CLLR WILL SANDRY AND CLLR SHAUN MCGALL - REPRESENTING OLDFIELD WARD IN THE HEART OF THE CITY OF BATH Weekly Advice Surgeries: First Saturday of the month, 11.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. In the foyer of the Co-op Scala, Shaftesbury Road, Oldfield Park. No appointments needed, just turn up and we'll try and help...

02 August 2008

New web site for Oldfield Ward

Cllr Will Sandry and I now have a new web site.

As well as our normal posts and links there are a number of other pages including information about local services. We are happy to add to this local directory. The new web address is

27 May 2008

Planning Applications in Oldfield Ward w/c 22nd May 2008

All representation must arrive no later than the 12th June 2008.

App Ref: 08/01612/AR
Registered: 6th May 2008
Expiry Date: 1st July 2008
Location: 26A Shaftesbury Road, Oldfield Park, Bath. BA2 3LJ
Grid Ref: (E)373764 - (N)164232
Proposal: Display of externally illuminated no 1 fascia sign and no 1 projecting sign
Planning Case Officer: Rebecca Roberts
Applicant: Consol Suncenter (UK) Ltd, 42 Old Market Street, Bristol. BS2 0EZ
Agent: Hurst Associates, 22 Newbridge Road, Bath. BA1 3JZ

To find out more about this application click here.

All representation must arrive no later than the 12th June 2008.

App Ref: 08/01673/FUL
Registered: 6th May 2008
Expiry Date: 1st July 2008
Location: 26A Shaftesbury Road, Oldfield Park, Bath. BA2 3LJ
Grid Ref: (E)373764 - (N)164232
Proposal: Change of use of ground floor from kitchen showroom to hair salon and solarium (Use Class A1)
Officer: Rebecca Roberts
Applicant: Consol Suncenter (UK) Ltd, 42 Old Market Street, Bristol. BS2 0EZ
Agent: Hurst Associates, 22 Newbridge Road, Bath. BA1 3JZ

To find out more about this application click here.

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12 May 2008

Planning Applications in Oldfield Ward w/c 15th May 2008

All representation must arrive no later than the 7th June 2008.

App Ref: 08/01564/FUL
Registered: 30th April 2008
Expiry Date: 25th June 2008
Location: Preston Cottage, Second Avenue, Oldfield Park, Bath. BA2 3NL
Grid Ref: (E)374005 - (N)164126
Proposal: Erection of a conservatory
Planning Case Officer: Richard Dale
Applicant: Mr J Whittingham, Preston Cottage, Second Avenue, Oldfield Park, Bath. BA2 3NL
Agent: Peter Rouse Design, 26 Clarence Street, Bath. BA1 5NS

To find out more about this application click here.

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05 May 2008

Council administration ignores concerns over care charges

The Cabinet member for Adult Social Services and Housing for on the Council has announced that he will not alter his original decision to implement new charges for home care services despite the call-in of the decision having been upheld.

It is extremely disappointing that the Cabinet member has decided to ignore the recommendations of the call-in panel to phase in care cost increases and allow people who use this service the time to adapt. The Lib Dems have expressed our opposition to these steep increases time and time again at O&S, Cabinet and Council and the Cabinet member has taken no notice.

The Cabinet member will no doubt face criticism for his unwillingness to listen to the call-in panel and indeed for his announcement to the press before the call-in even took place that he did not plan to change his decision no matter what might be said. We are disgusted by his dismissive attitude to the democratically-expressed concerns raised by not only the Liberal Democrat and Labour Groups but also service users and Action for Pensioners. These charges are fundamentally unfair and will hit vulnerable people hard.

Will Sandry said “I have grave concerns about the consultation process that took place before the original decision was made. At the call-in I was unable to find any evidence that the consultation had influenced the proposals on which the decision was made. I am angry that Cllr Pritchard has implemented these huge increases in home care charges, which I think are cruel.”

It concerns us that the Cabinet member has not taken into account the volume of opposition from residents who use these services in this decision, nor the plea from groups such as Action for Pensioners, who asked that a phased introduction of the proposed increases be considered.

Those whom the Cabinet member has deemed able to pay the biggest increases, are likely to be people who have carefully saved for this stage of their lives, and now they will not have any time to prepare for such a steep increase, and may well decide to cut back on services, in order to make ends meet.

We have not been given the detailed facts to support his argument that the proposal of the panel would be more detrimental than the original decision. Local Lib Dems have asked the Cabinet Member last week to furnish us with the actual situation with vacancies at present, but have not received a reply to date.

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28 April 2008

Planning Applications in Oldfield Ward w/c 1st May 2008

All representation must arrive no later than the 24th May 2008.

App Ref: 08/01428/FUL
Registered: 17th April 2008
Expiry Date: 12th June 2008
Location: 9 Moorfields Road, Moorlands, Bath. BA2 2HW
Grid Ref: (E)373753 - (N)163558
Proposal: Erection of a two storey extension
Planning Case Officer: Rebecca Roberts
Applicant: Mrs Karen Box, 9 Moorfields Road, Moorlands, Bath. BA2 2HW
Agent: No Agent

To find out more about this application click here.

All representation must arrive no later than the 24th May 2008.

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27 April 2008

Planning Applications in Oldfield Ward w/c 24th April 2008

All representation must arrive no later than the 18th May 2008.

App Ref: 08/01155/FUL
Registered: 14th April 2008
Expiry Date: 9th June 2008
Location: 133 The Oval, Bath. BA2 2HF
Grid Ref: (E)373532 - (N)163434
Proposal: Erection of pair of semi-detached dwellings on land adjacent to 133 The Oval
Planning Case Officer: Mark Reynolds
Applicant: Mr B & K Stokes, 1 Westfield House, Bloomfield Road, Bath. BA2 2AT
Agent: Gordon Popplewell, 63 Frome Road, Odd Down, Bath. BA2 2PW

To find out more about this application click here.

All representation must arrive no later than the 18th May 2008.

App Ref: 08/01377/FUL
Registered: 14th April 2008
Expiry Date: 9th June 2008
Location: 6 Second Avenue, Oldfield Park, Bath. BA2 3NN
Grid Ref: (E)373909 - (N)164026
Proposal: Installation of rear dormer
Planning Case Officer: David Cox
Applicant: Mr Charlie Ward, 6 Second Avenue, Oldfield Park, Bath. BA2 3NN
Agent: Hetreed Ross, Attika Workspace, Bath Brewery, Toll Bridge Road, Bath. BA1 7DE

To find out more about this application click here.

All representation must arrive no later than the 18th May 2008.

App Ref: 08/01402/FUL
Registered: 16th April 2008
Expiry Date: 11th June 2008
Location: 25 Third Avenue, Oldfield Park, Bath. BA2 3NY
Grid Ref: (E)373877 - (N)164172
Proposal: Erection of a detached garage to the rear and demolition of rear boundary wall
Planning Case Officer: Alice Barnes
Applicant: Mrs Christine M Jones, 20 Eastbourne Avenue, Fairfield, Park, Bath. BA1 6EN
Agent: Mr S F Cruse, 91 Ivy Avenue, Oldfield Park, Bath. BA2 1AW

To find out more about this application click here.

All representation must arrive no later than the 18th May 2008.

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Planning Applications in Oldfield Ward w/c 3rd April 2008

All representation must arrive no later than the 26th April 2008.

App Ref: 08/00847/FUL
Registered: 26th March 2008
Expiry Date: 21st May 2008
Location: 10 Stirtingale Avenue, Bath. BA2 2NQ
Grid Ref: (E)373356 - (N)163274
Proposal: Erection of a conservatory to rear
Planning Case Officer: Richard Dale
Applicant: Mr Rossi, 10 Stirtingale Avenue, Bath. BA2 2NQ
Agent: Alan Joy Windows Ltd, 541 Outmarsh, Seminton Road, Trowbridge, Wiltshire. BA14 6JX

To find out more about this application click here.

All representation must arrive no later than the 26th April 2008.

App Ref: 08/01076/FUL
Registered: 19th March 2008
Expiry Date: 14th May 2008
Location: 29 Englishcombe Lane, Bath. BA2 2EE
Grid Ref: (E)374096 - (N)163205
Proposal: Provision of side and rear dormer windows
Planning Case Officer: Tessa Hampden
Applicant: Mr P Self, 29 Englishcombe Lane, Bath. BA2 2EE
Agent: Western Building Consultants Ltd, Unit 2, Wansdyke Business Centre, Oldfield Lane, Bath. BA2 3LY

To find out more about this application click here.

All representation must arrive no later than the 26th April 2008.

