up to economic facts – which way should B&NES look?

Are we in or are we out? Sounds like Brexit versus Stronger in Europe – but this time around we are referring to the growing debate about whether or not B&NES signs up to the government’s devolution deal for the West of England.

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Edward Nash, Nash Partnership.

Senior Partner Edward Nash from the nash partnership -an award-winning, multi-disciplinary built environment consultancy with offices in Bath and Bristol – has entered the arena with his own take on the prospects  on offer in this deal, in relation to Bath.

The following is taken from the Company’s website  @ http://www.nashpartnership.com/news/view/the-devolution-deal-whats-in-it-for-bath

 

“Bristol is one of the regional cities strongly identified as a prospect for regional city devolution. The scenario offered by Government is that the four unitary authorities that make up the West of England LEP area be administered as a single metropolitan area under an elected regional mayor.IMG_1712

The Bristol regions need to recognise the city expanded beyond the governance area of Bristol City Council half a century ago. Now, the wider area represented by Bristol City, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset Councils operates as an unusually well-contained travel to work area.

But suspicions exist around the history of the same area serving the unpopular previously imposed Avon County Council in the 1974 local government re-organisation.

The four unitary councils all expect to vote on the recent devolution funding offer in June. It appears that North Somerset is the least keen, and substantial doubt remains about whether Bath and North East Somerset will come in. Both of their unitary areas struggle to hold together their urban and rural constituencies.imgres

If they both hold back from the deal, a metropolitan linking of Bristol City and South Gloucestershire would recognise at last the physical and economic reality of Bristol. But the new authority would not be a city region – just a city.

In this scenario, the two councils with Somerset in their names would have failed to face up to the economic, social and cultural pull of Bristol. Bath would be left in a very uncomfortable position: would it look east, south or west?

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The common sense of the devolution prospect on offer from government is that it allows Bath’s strong economy and its physical relationship with the cluster of west Wiltshire towns to be recognised as the necessary balance to the greater size of Bristol.

There would be much of common interest between South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset in such an arrangement.”

Bowl me over!

Bowl me over!

IMG_4694 Well this was a new one for me. On one edge of the village green at Wick in South Gloucestershire. The remains of the first open-air skittle alley l have ever seen!IMG_4695

I would not think play was possible now but you can still make out the ‘ball run’ at the side of the ‘alley floor’ for returning the skittle balls to the next player after someone has had a go at knocking pins down.

IMG_4698Love to find out more about its origins and indeed – if there are other open air sports facilities like this around our region.

Sad to see nearby mature horse chestnuts affected by the Chestnut Leaf Blotch.

Another unwanted ‘import’ from overseas. Guignardia aesculi was introduced accidentally from North America last century – according to the Royal Horticultural Society‘s website

http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=200#section1

IMG_4697It is very unsightly and on these beautiful old trees has affected production of normal looking conkers and produced ‘sticky bud’ shoots for next year way ahead of their time? It is unfortunately most common in the South West of England.IMG_4696

I was told by people – gathering in the nearby village hall for a charity ‘table sale’ – that the village was seriously considering felling the trees until being reassured  that they were not endangered by the infection.

Maybe it will be worth sweeping up and burning the leaves – as the fungus seems to spend the winter in them.

I was on my way to tackle the Golden Valley Nature Reserve walk with friends. It follows a route around the old ochre quarry extraction and factory site and is very well laid out.IMG_4712

There are a couple of spectacular water-filled quarries in which l hear people do swim. Someone told me one quarry was used by the Georgians!?IMG_4709

There are warning signs about using the waters. So you do so at your own risk.

IMG_4702The site is owned by Cemex and managed in partnership with South Gloucestershire Council. See http://www.goldenvalley.org.uk/index.htm