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.”

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.

Zero Waste Week: Calling all Individuals and Community Groups

You may remember the Zero Waste Week that the Council held last year and the BBC family of five who reduced the amount they threw away to the equivalent of one yoghurt pot.

Following the success of the week, this year the Council is looking to invite local people and also community groups to take part and see how much you can reduce your waste over the course of a week.

Anyone can take part, either as an individual or a community group. The definition of a ‘community group’ is as broad as possible so this may range from the whole of Oldfield Park or school community through to a local group or association, street, block of flats or even a virtual community.

So far, over 20 groups have already expressed an interest in taking part. The aim of the week is to encourage as many people as possible to take up the challenge to see how much you can reduce what you throw away over the course of a week, by reducing, recycling and composting as much as they can.

The week will run from Monday 26 November to Sunday 2 December this year. If you are an individual or community group who would be interested in taking part or would like to find out more, please contact Council Connect on 01225 39 40 41 or email

Two Tunnels project to compete on TV for funding

People are being invited to vote for a project to restore the Two Tunnels Path, in Bath, to be awarded a cash boost from the Big Lottery Fund as part of a television show to be screened later this year.

Two Tunnels Path project is one of 79 schemes that together make up Connect2 – a UK-wide Sustrans project .

Connect2 is competing for £50 million of funding that will be given away following a TV programme and public vote. The funding comes from the Big Lottery Fund’s Living Landmarks: The People’s Millions, and in early December there will be a television programme on each of the Living Landmarks projects competing to win the £50 million.

At the end of the week the telephone lines will open, and then everyone will get the chance to vote and help to make Two Tunnels a reality.

The Council and local councillors Will Sandry and Shaun McGall are working closely with Sustrans, the charity behind the Connect2 project, to ensure as much local support as possible.

Below is a link that takes you to a registration form – please do enter your email and mobile number so that you can be informed of when the TV programme will be shown and the number to phone to vote for Connect2. Your details will only be used to give you this information, and because the vote may be at a weekend, your asked to provide your mobile number if possible. You will no be charged for any texts sent to your phone regarding Connect2.

Recycle your old electrical goods

The Council has installed new facilities for residents to recycle any type of household electrical item. The Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations which came into force earlier this year means that any unwanted electrical product should now be re-used or recycled wherever possible and not disposed of to landfill.

The Council’s three Recycling Centres at Keynsham, Bath and Old Welton have been provided with recycling banks which will take a full range of large and small household electrical appliances from vacuum cleaners to hairdryers, from TVs to electric lawnmowers.

Cllr Sandry and Cllr McGall are pleased the Council is extending the range of materials local residents can recycle. The Council will be actively encouraging residents to keep their old electrical goods out of household waste bins and instead separating them for recycling.

Althought the new Tory-Controlled Council has set targets for recycling, the Liberal Democrats believe that we should be aiming for a zero waste situation.

To find out more about the WEEE regulations and how you can recycle your old electrical goods, please contact Council Connect on 01225 39 40 41.

“Englishcombe Inn” applies for extended license to sell alcohol

The Englishcombe Inn on Englishcombe Lane has applied for an extention to its licence to sell alcohol under the Licensing Act 2003. Local residents have until the 1 November 2007 to write in with their comments. The Council must consider each representation on its own merits and would have to take into account the substance of the comment / objection when determining whether the resident was close enough to the premises to be affected.

Our reference: 07/03049/LAPRE
Premises:Englishcombe Inn, 157 Englishcombe Lane, BathBA2 2EL

Variation: To extend the sale of alcohol

Monday-Thursday 10:00 hrs to 00:00 hrs,
Friday -Saturday 10:00 hrs to 00:30 hrs,
Sunday 10:00 hrs to 00:00 hrs
All Bank Holidays, Christmas Eve and Boxing Day 10:00 hrs to 02:00 hrs

To Permit regulated entertainment comprising Live music and voice (acustic and amplified). Recorded music including Juke Box and Karaoke with or without DJs. Compere for functions and quizzes etc. Pub games in front of audience and Video entermainment.