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Disappointment as parking call-in dismissed

Lib Dem Councillors have expressed their disappointment that the scrutiny call-in, which had been organised to look into the increases in parking costs in Bath, has been dismissed.

The panel voted, by four votes to three, to dismiss the call-in, with Conservative Councillors from outside of Bath backing the original decision taken by their Conservative Cabinet colleague. The Cabinet member will now be free to go ahead and implement the decision to apply increases of up to 60% to residents’ permit costs across the city, as well as a number of other changes to parking costs and arrangements.

The call-in panel raised a number of issues around poor consultation and excessive increases to permit costs. Although all Councillors agreed that consultation on this decision had been inadequate, Conservative Councillors appeared more concerned with the state of the Council’s finances than the issue of engaging with those who will be affected.

Councillor Ian Gilchrist (Widcombe), who led the call-in signatories commented:

“I am disappointed that the Conservative and Independent members of the panel did not recognise the merits of the case made to uphold the call-in.

“I thought that the arguments outlining the damaging effects of extending charged times in the city centre to 8pm were pretty compelling, and if they don’t listen to Nod Knowles (Director of Bath Festivals) who will they listen to?

“I am slightly mollified by the apparent concession that Cllr Gerrish has made in the direction of Sunday evening parking, but this still has to be confirmed. If we have achieved even this small bit of good then that is a good thing. Residents will not be pleased at a 60% increase in their annual charges, but I do draw comfort from the thought that we at least did our best to oppose this.”

Cllr Steve Hedges (Odd Down), who sat on the panel, said:

“This really is a kick in the teeth for the democratic process; this decision has been made with complete disregard for best practice in decision-making such as engaging with hard-to-reach groups and the elderly who are often on fixed incomes. The Cabinet member also refused to address the issues raised in the call-in notice, including my concerns around costs of permits for traders, most of whom are small independent businesses who can not afford such huge increases.”

Concerns raised by Nod Knowles as to the impact on the night time economy, were supported by Cllr Roger Symonds (Combe Down), who said:

“Extending car park charging from 6pm to 8pm will have a knock-on effect for all evening and night time businesses in the city centre. How long before this money grabbing administration extends charging until 8pm for kerbside parking as well? It is significant that none of the four councillors who voted to dismiss the call-in live in Bath.”

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Secondary Schools Council Debate: Lib Dem Reaction

The Council met on the 27th March to discuss issues relating to the forthcoming review of secondary school provision. The Cabinet will have to make a decision on schools in May, and last night’s meeting was a chance for issues to be aired and discussed in public by parents, school governors and Councillors. However, as was made clear at the start of the meeting, no decision was taken at this Council meeting.

The motion which was voted upon was not the one published in the Council papers on 17 March, and the unanimous adoption of the motion did not represent a specific endorsement of any particular strategy or plan for secondary school provision in Bath and North East Somerset. The vote served to officially thank the O&S panel for the preparatory work which had already been done and to formally request that Cabinet take account of the points of view raised at Council when making its decision.

Speaking after the Council meeting, Councillor Paul Crossley said: “I was very pleased that the Cabinet member for children gave a commitment to go over the recording of the meeting and ensure that all the points which had been raised will be dealt with. We will be looking closely at the forthcoming consultation and decision process to ensure this is the case”.

A number of Liberal Democrat Councillors spoke in the debate to raise issues which should be considered by the Cabinet. Several spoke of the importance of ensuring the consultation on changes was honest, open and thorough.

Councillor Marian McNeir called for the consultations to be done “in a sensitive way”. Councillor Nigel Roberts called on the Cabinet to make an effort to contact groups “we don’t traditionally get in touch with” and to consider co-location of community facilities, such as libraries, in new schools.

Councillor David Dixon has been involved in a campaign run by parents for better travel to school provision in the area. He spoke of the need to consider transport and that schools provision should be “underpinned by a sound, effective school transport system”.

Councillor Andy Furse focussed on the issue of co-educational schools in Bath, and welcomed an expression of willingness on the part of Oldfield school to go co-ed given that co-ed schools are preferred by 60% of families. He called on the Cabinet to “reconsider its view on Oldfield school in light of the commitment on co-ed given tonight [by the Chair of Governors]”.

Councillor Caroline Roberts also spoke about Oldfield school and the dozens of communications she, and Councillor Loraine Brinkhurst, had received from parents who were worried and confused about the decision making process. She said “many parents feel the decision has already been made and they have missed their chance to speak out”; she also called on the Cabinet to reach out to parents during the consultations and “don’t just expect them to come to you”.

Co-ed is also an important issue for Culverhay school and this was brought to the Cabinet’s attention by Councillor Gerry Curran, who spoke of the length of time for which this had been an aspiration for the school. He asked the Cabinet to “bring forward a package of support for the school to enable a smooth transition to co-ed status”.

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25 March 2008

Have your say on the "Review of Private Rented Housing" by the Government

Following the recent Councillors Campaign for Balanced Communities Annual Conference in Nottingham, we heard from Roberta Blackman-Woods MP (Durham) who is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Balanced Communities.

Roberta explained how valuable it was that the previous Minister for Local Government, Phil Woolas, was supportive of new legislation on HMOs, and what a loss it was that he moved elsewhere with the government re-shuffle last year. She identified institutional resistance to new legislation within the Department for Communities & Local Government. She sees the current review of the Private Rented Sector therefore as especially significant in changing attitudes - and lobbying of this Review as especially valuable.

So we are asking all local residents who want to voice there opinions about the situation in Oldfield Park to lobby the PRS Review.

Write to Dr Julie Rugg (Centre for Housing Policy, University of York), who is one of the academics carrying out the Review (see

I think there are three important points to be made:-

1) HMOs are the problem, not particularly students - it's the transience of HMO occupants which causes problems, whether these are students in university cities like Bath, or benefit claimants in seaside towns, or migrant workers in market towns, etc;

2) One side of these problems is the disruption HMOs cause to community cohesion - communities become unsustainable when a significant proportion of the population is perpetually changing.

3) Another side, equally important, is the fact that HMOs take away family homes at a time of acute housing shortage - to be used instead as seasonal second homes by students (or as temporary accommodation by others).

Write to Dr Julie Rugg at:

Dr Julie Rugg,

The Centre for Housing Policy,

The University of York,



YO10 5DD

Or email her at

We would appreciate you copying in Cllr McGall on:

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Bath Blitz: Memorial Service - 25th April 2008

There will be a memorial service to remember the 400+ citizens killed in the Bath Blitz.

On 2 nights in April 1942 the Luftwaffe bombed Bath. These "Baedekker raids', so called because legend has it that Hitler in anger at Allied bombing raids on German cities, grabbed the Baedekker guide book and flicked through the pages picking out Britain's most beautiful cities for reprisal bombing - Bath was one of those.

2008 will be the 66th anniversary of this event. The service will be conducted at the Memorial Gardens, Shatesbury Road at 7.00 p.m. on Friday 25th april 2008. The gardens, where there was a shelter which suffered a 'direct hit' with much loss of life. Our MP, Don Foster will be attedning. We hope many of you will be able to attend.

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Forthcoming Roadworks in Oldfield Park

To find out more about forthcoming roadworks in the Oldfield Ward please click here.


Planning Applications in Oldfield Ward w/c 27th March 2008

All representation must arrive no later than the 18th April 2008.

App Ref: 08/00776/FUL
Registered: 20th March 2008
Expiry Date: 15th May 2008
Location: First Floor 28 Stanley Road West, Oldfield Park, Bath. BA2 3HU
Grid Ref: (E)373781 - (N)164445
Proposal: Provision of rear dormer window extension
Planning Case Officer: Alice Barnes
Applicant: Mr J Hook, First Floor,28 Stanley Road West, Oldfield Park,Bath. BA2 3HU
Agent: No Agent

To find out more about this application click here.

All representation must arrive no later than the 18th April 2008.

App Ref: 08/00820/FUL
Registered: 18th March 2008
Expiry Date: 13th May 2008
Location: 143 Monksdale Road Moorlands Bath BA2 2JD
Grid Ref: (E)373557 - (N)163711
Proposal: Erection of single-storey rear extension
Planning Case Officer: Rebecca Roberts
Applicant: Mr & Mrs A Orchard, 143 Monksdale Road, Moorlands, Bath. BA2 2JD
Agent: Mr David Minnett, Quarry Rise, Wolfridge Lane, Alveston, Gloucestershire. BS35 3PG

To find out more about this application click here.

All representation must arrive no later than the 18th April 2008.

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Proposals for Secondary schools in Bath and North East Somerset

A strategy to transform Secondary education in Bath and North East Somerset is to be considered by the Council.

