The air we breathe

The Council is being made to do something about air pollution. We can’t always see it, smell it or taste it but all the vehicles in Bath are creating toxic air for us to breathe. The proposal is to create a Clean Air Zone (CAZ). The most polluting vehicles (petrol older than 2005 and diesel older than 2015) would be charged to enter the CAZ. The cost would be £9 per day for cars and £100 for bus / Lorries.

Our Council Ward is outside the proposed CAZ. This could be good for businesses; more people might come to Moorland Road to avoid being charged instead of going in to the city centre. It could be bad for the area because it could become a rat run for drivers trying to avoid the CAZ. This could increase congestion and pollution. It’s also possible that even more city centre commuters could start parking here.

Whatever you think about the idea of a CAZ, please take a look at the Council website and complete their consultation. Comments on here are welcome, but to be sure of your points of view being registered please complete the formal council consultation.

Seagull nest removals

Sea gull nest removals are now free in Oldfield Park and the much of the rest of Bath. Sign up for here, before the end of May.

Cllr Will Sandry said: “I’ve been campaigning for the Council to provide this service to the community in Oldfield park and I’m delighted that they have agreed to do so this year. I hope that fewer gulls will mean less of a mess on bin day.”






Conservatives refuse to be transparent about affordable housing

Will Sandry, has pressed the local Conservatives to improve transparency around the affordable housing element of new housing developments.

It is widely perceived that some developers try to use ‘viability assessments’ as a way of reducing their obligations around social and affordable housing provision. Notable examples in Bath have been Hope House and the Warminster Road MOD site.

In questions to the Cabinet member last week, Will called for viability assessments for developers’ affordable housing contributions to be published. He also highlighted a recent decision by Bristol City Council to make more information available. However, the Cabinet member has refused to open up viability assessments to public scrutiny. Will said:

“Residents are angered that some housing developers are playing the system to dodge their affordable housing responsibilities. I have asked that B&NES follows the lead of Bristol City Council in publishing variability assessments, unfortunately it seems the Conservatives don’t want to be transparent.”


Affordable Homes Show

The Council is running an affordable homes show for residents with a household income of under £60,000 who want to own their own home.

The show will give visitors the opportunity to speak with housing associations, mortgage advisors and legal advisors for free and confidential advice. For more information about housing and opportunities for home ownership, visit:

New planning application at Wansdyke Business Centre

Developers have made a new application for Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) at the Wansdyke Business Centre.

You can view and comment on the application on the Council’s Planning Portal by following this link.

In a joint statement Will and Shaun said:

“This application does not meet the needs of the community. The Universities are important to the economic success of the City, but we need to see applications come forward that address the housing needs of young people from Bath and their families.

We are disappointed that the developers have decided to persist with a new application for PBSA on the site and have spurned any discussions with the local community.”

Members of the public may like to join the resident led Facebook group Proposals to Develop Wansdyke Business Centre

Top Tip for Students

moving out poster 2012University of Bath and Bath Spa University students can now use their NUS card to access the Council’s Recycling Centres instead of getting a separate Recycling Centre Resident’s Permit.

Cllr David Dixon said: “I want to make it as easy and straightforward as possible for students to manage their waste and recycling as they move away for the summer. When the Vice Chancellor’s office at Bath Spa University contacted me via twitter about this, I was keen to implement immediately. This simple measure reduces administration for the Council and enables students as easy access to the recycling centre as all other B&NES residents.”

Cllr Will Sandry who is also Chairman of The Student Community Partnership (SCP) said: “This initiative is very welcome; many landlords use waste left behind in properties as a reason to withhold student deposits. Being able to use their NUS cards to access the recycling centres is a great benefit to the students in our community. It builds on the work of the SCP who are just completing their summer moving out campaign to help students best manage their household waste and recycling.

HMO investors beware

hmo investorsIf as expected, the Council confirms the Article 4 direction removing permitted development rights to change a family home into a HMO from 1st July 2013 you may find yourself with a property you can’t develop.

Despite these changes being widely known to estate agents, some are suggesting that historical (but not current) HMO use of the property means that it can be used as a HMO without planning permission. This is incorrect.

If a property is not currently in use as an HMO you will need to apply for planning permission to use it as a HMO from 1st July 2013. Visit the Council’s advice pages on HMO’s for further information.

Have your say on HMOs

Members of the community in Oldfield Ward and throughout Bath have given an overwhelming response in favour of introducing limits on the number of HMOs in our community; and also agreed that the Council should try to improve the quality of existing HMOs.

The Council is now consulting on the maximum percentage of homes in our community that should be HMOs. The proposal is that that maximum should be 25%, but this is open to public consultation.

The Council is also asking about the quality improvements that could be made to existing HMOs, such as garden maintenance, waste management, fire and electrical safety.

You can have you say by going to one of this week’s consultation events:

  • University of Bath Student Union: Tuesday 23rd October, 11am – 2pm – Open Event -Drop-in at anytime during the session
  • One Stop Shop, 2 – 4 Manvers Street: Tuesday 23rd October, 6 – 8.30pm (Briefing presentations will be run at 7pm and 8pm)
  • St Alphege’s Parish Hall, Oldfield Lane: Wednesday 24th October, 5.30pm – 8pm
  • Oldfield Baptist Church Hall, Moorland Road: Thursday 25th October, 3 – 7:30pm (not until 5pm as previously advertised)

Or respond online at

It is vitally important that community responses are made to the Council Consultation.

Overwhelming Support

More than 200 local people have written to the Council in support of introducing rules to limit the further growth of HMO’s in Oldfield Park.

This is an unusually high response to a local government survey. It is understood that by contrast there were a very small number of responses against new rules being introduced.

Cllr Will Sandry commented: “Local people want a mixed diverse community and that includes people living in HMOs. The balance has to be right and these rules will help deliver that balance.

I hope that Bath University and the Student Unions at both universities reflect on this response from the communities in which they are welcomed.

It is important to remember that these rules will not remove any existing HMOs. The rules will mean that planning permission will be required to convert a family home into an HMO in the future. The planning process will enable local people to have their say about what is and isn’t the right balance in their community.”

The Council intends to introduce planning restrictions which will see planning permission required for future changes of use from family houses into small HMOs across the City from 1st July 2013. It is also proposing that HMO landlords in areas with a large number of HMOs should be required to apply for a licence to help curb management and housing quality issues.

Next steps

  • Public consultation on the detail of the additional HMO licencing scheme is due to be released in September 2012 for public consultation.
  • The detail of the planning controls is due to be considered by Cabinet in October and launched for public consultation in October.
  • A series of briefings and drop-in events open to the public on these HMO controls are planned for October 2012.