Last date for representations:1 November 2007 (28 days from date received)


Sale of Alcohol Sunday to Thursday 10:00 – 00:00
Sale of Alcohol Friday and Saturday 10:00 – 00:30
Indoor Sporting Event Every Day 19:00 – 23:30
Performance of Live Music Every Day 20:00 – 23:30
Performance of Recorded Music Sunday to Thursday 10:00 – 00:00
Performance of Recorded Music Friday and Saturday 10:00 – 00:30
For further information please contact:

Burniece Brown
Team Administrator
Licensing Services
9-10 Bath Street
Bath BA1 1SN
Telephone: (01225) 477531

Community to be at heart of new planning policies

Work to put together a new generation of planning policies which will set out the broad locations for new housing, jobs and community facilities hasbeen launched by the Council.

The new Council’s (conservative) Cabinet met in early September to consider the launch of the Core Strategy which will lead to a planning “blueprint” for development and regeneration across the district.

Local residents are invited to have their say on the plan from 25 September (until 17 December). This will give residents the earliest opportunity in helping to identify issues around the use of land.

The Core Strategy is the first of a new generation of planning policy documents. It will become the key document used by the Council to underpin decisions on a wide range of planning issues- from planning applications, to negotiations around regeneration and the location of new housing. The Strategy will come into force from 2010 to 2026.

Before the Council decides on specific proposals for the use of land, it wants to set out the best ways of working with the public to identify their views on the future use of land in urban and rural areas.

The Core Strategy will be a key document in articulating and delivering some elements of other strategies, in particular the Sustainable Community Strategy and emerging Council ‘Visions’.

The Council has identified a number of key issues that will be facing the district over the next 20 years, it would like to hear further suggestions about what matters to local communities and their views on the issues that the Council has identified. The Council will involve residents from the earliest opportunity so that they can have a direct input on planning issues of the future.
This Strategy is required of all local authorities by the Government, the Council must work within national Government guidelines and regional policies set out by the South West Regional Assembly. The guidelines cover a range of issues required by economic growth, including provision of new housing, locations of retail businesses, and environmental issues. The Council is required to meet specific targets around these issues.

It is important to remember that the Council does not have a blank canvas when it comes to planning for the future of our area- there are national and regional planning policies and standards which must followed. However it is in the Core Strategy that local decisions will be made which will have a direct impact on the future use of land in urban and rural areas.’

Cllr Sandry and Cllr McGall hope that the public consultation will spark-off discussions about the future of the area and espeically Oldfield Park. The Core Strategy will have an impact on everyday life for people who live and work in the district.

Take a look at our Core Strategy launch document and other publicity material

Update on HMOs and Use Class Orders

Of course, the year has been dominated by the HMO Consultation. A report on the Consultation should have been published within three months of its ending in August, but it has still not appeared.

Apparently, the response was three times greater than expected – some 900 responses! Hopefully, the majority of these were from local residents, cllrs and MPs – but landlords and students were also campaigning against potential changes in the law. The volume of responses has caused the delay (the government has only one part-time officer dealing with them – Cllr McGall has spoken to her and she hopes to publish by the end of the year).

Meanwhile, we also have a new Minister for Housing & Planning, John Healey MP, who claims he is not well enough briefed as yet to make any decisions. Below is his reply to a question in the Commons, on 8 December 2009: –

Greg Mulholland (Leeds, North-West) (Lib Dem): Landlord licensing is one solution, but the use classes order is far more significant in many areas with concentrations of HMOs. Will the Minister give me an update on the progress of the Government’s examination of that? Does he agree that restrictions on the number of HMOs in such areas will increase the balance of the community and be in the interests of all?

John Healey: Indeed, and that is why our general policy is to promote mixed communities, as they tend to be better balanced and more stable. The hon. Gentleman asked for an update on our examination of whether changes to the use classes might help us pursue our objectives. At present, we are sifting the 900 or so responses that we have received to the consultation, and I hope to be able to update the House on this shortly.


Several MPs, including our Don Foster, are lobbying the Minister to take action. The danger is that an early election will sabotage all the progress we have made. If you haven’t already done so, it would be invaluable if you could lobby Don Foster MP, and ask him to put what pressure he can on the Minister to move things along.

Meanwhile, in the hope of a positive outcome in due course…