The Council will meet on 27th March to discuss proposals which aim to further improve standards in Secondary education and to provide the best possible opportunities for children and young people.

The proposals affect the district’s 13 Secondary schools. They are being put forward following extensive work which has seen the Council engage with schools, governors, parents, pupils and the wider community, to investigate the challenges and achievements experienced by the schools and to then plan for the best possible pattern of Secondary schooling for the future.

A key part of this work was undertaken by the Council’s Children and Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny Panel through its Secondary School Review, published last year.

This report to Council is the result of a thorough review led by Councillor Andy Furse (Kingsmead Ward, Lib Dem) the previous Chair of the Children's Overview and Scrutiny Panel. The recommendations are challenging as no one likes to close schools. However, if we are to give our children the best education that we can we need to persuade the Government to invest in our schools and that means removing excess capacity and focusing on the needs of our own children. The new schools proposed here will enable our children to excel in faciltities fit for the 21st century.

The Strategy sets out options for the future for each of the areas of Bath and North East Somerset.

Proposals for the City of Bath are as follows:

Retain Beechen Cliff School and Hayesfield Technology College as single sex boys and girls 11-18 schools with co-educational post 16 provision.

Retain St. Gregory’s Catholic College as an 11-16 co-educational Catholic school.

Retain Ralph Allen as a co-educational 11-18 school.

Consult on closing Culverhay and re-opening the school as a new 11-18 co-educational Community school or Academy on the current site. This would address the issue of parental demand for a higher number of coeducational places.

Consult on the closure of St Mark’s Church of England and Oldfield schools and opening a new 11-18 co-educational Church of England school in the north of the city. The consultation should determine the site for the school. This would address the issue of parental demand, and also factors including the high number of places at Oldfield School which are currently filled by South Gloucestershire students.

Other proposals have been made for Keynsham and Chew Valley, and Midsomer Norton and Radstock.

Leaflets providing further details about the Strategy and the options have been issued to schools.
The Council will continue to engage with members of the school communities, parents, pupils and the wider community.

Anyone wishing to find out more can also view a copy of the report due to be presented to the Council on March 27 at the Council’s committee papers online

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Lib Dems call-in parking hike decision

Fellow members of the Lib Dem Group on the Council have submitted a call-in on the decision to raise and extend parking charges, including the cost of residents’ permits. The call-in has been verified and the hearing will be held early in April.

Among the changes to be introduced is an increase in the cost of residents’ permit charges in Zones 1-12 of Bath (all except the city centre) from £55 to £88 for a first permit, and from £82 to £130 for a second permit. Councillors in affected wards have been inundated with objections from residents. Apart from the inflation-busting increase of approximately 65%, residents complain that they have seen no justification for this increase and that they have not been consulted about it.

Lib Dem Councillor for Widcombe, Ian Gilchrist, said:

"I have received a huge number of emails complaining about this increase. I am very pleased to be supporting the call-in to try to get the decision reversed. There are parts in these recommendations which are extremely unpopular, but a common complaint is that residents don't feel anyone has asked them about this. I notice that the council claims it has consulted through the Federation of Bath Residents Associations (FedBRA), but that even Alan Morgan, the chair of FedBRA, thinks the decision needs to be rethought. What does consultation mean if you don't listen to what you are told?!"

Lib Dem Councillor Andy Furse, whose Kingsmead ward includes the some of the city centre and various churches added:

"One of the recommendations is to extend car park charging times to 8.00 p.m., including on Sundays! This will have a negative impact on people who want to go to the theatre, cinema or a church service; suddenly they will find they have to have pay for parking on top of the other expenses involved and Bath’s night-time economy is likely to suffer. Also residents’ parking areas close to the city centre will come under increased pressure".

Liberal Democrat Group leader, Cllr Paul Crossley has condemned the proposed changes:

"This is yet another example of how this Conservative-led administration is trying to make up for its budget deficiencies in some areas by hiking fees and charges in other areas. They try to claim credit for a headline low Council Tax rise, and then pile on the pain to residents and visitors through these exorbitant and unwarranted charges which will unfairly affect Bath residents and visitors compared to other parts of the Council area. We hope that this call-in will persuade the Cabinet member responsible to change his mind on these charges – and it will give residents, who feel they have not been consulted, a chance to make their views felt."

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19 March 2008

Planning Applications in Oldfield Ward w/c 20th March 2008

All representation must arrive no later than the 12th April 2008.

App Ref: 08/00643/AR
Registered: 7th March 2008
Expiry Date: 2nd May 2008
Location: St Bartholemews Church King Edward Road Oldfield Park Bath BA2 3PB
Grid Ref: (E)374020 - (N)164074
Proposal: Display of 2no. non-illuminated signs
Planning Case Officer: Alice Barnes
Applicant: Mr Christopher Stillman, St Bartholemews Church, 1 King Edward Road, Oldfield Park, Bath. BA2 3PB
Agent: No Agent

To find out more about this application click here.

All representation must arrive no later than the 12th April 2008.

App Ref: 08/00774/FUL
Registered: 13th March 2008
Expiry Date: 8th May 2008
Location: 147 Englishcombe Lane, Bath. BA2 2EL
Grid Ref: (E)373360 - (N)163349
Proposal: Conversion and change of use from retail/flat to create 4no.self-contained flats to include erection of two-storey rear extension after removal of existing extensions (Resubmission)
Planning Case Officer: David Audsley
Applicant: Mr M Cassidy, CMC Property Ltd, 158A Eden Vale Road, Westbury, Wilts. BA13 3QG
Agent: P Grist, Eversfield House, Station Road, Warminster, Wilts. BA12 9PB

To find out more about this application click here.

All representation must arrive no later than the 12th April 2008.

App Ref: 08/00811/FUL
Registered: 27th February 2008
Expiry Date: 23rd April 2008
Location: Stokes Masonry The Smallholdings, Claude Avenue, Bath BA2 1AF
Grid Ref: (E)373535 - (N)163870
Proposal: Erection of saw shed
Planning Case Officer: David Audsley
Applicant: Stokes Masonry, The Smallholdings, Claude Avenue, Bath. BA2 1AF
Agent: Mr Michael Swinton, 11 Kingsmead Close, Holcombe, Bath. BA3 5DR

To find out more about this application click here.

All representation must arrive no later than the 12th April 2008.

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HMOs and Use Class Orders

On 15 January, Iain Wright MP, Minister for Planning, gave a written answer in the House of Commons: "We propose to consult on possible amendments to the Use Classes Order in relation to HMOs later in the year." Preliminaries to this consultation are now under way. CLG says, "Communities and Local Government have commissioned a short evidence-gathering exercise, being carried out by ECOTEC consultants, which will identify good practice and determine what levers, in addition to planning policy, might be suitable in tackling [HMO] problems."

The first step is a series of telephone interviews by ECOTEC of officers in local authorities, universities and elsewhere including the National HMO Lobby (to which Downstream South and the Bath Federation of Residents Associations are affilated).

These interviews will feed into a series of focus groups in Leeds, Loughborough and Nottingham (and perhaps elsewhere), bringing together council departments, universities, landlords - and community representatives.

In turn the focus groups will inform a HMO Seminar to be held at the CLG on 9 April. A range of stakeholders have been invited to send representatives - local authorities, universities, residents groups, the National HMO Lobby, landlords, the government itself. I understand representatives from Leeds, Loughborough and Nottingham have been invited, and the Chair of the HMO Lobby.
We'll keep everyone posted on progress. We do seem to be making headway at last!

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Clegg: Treatment of Gurkhas a national disgrace

Lib Dem Leader, Nick Clegg today received medals handed to him from Gurkhas who served in the British Army before 1997 and are being denied a full pension and the right to British Citizenship.

Speaking at a protest outside Parliament, Nick Clegg said: "When I told people what you get from the Government in return for the years of brave, loyal, uncomplaining success people simply don't believe it.

"It is quite simply a national disgrace. I am simply saying you should be treated with the respect and honour you deserve as brave soldiers

"I will do everything I can to end this unacceptable and immoral discrimination."

Nick Clegg later tackled Gordon Brown over the issue at Prime Minister's Questions. He said:"Two hours ago a retired Gurkha soldier handed over this medal to me in protest at the Government's refusal to grant him British citizenship.

"Do you know what it means for a loyal British soldier to give up a medal that he won for his long years of service to this country?

"And can you explain to the Gurkhas why on earth you believe that Gurkhas who served in the Army after 1997 are worthy of British citizenship but those who served before that date should be deported?"

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Post Offices closurer update...

