Wednesday, 13 January 2010

B&NES Job Cuts could mean dirty streets

Liberal Democrat councillors on the Safer Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Pane have warned that the improvements in street cleansing promised for Bath may be impossible if the job cuts which have been threatened in the Council’s Environmental services section actually happen.

Bath City Liaison Forum delivered a very detailed report on improvements to cleansing services in the City of Bath, and these recommendations were accepted by the Cabinet member for customer services.

The services are already being delivered with very limited resources and any reduction in services would not be looked on very favourably by local residents.

Liberal Democrat members will be scrutinising forthcoming budget papers very carefully and ensuring that the Conservative administration does not cut services by the back door.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

No Council priority on transport to school

he transport Cabinet member for B&NES has come under criticism from Liberal Democrat Councillors following his announcement that sorting out transport to schools will not be a priority for the Conservative-run Council next year.

Councillor Nathan Hartley, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on young people, questioned the Cabinet member over school transport at the recent Cabinet meeting; the response was that there are there are “no plans to expand the funding or subsidy of public transport that is used by children and young people to reach school”.

Councillor Hartley (Peasedown St John) said:

“Once again the Conservative-run Council has dismissed this important issue. Sorting out the school run would make a major contribution towards reducing traffic jams and air pollution, but the Conservatives have refused to make it a priority.

“Most people would prefer to use public transport to send their kids to school, but the cost is prohibitive.

“The Council’s scrutiny panel for children’s services recently carried out a review on transport to school; this cross-party panel put in months of hard work on the issue and concluded that funding for school transport should be a top priority in next year’s budget. The Cabinet decided to ignore these recommendations.”

Bath MP Don Foster commented:

“Everyone can tell the difference in traffic levels from term-time to holiday time. It’s about time the Conservative Council started prioritising some common sense solutions to Bath’s congestion problems, rather than wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on a bus road through people’s gardens.

“At the moment we are in the hands of the bus companies when it comes to getting our kids to school; what we need is some political leadership.”

Councillor Caroline Roberts (Newbridge), Liberal Democrat spokesperson on transport, added:

“The Conservatives are showing once again that they have no answers on transport for B&NES. They are only interested in chasing after government finance for new roads and tarmac, whilst ignoring simple ideas which could make a real difference.”

Don Foster MP comments on announcement of Public Inquiry into Bath Transportation package

“Right from the outset I have argued that more research was needed into these proposals. When I spoke at a Council meeting in September 2008 I expressed my concerns that this project had been tackled the wrong way round, and that consultation with residents had been far from adequate.

“However, the Council refused to listen to my concerns and is now faced with the real possibility of losing almost £60million. Had they gone about the task properly right from the start then we wouldn’t be in this situation.

“Congestion is a huge problem in Bath, what we need are some common sense solutions to deal with traffic issues in the city, such as prioritising getting our children on buses to school.”

Residents see red over blue bags

The new blue bags issued by B&NES Council for recycling cardboard are causing headaches across the district, according to Liberal Democrat Councillors.

Cardboard collections were switched from a fortnightly to a weekly rota on 30th November; residents are supposed to use a special blue bag to put out their cardboard and brown paper, rather than putting it out with the garden waste. However the bags have not been delivered to all homes across the district and the Council’s campaign to inform residents about the changes has apparently not reached everyone.
Councillor Caroline Roberts (Newbridge) commented:

“Many people are obviously having problems with the new system, either because they haven’t received their blue bags or because the information about when and how to use them hasn’t got through.

“I have heard reports from across the district – including Combe Down, Widcombe, Saltford and Chew Valley – that blue bags have not been delivered to residents. And where people have not heard about the new cardboard collection bags being put out on the wrong day or have been left lying around in the street as people don’t know what they are for.

“I believe the Cabinet member responsible must take action to ensure that the bags are delivered to all residents as soon as possible; he must also continue with the information campaign about the new services or else there is a risk residents will just give up saving their cardboard.

“The Liberal Democrats have long argued for same day collections for waste and recycling as well for more items to go in the recycling rather than landfill. The weekly cardboard collection should have made life easier for residents, sadly the poor implementation of the changes have lead to confusion and annoyance.”

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Nick Clegg to hold town hall meeting in Bath

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg is inviting the people of Bath to tell him what they think about fixing the economy and rebuilding trust in politics.

Bringing his series of ‘Nick Clegg meets…’ town hall meetings to Bath on Thursday 7th January, Nick Clegg will discuss with local people the issues that matter most to them.

Chaired by local MP Don Foster the meeting is open to everyone to attend to ask any question to Nick Clegg they would like. The meeting will be held at St Michael’s Without, Broad Street from 6.30pm-7.45pm.

Upon becoming Leader in December 2007, Nick Clegg spoke of creating a new type of politics: open, accessible, and helpful in people’s everyday lives. This direct conversation with people is part of that people’s politics – no spin, no hand-picked audiences, and no planted questions.

People will soon be able to register for tickets at

Nick Clegg said:

“I am looking forward to having a discussion with the people of Bath about problems they are facing and how together we can solve them.

“Since becoming leader of the Liberal Democrats I have travelled up and down the country listening to the concerns of thousands of people and families.

“It is now more important than ever for politicians to get out of Westminster and engage with people about how to rebuild our economy and restore trust in politics.”

Commenting further, Bath MP Don Foster said:

“I am sure that the residents of Bath will relish the opportunity to discuss the issues they care most about with Nick.

“I know that Nick will be interested to learn about the problems faced by people, like the need for improved public transport and the nuisance caused by urban gulls.”

Step fixed in lansdown

The broken step highlighted in the last Lansdown Focus has now been fixed, following the intervention of Matt Hemsley the Liberal Democrat Lansdown campaigner. The loose step, which was a serious accident waiting to happen, was pointed out to Matt by a local resident.

After it was pointed out, Matt encouraged the council to act quickly and fix the step, which they have done. However, it is worrying that a step could become so loose before it was fixed.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Wet House - council not listening again

Councillors on Bath and North East Somerset Council had the opportunity tonight to hear statements from members of the public about the proposed hostel and wet house near Kingsmead Square.

However Liberal Democrat Councillors were disappointed when the ruling Conservative Group refused to hold a 10 minute ‘urgent issue’ debate on the topic. One Conservative Cabinet Member even complained that Councillors were using the right to ask factual questions of public speakers as a chance to raise political points.

Councillor Andy Furse (Kingsmead) commented:

“The fact that the Conservative administration refused to allow a debate in public about the wet house and hostel proposal smacks of the secrecy that has surrounded this issue since the start.

“Nearly all the business owners and residents who came to speak mentioned the lack of consultation and engagement from the Council. One might begin to wonder whether there is more information which will impact businesses and the community which is so far being held back. For example I tabled a question to Council tonight and in the answer the Cabinet member refers to a ‘wet garden’ rather than an indoor facility. This is the first we have heard of a ‘wet garden’ and it seems as though the Cabinet member is once again moving the goalposts.

“I do, however, welcome the Cabinet member’s suggestion about ‘commissioning independent research’ into the wet house scheme and I urge him to make sure any research is shared with the public and businesses in an open and transparent fashion.”