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.

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.

“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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

“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.

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.”