We hope that you saw the front page headline article in the Western Daily Press on Monday of this week. If you didn’t, then see it here. Our MP, Don Foster has called on the Post Office to remove Lower Weston Post Office from the consultation. Up to 4,000 new residents will have Lower Weston as their nearest office; it simply does not make sense to take it away.

Don and the local Lib Dem ccouncillors, Dixon and Darracott went out to collect signatures on our petition to Save Claremont Post Office last Friday, and the local community there is stunned. The nearest office may only be half a mile away, but there is a very steep hill in between. It will be elderly and disabled people who lose out.

You may have seen that today there is a debate on Post Offices in the House of Commons, called for by the Conservatives. The Conservatives’ policy consists of a list of potential additional services that can be offered by or through the Post Office. They have no proposals on the future structure of Royal Mail and Post Office Ltd or where investment funds are going to come from. The Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment to this motion outlining our plans for future investment. Don Foster has agreed to give us an update on the debate after the Easter weekend.

Locally we must continue to campaign hard and show the government and the Post Office Ltd how much our Post Offices mean to the local community.

Remember to get your friends to sign the on-line petition at

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17 March 2008

Campaigning for a balanced community in Oldfield Park

As I said in the previous posting, last week I attended the Councillors Campaign for Balanced Communities annual meeting in Nottingham.

85 delegates registered, including councillors, MPs, Council officers and local resident groups and activists from University town and cities from across the country. I was the only person from Bath!

Local residents groups and community activists came from Leeds, Nottingham, Leicester, Canterbury, Southampton, Manchester, Loughborough, Swansea. Locally another Lib Dem Councillor attended from Bristol. Cllr Mark Wright represents Clifton - another area with many HMOs and students.

The morning was was entitled "Perspectives on Balanced Communities". Maya Fletcher (Chair, Nottingham Action Group, aka NAG) spoke about 'getting upstream of the problem' - ie tackling the original causes, rather than mopping up after the event. This is the approach I wish our Council would take. My effects with the Student Liaison Committee tried to do this, but our strategic issues and plans were continually blocked by councillors from our parties on the Council.

Cllr Alan Clark (Nottingham City Council) spoke about his Council's efforts. Mr Richard Tyler, Chair of the National HMO Lobby, used the opportunity to launch the National HMO Lobby's publication Balanced Communities & Studentification.

Derek Goss (Kent Uni, Canterbury) spoke about addressing effects, but in many ways missed the point about loss of balance.

Finally, Roberta Blackman-Woods MP (Durham) spoke about the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Balanced Communities (which she chairs,) and the need for legislation to address concentrations of HMOs (not only student houses). Don Foster MP is a member of this welcomed additional lobbying group in Parliament.

Between the presentations, there was opportunity for questions and discussion - taken up avidly by community reps and councillors.

After lunch, us councillors met separately, and heard presentations on studentification, accreditation, and managing noise & rubbish.

Meanwhile, the residents HMO Lobby held its own meeting, and had their own presentations on noise and waste (Officers from Nottingham City Council). Andrew Crates (Community Planner, Leeds City Council) spoke about the planning framework within which local authorities can adopt policies on HMOs and other relevant issues.

Then, Darren Smith (Brighton Uni, who invented the term 'studentification') spoke on the politics of studentification, arguing for a much more radical approach to the issues [some of which have been taken up by the Lobby]. Again, there was opportunity for discussion.

Richard Tacagni (LACORS) spoke about the benefits of the Housing Act 2004 (which introduced HMO licensing).

The annual meeting then closed with a few words from Cllr Dave Trimble (Nottingham CC) and from Maya (NAG).

At one level, the conference was invaluable for meeting fellow councillors and colleagues and reinforcing the solidarity of the Councillors Lobby - it gives you strength to persevere knowing you are not alone! Also, it was invaluable for exchanging info on what can be done, and what current developments there are - even though some of these are frustrating.

Finally, I think three valuable lobbying opportunities emerged:

#1 Roberta Blackman-Woods MP took up the HMO Lobbies proposals for tripartite delegations to the Ministers for Planning, and for Universities (comprising APPG, CCBC and Lobby) to lobby for action.

#2 Roberta is convinced that the governments current Private Rented Sector Review is crucial, and that further lobbying here is needed. I'll write separately about this.

#3 The launch of Balanced Communities & Studentification gives local residents not only a position statement from the community's point of view, but also a publication which visually demonstrates that the HMO Lobby (and its members which include Downstream South and the Bath Federation of Residents Associations) is a serious organisation.

What do you think? Please let me know.

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Balanced Communities & Studentification

I attended the Councillors Campaign for Balanced Communities Conference in Nottingham on 13 March 2008.

At this conference, the National HMO Lobby launched its new publication, "Balanced Communities & Studentification". This booklet follows publications by universities and by students on students and communities - but this time, it puts the community's point of view. It does three things in particular:-

# it explains what a balanced community is (and why it matters);

# it explains what studentification is - and why it is such a problem for communities; and

# it suggests a Ten Point Plan, which should be adopted by local councils and other stakeholders, to tackle the root problem of studentification.

The booklet is available on the Lobby's website at Please take a look and let me know your views on this important topic for the future of Oldfield Park and the wider city of Bath.

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PACT meeting - Wednesday 5th March 2008

Around 20 local residents and owners of business from Moorland Road attended the recent Partners and Communities Together (PACT) meeting on the 5th March 2008.

These residents and local business leaders spoke about their concerns and issues in Oldfield Park.

The panel members of your local councillors, the local Police team, a representative of Somer Community Housing and an officer from the Council listen to the comments and suggestions for the priorities that should be taken up.

Cllr Shaun McGall had also emailed all Cllr Sandry's and his local residents contacts to ask them for them priorities. Over 20 residents used this opportunity to voice their priorities, which were added to those who were able to attend.

The resulting priorities were:

1) Tackling general misuse of the Shaftesbury Road Memorial Gardens;

2) Reviewing parking and driveways on the Moorfields Estate; and

3) Providing facilities, such as youth clubs for children and teenagers in the area.

The previous public priorities were:

1) Levels of car crime - criminal damage to vehicles in Monksdale Road;

2) Litter - increase road sweeping;

3) Speeding in Third Avenue, Monksdale Road and Hillside Road.

All the partners are now working on how these issues can be tackled and resolved.

Currently no date has been set for the next meeting but it will take place again at 7:00 p.m. at St Alphages Church, Oldfield LaneOldfield Park, Bath.

All members of the public are welcome to attend the next meeting.

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Brougham Hayes: Tempoary prohibtition of left turn on to Lower Bristol Road

The Council has given notice that it intends to make an order the effect of which will be to prohibit any vehicle to make a left turn manoeuvre into Lower Bristol Road from Brougham Hayes.

This order is required because works are to be executed on or near the road consequent upon gas mains replacement works and will be operative from the 7 April 2008 for a maximum period of two months. However, the restriction may not be effected for the whole of the period but it is anticipated that the road will be closed as and when traffic signs are in position and only for so long as is necessary to execute the works which it is anticipated will be for FOURTEEN DAYS.

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03 March 2008

PACT meeting - Wednesday 5th March 2008

Partners and Communities Together (PACT) gives you a chance to meet the team and influence priorities in your neighbourhood.

Register your prioritiesCurrent public priorities were established on 17th December 2007.

1. Levels of car crime - criminal damage to vehicles in Monksdale Road.

2. Litter - increase road sweeping.

3. Speeding in Third Avenue, Monksdale Road and Hillside Road.

Next public meeting5th March 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at St Alphages Church, Oldfield Lane, Oldfield Park, Bath.

All members of the public are welcome to attend...

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All you ever wanted to know about Lib Dem Policy but were afraid to ask!?!

Please find below a link to the Liberal Democrats 2008 Pocket Guide to Policy.

This document summarises the party's key policies at a page per portfolio, and would be useful for local residents wanting to find out more about what the Lib Dems stand for nationally.

This is a public document and is now on the party website. Feel free to forward the link to anybody you think would benefit from it.

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02 March 2008

Locally schools in top 10 nationally

It’s official, our local schools are in the top 10 local authorities for its outstanding Key Stage 3 results.

Cllr Sandry and Cllr McGall are thrilled that we are joint 3rd ranking for science, 8th position in English, and joint 9th in mathematics.

Some three quarters of all 14-year-old pupils in Bath and North East Somerset (actually 76%) attained level 5+ in both English and mathematics in 2007, this is a new measure of achievement and ranks Bath & North East Somerset Council in 8th position, nationally.

Well done to the hard work and dedication of the students, their teachers and families.

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26 February 2008

Lib Dem Parliamentary protest on EU referendum

A decision by the Speaker of the House of Commons to refuse to have a debate and vote on a Lib Dem amendment calling for a referendum on whether to be in or out of Europe has met with an angry response from Bath’s Liberal Democrat MP, Don Foster.

“This is an appalling decision,” said Don. “To deny Parliament the chance to vote on our proposal to allow the public to have a real say on Britain’s membership of the European Union is an outrage. As LibDem Party leader, Nick Clegg MP, has said, ‘It is like allowing the British public to choose their mode of travel without asking whether they actually want to continue on the journey at all.’"

“In the last referendum over 30 years ago, people voted to be in a very different Europe from what we have now. There have, rightly, been many important changes as the European Union has developed and grown in size. But the British people have not had the opportunity to vote on those changes."

“Because of the Speaker’s decision, they will be denied the opportunity to decide whether or not they want to stay in the EU."

“Labour and the Conservatives have colluded to prevent the real referendum on Europe taking place. The Conservatives are proposing a vote on the narrow issue of the Lisbon Treaty. Meanwhile, as the events in the Commons show, the Labour Party is terrified of an open debate on the real issue."

“It’s time for the Westminster establishment to stop being so cowardly over Europe and have an open debate with the country. Liberal Democrats will be proud to lead the case for British membership of the EU.”

Don Foster is encouraging people to sign the petition calling for a real choice on Europe.

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PACT meeting - 5th March 2008

Partners and Communities Together (PACT) gives you a chance to meet the team and influence priorities in your neighbourhood. Register your priorities

Current public priorities were established on 17th December 2007

1. Levels of car crime - criminal damage to vehicles in Monksdale Road.

2. Litter - increase road sweeping.

3. Speeding in Third Avenue, Monksdale Road and Hillside Road.

View previous priorities

Next public meeting

5th March 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at St Alphages Church, Oldfield Lane, Oldfield Park, Bath.

All members of the public are welcome to attend...

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Lib Dems press for stronger carbon emissions targets

Liberal Democrat energy spokesman Lord Redesdale moved an amendment to strengthen the Government’s Climate Change Bill. The Bill sets out a target of reducing CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050. Lord Redesdale proposed raising this target to 80%.

Lord Redesdale argued that this was needed to reflect the responsibility of the UK as one of the first industrial nations and to provide an opportunity to gain a technological advantage in modern technologies.

Moving his amendment, Lord Redesdale said: “We should not look at moving up to an 80 per cent level as a problem; it is an opportunity. If we are to move to a low-carbon economy, we must look at adapting all our technologies. If every country in the world were also honour-bound to meet those obligations, it would give us a position in the market place that would be extremely helpful. We need only look at the Danes taking on the wind turbine industry to see that we missed out significantly in that area.”
For more information on how the Lib Dems want to make Britain carbon netural, please click here.

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Troubled train firm to spend £29m

Thanks to sustained presure from commuter groups, local councillors and councils, and MPs include our own Don Foster, First Great Western is to pay for more trains and better passenger compensation after poor service on lines to Wales and the West Country.

The Swindon-based train operator agreed the £29m investment package the Government issued a remedial notice against train company for breaching its franchise agreement. Extra drivers and guards will be recruited to resolve a staff shortage. Last month, the company came bottom of a passenger satisfaction league table and a Bristol rail user group staged a fare strike protest. FGW has announced that five extra 3-carriage trains will be leased for the troubled Cardiff to Portsmouth service. Compensation for delayed passengers next year will increase by half, on top of the doubling of compensation already announced for this year.
There will be extra discounted tickets available, better information systems and £4m will be spent on staff training.

Lib Dem Shadow Transport Secretary, Norman Baker MP said: “First Great Western services have been a disgrace in recent months and the Government is right to take action. The company can in fact think itself fortunate that it has not had its franchise removed entirely, particularly as it has now admitted to misreporting figures. The remedial plan which has been agreed with the Government represents a final warning for the company and any breach of this will qualify as a default and the contract will indeed be terminated. I welcome the passenger benefits included in this package, including the 500,000 extra cheap off-peak tickets, the extra rolling stock for the Portsmouth to Cardiff line, the refurbishment of Thames Valley commuter trains, and the provision of better passenger information. But the company must now deliver on these promised improvements. They have a last chance to get it right.”

Cllr McGall would like to thank all those local Oldfield Park commuters who have emailed him with the comments and stories about the poor service on the line servicing Oldfield Park Station. We need to keep up the pressure on FGW to ensure they keep their eye on the ball and offer commuters a service fit for the 21st century.

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25 February 2008

Public invite to the Election of Mayor Ceremony - Saturday 17th May 2008

request the pleasure of your company at the

Annual General Meeting & Election of Mayor Ceremony

at the Bath Abbey on Saturday 17th May 2008

11.00 a.m. to 12 noon

Members of the public are asked to arrive at Bath Abbey to be seated by 10.40 a.m..

If you are not able to attend the Ceremony you may like to watch the Civic Procession led by the City Swordbearer, Macebearers, Mayor, Charter Trustees and Honorary Aldermen of the City of Bath in their robes together with Mayors of neighbouring Towns and Cities. This will leave the Guildhall at 10.40 a.m. and return at 12 noon.

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7.56% is real tax increase in Council budget

7.56% is the real tax increase residents are facing this year. Directly, residents are going to be charged a 3.95% Council tax increase. However, with all of the hikes in other fees and charges and the introduction of new fees planned by the Conservative Cabinet, the real figure is 7.56%.

New and increased charges in this budget include: the introduction of charges for on-street parking for disabled drivers; increases in charges for services for older people; an increase of 56% for residents’ parking permits; increases in park and ride fares; extensions to other car park charges; and a 10% increase in garden and bulky waste charges.

This Conservative budget appears to have a low Council tax rise, but when all the other charges and fees are taken into account, the real burden on residents is much higher.

The budget will hit vulnerable people with high charges; it will punish drivers, without improving traffic flows; it will delay, put off or abandon important environmental measures, such as same-day collection and extending recycling; and it will exacerbate problems through cuts to the Council’s youth and other services.

The Liberal Democrats believe this Tory budget of service cuts and increased charges is fundamentally flawed. We have fought hard for improvements, and will be proposing an amendment which is intended to reduce the burden on older people and the vulnerable, to help protect services for young people and to put environmental protection high on the agenda.

By trying to claim a low Council tax increase on the one hand and introducing new fees and increased charges on the other, the Tory Cabinet is driving our authority into the sand, putting its head in after it and blaming everyone else.

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Council votes to get rid of bottled water

A Liberal Democrat motion calling on the Council to stop buying bottled water for its meetings and offices and to use tap water instead was adopted last week.

This motion was an initiative by the Liberal Democrat Group and we were delighted that it gained the support of Councillors from other Groups. The Council has established a principle against the purchase bottled water and can now move forward to look at the implementation of this motion.

We have been working on this issue for several months and the adoption of this motion is very timely, given that within the last fortnight major campaigns have been launched encouraging people to drink tap water and ask for it in restaurants.

The Council should not be spending public money on bottled water when we have perfectly good tap water, which is hundreds of times cheaper, does not need to be transported and does not need the packaging which must be recycled or ends up in landfill or as litter.

There are great concerns about the wider issues such the effect it has on the water systems of areas where bottling takes place and the marketing strategies of bottled water companies. Our Council has taken a lead on this issue, to do something practical locally and set an example.

Councillors voted 32 in favour to 29 against the motion, sadly the Conservative Group did not support the final motion.

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Bath Councillors appalled by Post Office hit list

The Post Office Network Change list for Bristol and Somerset has been revealed in the press a few days ago. Four Bath Post Offices are down for closure. Thankfully at this time Moorland Road Post Office is safe. However, Cllr Sandry and McGall are campaigning with Don Foster MP and other local Lib Dem councillors against the Government plans for the city as a whole.

Local people in Walcot will certainly be outraged to hear the Government is planning to close their Post Office. It is a focal point of local life in the community and certainly contributes to keeping the Camden Road shops busy. We urge Oldfield Park residents to support the campaign to save Bath’s Post Offices across the city, and to sign the petition here.

Across the City in Newbridge, Councillor Caroline Roberts (Lib Dem, Newbridge) who is a regular patron of the Lower Weston Post Office, said: “After the closure of Yomede Post Office, local people were hoping that the Lower Weston Post Office on Newbridge Road would be safe. Since the closure of Yomede, elderly people in Newbridge area have already had to take the bus to get to Lower Weston. The nearest Post Office will now be in Weston Village – which is not on a bus route – or the city centre. The future of the very popular shop attached to the Post Office is now in jeopardy.”

Closer to Oldfield Park, the Government is proposing to close the Post Office on Bear Flat. Fellow Lib Dem Councillor Marian McNeir (Lyncombe) stated: “I just don't believe this. Bear Flat is a vibrant shopping area and many people depend on being able to walk to the local shops, including the Post Office. It is an essential part of our daily lives and I think it is ridiculous to expect local residents to drive or take a bus into the town centre – this could be impossible for elderly people and young families. Why should they have to have this type of inconvenience when we have a successful Post Office on our doorstep? This is a backward step which does nothing to help local people. I call on the govt to reconsider.”

Our Member of Parliament, Don Foster, is concerned that the social importance of Post Offices is being ignored by the Government. These closures do not take into account the knock-on effect on other shops in the local community. It will be the elderly and vulnerable who are most affected by these closures as they may struggle to travel the extra distance to important services.

Please sign the petition here.

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Planning Applications in Oldfield Ward w/c 28th February 2008

All representation must arrive no later than the 22nd March 2008.

App Ref: 08/00426/REG03
Registered: 22nd February 2008.
Expiry Date: 18th April 2008.
Location: Allotments, Monksdale Road, Moorlands ,Bath. BA2 2JD
Grid Ref: (E)373515 - (N)163794
Proposal: Provision of disabled parking, disabled compost toilet and construction of raised allotment beds.
Planning Case Officer: Tessa Hampden
Applicant: Bath & North East Somerset Council, Guildhall, High Street, Bath. BA1 5AW.
Agent: Property Services, Bath & NE Somerset Council, Northgate House, Upper Borough Walls, Bath. BA1 1RG

To find out more about this application click here.

All representation must arrive no later than the 22nd March 2008.

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21 February 2008

Appeal Decision - 3 Cedar Grove, Englishcombe Park

The Planning Inspectorate has allowed the appeal against the Council's decision to refuse planning permission for a single new dwelling to be built in rear garden of existing property at 3 Cedar Grove, Englishcombe Park.

For more information please contact Cllr Sandry or Cllr McGall.

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Genesis Charity centre under threat

The Genesis Trust is a charity which has worked with disadvantaged people in Bath since 1990, providing soup runs and a lunch kitchen, training, life skills and reintegration into employment.

The Trust has been renting the Old Labour Exchange in the city centre from the Council, and has found it an ideal location from which to run its workshop projects and furniture shop, together with the training projects and as an administrative base.

However the Council has confirmed it has plans to put the building on the market in April. As far back as October 2007, The Somer Housing Group, in partnership with The Genesis Trust, had put forward an innovative proposal to develop the premises into affordable housing, together with a ground floor base to accommodate The Genesis Trust. The Council has never formally responded to the proposal, and only revealed their plans last week in answer to a question Cllr Beath tabled.

We believe the valuable work, training and care of disadvantaged people in the community undertaken by the Genesis Trust, goes a long way towards fulfilling some of the Council’s major priorities and objectives. We should give them every support.

The proposal from the Somer Housing Group to purchase and sensitively restore this much loved building is surely one which would gain community support. The provision of low cost / supported housing in the city centre, together with a permanent base for the work of Genesis, is much needed.

The Genesis Trust does a great job in the city, and their proposal with Somer Housing would be an excellent use of this historic building. we are sure local businesses and residents do not want to see more bar and bistro-type development here, and would welcome a more permanent home for The Genesis Trust. We should be supporting initiatives like theirs.

City MP Don Foster also gave his support to the Genesis Trust proposal after visiting the premises with Councillor Beath (Lib Dem, Combe Down) on the morning on the 11th February to hearing all about the work of the Trust.

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"No waiting at any time" parking restrictions

On the 13th February the Council made the following order as modified, under provisions contained in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 as amended, the effect of which will vary ‘no waiting at any time’ parking restrictions and increase the time for limited waiting from 20 minutes to 30 minutes in certain roads in Bath. The affected roads include Ashford Road and Cotswold Road.

Any queries contact Michael Harper on 394203 who will pass them on to the instructing officer.

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Resurfacing of Oldfield Road

Oldfield Road (B3111) is due to be resurfaced on Saturday 1st, Sunday 2nd and Saturday 8th March between the hours of 0800 - 1700 hours both on the Saturdays and Sunday. This means the temporary closure of the road during the works hours.

Diversions will be in place.

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Planning Applications in Oldfield Ward w/c 31st January 2008

All representation must arrive no later than the 23rd February 2008.

App Ref: 08/00060/FUL
Registered: 24th January 2008
Expiry Date: 20th March 2008
Location: 6 Second Avenue, Oldfield Park, Bath. BA2 3NN
Grid Ref: (E)373909 - (N)164026
Proposal: Erection of a single storey rear extension and installation of a rear dormer
Planning Case Officer: David Cox
Applicant: Mr And Mrs Ward, 6 Second Avenue, Oldfield Park, Bath. BA2 3NN
Agent: Hetreed Ross, Attika Workspace, Bath Brewery, Toll Bridge Road, Bath. BA1 7DE

To find out more about this application click here.

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Council implements Lib Dem waste policies

The announcement that the Council will be moving towards same-day collections and food waste collections is to be welcomed.

Councillors Sandry and McGall welcome the proposed introduction of food waste collection and the same day collection of waste and recycling. These are proposals which the Lib Dems initiated in the period 2005 to 2007 and we are pleased to see them moving towards implementation, albeit with some delay – the plans that Cllr Curren (Lib dem, Twerton) was working on would have brought in these new arrangements this Spring.

On the whole, same day collection will simplify things for residents who may currently have three different collection days. However there is also the downside that in some places it clutter on busy pavements or in important visitor areas could be a problem – Lib Dem Councillors will be asking the Cabinet how they plan to address this potential problem.

We will also be asking the Cabinet to reveal more details about of the timescale of the implementation or the details of how the food waste will be collected – for example, we will be wanting to know what type of vehicles will be used, where the food waste will be taken for composting (our waste should not be being transported long distances) and what will happen to the compost produced! We also want to know what equipment will be provided to residents - the Liberal Democrats believe that biodegradable liners for food bins and counter-top caddies would help ensure that the food waste collection is convenient and hygienic.

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16 February 2008

Pensioners Bus Pass Scheme:- New arangements

i) The new scheme starts of the 1st April 2008.

ii) A new card will be required - Temporary cards will be issued to residents if the Council's own cards are not ready in time, though there is believed to be a low risk of this happening.

iii) In the existing Diamond card area (i.e. the former Avon area) the start time will remain at 9.00 a.m. but outside the area it will be 9.30 a.m.

iv) The new passes will apply to all local bus services in England. Seperate schemes will operate in Wales and Scotland and they are not interchangable.

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Bath Half Marathon news about parking

The Council will be enforcing the parking restrictions for this year’s Nationwide Bath Half Marathon on Sunday March 16.

Now in its 27th year, the Bath Half Marathon is one of the longest established and most popular city centre road races in the UK, and the largest mass-participation sporting event in the city, this year attracting 15,000 registered entrants (40% from the Bath area), and an estimated 10,000 spectators.

Parking suspensions will operate on designated alternative access routes for ambulances and buses in Oldfield Park, Bathwick, Walcot and Newbridge.

Any vehicles remaining parked on designated streets during these hours will be removed. These restrictions will apply to all vehicles (except emergency services and authorised event vehicles) including residents parking permit holders, disabled and pay and display parking. Warning notices will be placed on the affected parking bays and streets before the event.

Arrangements for parking enforcement for the 2008 half marathon have been changed as a result of the detailed review and consultation carried out after each year’s race. This year, enforcement and vehicle removals will be carried out by the Council following the Council’s recent adoption of towaway and clamping powers. Notice to residents has been increased, a formal appeal procedure introduced, and costs for offending motorists will also be increased by the introduction of a £60 fixed penalty notice in addition to the previous removal charge of £105.

So please look out for the routes and to prepare for the restrictions. The Bath Half Marathon is an important date in the fundraising and sporting diary and I am pleased that the Council is able to support it. We would like to thank residents living on the route of the race for their understanding. This year thanks to the pressure from local residents and councillors, the Council is giving people greater advanced notice of the event, and we hope this will help to minimise disruption for as many people as possible and ensure that the day is a success for everyone.

More information about the half marathon road closures can be obtained from the council website at the Bath Half Marathon ( pages by phoning the race enquiry line on 01225 422255 during working hours – including race day, or by e-mailing

For specific advice about disabled people's or carers access during the half marathon please contact the race enquiry line. For further information on race day check out the updated traffic reports on Bath GWR FM radio.

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23 January 2008

Nick Clegg sets out his vision for a people's health service

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg today outlined his vision for the NHS, setting out plans to give communities genuine control over local health services, freed from Whitehall, and providing for older people with personal care needs. The proposals update Liberal Democrat policy on personal care for the elderly based on the projections of the 2006 Wanless report on the future needs for social care in England. The Policy Paper, which will go to the Party’s Spring Conference in March, details:

  • Introducing a ‘Care Guarantee’ by spending £2 billion on a personal care payment for all elderly people requiring care, based on need and not their ability to pay. It would also set out carers’ rights including the right to complain about unsatisfactory care.

  • A ‘Patient Contract’ guaranteeing every citizen access to a high standard of core healthcare entitlements within maximum waiting times. To make sure that the NHS delivers, patients would have the right to receive private treatment, paid for by the NHS, if the waiting time was not met.

  • Directly elected local Health Boards instead of unaccountable Primary Care Trusts. This would put people in charge of decisions about their local health services.

  • Roll out the use of direct payments and individual budgets for people with chronic, long term conditions, for mental health services and support for those with learning disabilities.
  • For more information on the Lib Dem's vison for a people's health service, please click here.

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    “Grave concerns” over increase in Home Care charges

    Cllr Will Sandry, a members of the Council's Healthier Communities and Older People Overview and Scrutiny Panel has commented on this weeks meeting when he questioned the proposed 74% increase in Home Care charges.

    The Lib Dem Councillors on the Panel accepted that service users should pay the actual cost of the care they receive, providing that they are in a position to pay for it. However Will had grave concerns that this proposed immediate increase of 74% will place up to 90 service users in a very difficult financial position.

    Will and the other Lib Dem members wanted to instruct Conservative Cabinet Member, Cllr Vic Prichard, not to increase the charges by 74%, but unfortunately the Overview and Scrutiny panel does not have that authority. The Liberal Democrat Group was unable to support the draft recommendations and as a result of this the Overview and Scrutiny panel did not move to a vote and will therefore formally "express concerns" over the proposed increase.

    Cllr Vic Prichard was at the meeting and is therefore now fully aware of the strength of our concerns.

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    21 January 2008

    Appeal Decision - Land rear of 25-32 Sladebrook Avenue

    Thanks to the efforts of local residents working alongside local councillors the Planning Inspectorate has dissmissed the appeal against the Council's decision to refuse planning permission on land rear of 25-32 Sladebrook Avenue.

    The main issues were–
    (i) The effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance
    of the surrounding area; and
    (ii) The impact of the proposed access on the safety of highway users.
    The effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding area

    The Inspector stated, "Although I consider that the proposed development would not materially harm the safety of other highway users, this does not outweigh my conclusions that the loss of this open land would materially harm both the context of the local landscape and the setting of the World Heritage Site thus unacceptably affecting the character and appearance of the surrounding area. Therefore, for the reasons given above, I conclude that the appeal should be dismissed."

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    Incinerator U-turn Welcomed

    Local Liberal Democrats are welcoming a change of heart by the Conservative-run Cabinet on the Council regarding the proposal to build an incinerator for non-recyclable waste in the West.

    Liberal Democrats from across the former Avon area have been campaigning against the incinerator plans, being considered by the West of England Waste Partnership following a public consultation which has been described as ‘flawed'.

    Liberal Democrats called on the Cabinet member responsible for waste to oppose the incinerator, in line with the Council's policy on zero waste, but the Cabinet member refused to make his position known. In a statement today the Cabinet member confirmed that the Council opposes mass-burn incineration and that the other members of the Waste Partnership had been informed that this Council could not participate in such a scheme.

    This statement from the Cabinet member signals a victory for the Liberal Democrat and Friends of the Earth campaign against the proposal for mass burn incineration. We very much welcome this u-turn by the Tories and we are pleased that Cllr Charles Gerrish has acknowledged our part in the effective campaign against this expensive, unsustainable proposal. Mass burn incineration is now 'dead in the water'.

    The recent Zero Waste Week showed what achievements are possible for waste reduction. We must now start working with the commercial sector to ensure that these waste streams are minimised as well. It would be fantastic if all our pubs, restaurants and shops could sign up to Zero Waste. The less total waste heading for landfill from all sources the less chance we have of anyone considering incineration in the West.

    We still however need to pursude Labour controlled Bristol and Tory controlled South Gloucestershire and North Somerset Council's of this view, therefore please still do sign our petition.

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    Planning Applications in Oldfield Ward w/c 24th January 2008

    All representation must arrive no later than the 15th February 2008.
    App Ref: 08/00129/FUL
    Registered: 11th January 2008
    Expiry Date: 7th March 2008
    Location: 39 Second Avenue, Oldfield Park,Bath. BA2 3NN
    Grid Ref: (E)373945 - (N)163971
    Proposal: Conversion of loft with rear dormer
    Planning Case Officer: Hazel Short
    Applicant: Mr Jonathon Mayman,39 Second Avenue, Bath.BA2 3NN
    Agent: Western Building Consultants Ltd, Unit 2, Wansdyke Business Centre, Oldfield Lane, Bath. BA2 3LY

    To find out more about this application click here.

    All representation must arrive no later than the 15th February 2008.

    App Ref: 08/00130/FUL
    Registered: 11th January 2008
    Expiry Date: 7th March 2008
    Location: 62 Faulkland Road, Oldfield Park, Bath. BA2 3LT
    Grid Ref: (E)373777 - (N)164119
    Proposal: Installation of a rear flat roof dormer
    Planning Case Officer: Tessa Hampden
    Applicant: Ms Sharon Found, 62 Faulkland Road, Oldfield Park, Bath. BA2 3LT
    Agent: Attic Life Ltd, Unit 5B, Charmborough Farm, Charlton Road, Radstock. BA3 5EX

    To find out more about this application click here.

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    20 January 2008

    Use-class Orders - Controlling the spread of HMOs

    As you will know Cllr Shaun McGall and fellow Liberal Democrat Councillors in Bath and across the country have been campigning for years to get central Government to give local Councils the powers to make landlords apply for planning permission to convert a 'family' home into a privately rented property, where that is for students, nurses, or young professional.

    The National HMO Lobby (which includes the Bath Fed. of Residents Associations), the Councillors' Campaign for Balanced Communities (includes Cllr Shaun McGall) and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Balanced and Sustainable Communities (includes Don Foster, MP for Bath) have been lobbying for this and to bring English law into line with that of Northern Ireland.

    The Secretary for State for Communities and Local Government, Iain Wright MP, replied to a parliamentary written question on the 15th January 2008, stating:

    "Under existing planning regulations, the conversion of a dwelling house into bed sits may require planning permission, depending on the characteristics of the proposed domestic arrangements and whether these are deemed to result in a material change of use. The Government recognise that there may be instances where the use of dwelling houses in group occupation may have adverse impacts upon the character and amenity of existing neighbourhoods. We intend to conduct further research into the extent of this problem and possible ways of addressing it. There may be a case for amending the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 to strengthen the ability of local planning authorities to control the proliferation of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). We propose to consult on possible amendments to the Use Classes Order in relation to HMOs later in the year."

    This is a great step forward and local Liberal Democrats will be encouraging as many local residents and interested parties to respond to this consultation when it occurs later in the year.

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    Report non-registered privately rented houses

    Finally the Council has agreed to take a hard line with landlords of houses in multiple occupation (e.g. flats, bedsits and shared houses) that have failed to come forward and become licensed, as required by the Housing Act 2004.

    The legal requirement to licence certain types of houses in multiple occupation came into force on the 6 April 2006 and since that time the Council has been processing and issuing licences for these properties. To be licensed, the property must be free from serious hazards, be well managed by a ‘fit and proper’ manager and have adequate amenities and facilities for the number of people living there. There is a five yearly charge for being licensed, which for a building with five units of accommodation is currently £340.

    Thankfully, the Council is now starting to concentrate on those landlords that have not licensed their properties. Those landlords who have not come forward to licence their properties and have had to be tracked down by the Council will be charged an additional £100 on their licence fee. This sum will cover the cost of the work in trying to identify them.

    Landlords can also be prosecuted for not licensing their properties. Currently the maximum fine for failing to licence a property is £20,000. We hope the Council will take prosecution action where appropriate. A landlord may also be ordered to repay the rent to the tenants for the period the property was without a licence.

    Landlords have a responsibility to ensure that the appropriate standards are met and however, we know there are landlords who have not yet contacted the Council and this crackdown will help identify those properties which are not up to standard.

    Do you know of any privately rented house in Oldfield Park which you feel should be licensed as it is three stores high (including a basement, or a loft conversion)?
    Please report this property to the Council's Housing Services on 01225 396269.

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    Save Moorland Road Post Office

    Sign up to support our campaign against any further Post Office closures in Bath which could affect our Post Office here on Moorland Road. The government consultation for our area begins in February 2008, and our Post Office could be under threat.

    Please sign our petition against any further closures here.

    The state of the post office network

    The Post Office network is crumbling. Over the last two decades, post offices have been closing at a rate of over 300 a year. Under the last Conservative Government, 3,500 local post offices closed, and under Labour another 4,000 have closed, hitting communities across the country. And, with the news of another 2,500 closures, things are set to get even worse.
    The Government's policy to avoid “unnecessary” rural Post Office branch closures came to an end in March 2006. This policy has previously slowed down the rate of closure in rural areas.

    And the Government has announced that it will not extend its contract beyond 2010 for pension and benefit payments using the Post Office Card Account, worth £1 billion of income for post offices between 2003 and 2010. A replacement will be put in place but the competitive tender process means that the Post Office could lose this work altogether. The likelihood is that, while the Government ducks the long term decisions necessary to secure the future of Post Offices, 12,000 post office branches (urban and rural) will close.

    Why this matters

    Post offices are the lifeblood of communities in both rural and urban areas, particularly when they are combined with other services, such as the local shop. When the local post office closes other services often follow suit, which can be devastating for the community. It is vital that the true social value of this network is included as well as its economic value when looking at the long-term future of this valuable network. Post Offices in rural areas play a particularly crucial role. They have an ‘existence value’ similar to the local school or village pub. They also provide vital face-to-face access to government, postal and commercial services for communities which may not have, for example, a local bank branch.

    Research for Postwatch in 2004 showed that:

    75% of those surveyed felt their local post office was ‘extremely important’
    59% thought it was ‘essential to their way of life’
    91% agreed it played an ‘important role in their local community’
    86% felt that losing a Post Office means ‘a lot of people lose their independence’
    27% found it difficult to get to another post office when their local one closed

    These figures increased among the elderly or those with disabilities affecting their mobility.
    Action is needed by the Government now to prevent the mass closure of post offices occurring.
    Only the Liberal Democrats have a plan which can save the post office network.

    The Liberal Democrat plan

    Following the passing of the new policy at Harrogate Conference in March 2006, we are the only party to have a costed and credible set of proposals to keep post offices open and, where necessary, to open others. Our opponents have no such policy.

    Our plan keeps the Post Office Ltd in the public sector and enables Royal Mail employees to get a share in their company through a radical employee share ownership Trust, similar to the John Lewis Partnership. Royal Mail will take a new ownership model, with the sale of some of its shares providing the investment needed by our post offices.

    The Liberal Democrat plan would enable us to –

    Open new post office branches where they are needed
    Keep the Post Office in the public sector
    Make the Royal Mail into a successful company, with new investment freedoms
    Give Royal Mail staff a guaranteed stake in their company through employee share holding and participation
    Protect and improve the service to customers that provides a daily delivery at a uniform price across the country

    You can find out about the proposals in more details by reading our background paper on the policy.

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    14 January 2008

    No mass Burn Incinerator

    Please help us in our campaign to put a stop to the planned construction of a Mass Burn Incinerator in Bristol.

    The construction of the Incinerator would be a major backward step in our efforts to make Bristol and Bath area, a Cleaner and Greener place to live.

    For more information and to sign our petition please click here.

    Find out more at the Friends of the Earth website.

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    Planning Applications in Oldfield Ward w/c 17th January 2008

    All representation must arrive no later than the 10th February 2008.

    App Ref: 07/03722/FUL
    Registered: 13th December 2007
    Expiry Date: 7th February 2008
    Location: 12 First Avenue, Oldfield Park, Bath. BA2 3NW
    Grid Ref: (E)374018 - (N)163953
    Proposal: Erection of a single storey infill extension to rear and lower garden level to form patio
    Planning Case Officer: Richard StottApplicant: Mr Clive Skinner, 12 First Avenue, Bath. BA2 3NW
    Agent: Western Building Consultants Ltd, Unit 2, Wansdyke Business Centre, Oldfield Lane, Bath.BA2 3LY

    To find out more about this application click here.

    App Ref: 07/03736/FUL
    Registered: 14th December 2007
    Expiry Date: 8th February 2008
    Location: 11 First Avenue, Oldfield Park, Bath. BA2 3NW
    Grid Ref: (E)374020 - (N)163957
    Proposal: Erection of a single storey infill extension to rear
    Planning Case Officer: Richard Stott
    Applicant: Mr Christopher Fry, 11 First Avenue, Bath. BA2 3NW
    Agent: Western Building Consultants Ltd, Unit 2, Wansdyke Business Centre, Oldfield Lane, Bath. BA2 3LY

    To find out more about this application click here.

    App Ref: 08/00114/FUL
    Registered: 7th January 2008
    Expiry Date: 3rd March 2008
    Location: 133 Englishcombe Lane, Bath. BA2 2EL
    Grid Ref: (E)373419 - (N)163340
    Proposal: Erection of a detached dwelling
    Planning Case Officer: Mark Reynolds
    Applicant: Mr Roy Newport C/o Agent
    Agent: LPC (Trull) Ltd, Trull, Tetbury, Gloucestershire. GL8 8SQ

    To find out more about this application click here.

    All representation must arrive no later than the 10th February 2008.

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    13 January 2008

    Taxpayers must not subsidise nuclear power

    The Government has given the go-ahead to a new generation of nuclear power stations, which is a flawed decision based on a sham consultation - we all know that ministers made up their minds long ago.

    The Government has effectively locked us into nuclear power for the best part of a century. By the time they are up and running in the 2020s nuclear power plants may be obsolete given the breathtaking progress in renewable technologies.

    The Labour Government Minister, John Hutton MP, was not able to give a cast iron guarantee that taxpayers will not have to subsidise the costs of nuclear in the future. The Government had nothing to say about today's pressing issue - spiralling fuel prices. The new Energy Bill must include measures to protect the millions of households who are struggling to meet their winter fuel bills.

    The UK has an energy crisis now - nuclear power cannot fill the energy gap. Energy conservation and investment in renewables should be our top priorities.

    To find our more visit our party website. If you would like to take further action to help, you can encourage people you know to sign the petition .

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    Rail commuters plan next move in battle against fare increases

    Local rail commuters are meeting in Bath on Tuesday to plan the next phase of their campaign for better services at Oldfield Park Railway Station.

    This time last year, Cllr Shaun McGall, supported the fares protest, due to the overcrowding on services in the Bath, Bristol and West of England area.

    The new timetable which was launched on the 9th December remains below the standard of service commuters should recieve, and this combined with the unjustified hike in prices in January, timetable changes, short trains, old rolling stock, and continuing poor punctuality and reliability means we must put more press on both the Labour Government and First Great Western to up their game and provide a modern, and fairly priced service across our area.
    Please play your part in helping to pile on the presure to First and the Governement to ensure we get more trains, and that passengers not shareholders come first.
    Please write to Don Foster, our Member of Parliament and to the Managing Director of First Great Western, with your comments and views.

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    Two Tunnels Lottery success

    A campaign to win a portion of £50 million of Lottery funding to create new cycle routes in Bath has been successful.

    It was revealed on the 12th December that the Two Tunnels project will be awarded £1m, thanks to the votes of local people.

    The project is part of a national initiative by sustainable transport charity Sustrans and is supported by the Council. Sustrans battled its way into a shortlist of four organisations competing for the £50 million pot to fund projects around the country, under the National Lottery’s The People’s Millions scheme.

    The Sustrans project is called Connect2. Once complete the project will see hundreds of miles of walking and cycling routes spring up around the UK – providing extra bridges, extra links - improving travel and reducing our carbon footprint. Two Tunnels is just one of the many projects included in this scheme.

    The multi-user path will join Bath and Midford by a virtually flat system of tunnels and impressive overland paths following the existing disused railway. The route makes a wide sweep through Oldfield Park, surfaces in the secretive Lyncombe Vale and finally emerges in beautiful open country at Tucking Mill, before joining the long distance Sustrans NCN24 route at Midford.

    The campaign promoters expect the ‘Two Tunnels’ route to benefit businesses, residents and visitors. They believe it will encourage visitors to stay for more than a simple two-hour visit to the city centre, and make more use of what Bath has to offer. It will also secure the future for the impressive railway structures on this famous old route, and offers a chance to make good use of some of Bath’s more under-appreciated assets, reclaiming them for residents and visitors.

    However, the route first has to be built, and while much of the work has already been done courtesy of the Victorian engineers who built the railway, it will cost an estimated £1.8 million to complete.

    Further information on the Connect2 project is available at
    For more information on the Two Tunnels Greenway, see:

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