Boost for Moorlands Junior School

Ofsted has reported that Moorlands Junior School is improving at a satisfactory rate. Inspectors visited the school before Christmas as part of a monitoring visit to see what progress it had made since last July.

The school has a new head teacher Damian Knollys, a new deputy head Sarah Biss and inspectors feel it is on the right track for making improvements. The latest Ofsted report said:

Teaching is increasingly more consistent. Almost all is at least satisfactory with some good lessons developing. The leadership team has set about improving the school steadily and systematically. They have successfully ensured that lessons are consistently appropriately planned and that the pupils are aware of the success criteria in each lesson. The school benefits from good support provided by the local authority which has worked closely with the outgoing leadership team to ensure that the first steps of progress have been solidly constructed, based mostly on the local authority plan of action. The work with the school improvement partner has also had a positive impact.

This is great news for out local community and we both thank the hard work of the pupils, teachers, management team and the governors of the school.

Feedback from Engishcombe Inn public meeting

At the request of Cllr SaEnglishcombe Innndry, Cedar Care Homes organised a public meeting at the Englishcombe Inn so that local residents to hear more about the Construction Management Plan for the 0.7 acre site. Around 20 local residents joined Cllr Sandry, McGall and Crossley to hear the plans.

Local residents were told about the commitment of Cedar Care to minimising the disruption to residents and neighbours of the site during the 15 month construction period for the new 40 bed care home.

Residents were given detailed information of both the Construction and Traffic Management Plans, were able to ask questions during the presentation. Discussion focused on noise, dust, asbestos, recycling and traffic management issues.

Generally local residents were very appreciative of the opportunity to hear about the plans and ask questions to the developers and their project management company.

If you weren’t able to make the meeting, please email us and can give you further information.

Lobbying the Goverment over local rail issues

All four local Councils have written to Lord Adonis regarding our joint concerns over the lack of clarity on the provision of sufficient rolling stock to cater for passengers using train services in the West of England. A copy of the letter was also sent to Mark Hopwood, Managing Director of First Great Western.

The full text of the letter can be seen below:
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Have your say on development plans at Bath Spa University

Bath Spa University has been considering its long term needs both in terms of academic and student residental accommodation.

The University has been working with the Duchy of Cornwall (their landlord), the Council and English Heritage to establish the scope for development of the campus at Newton Park. There now want to explore their initial ideas with the local community.

The University has announced it is to hold a public exhibition at Newton Park on the 5th and 6th February 2010. For those unable to attend the exhibition in person, all the information will be available on the Bath Spa University website from Friday 5 February. Please put this in your diary and once we know more details we shall add them to our website.

It is important local residents of Oldfield Park have their say about the need for the University (actually both universities) to build and house more students in Halls of Residents on their campus and take some of the pressure off the local housing in our community.

Initial budget announcement “merely surface dressing”

Initial budget announcements made by the Conservative-run B&NES Council are facing criticism from Liberal Democrat Councillors. Councillor David Dixon (Walcot), who shadows the Resources portfolio, commented:

These budget announcements are merely short term ‘surface dressing’ to mask the many cuts in this year’s budget and in future years. The Conservatives should be upfront about where the money is coming from. These extras are being paid for out of funds set aside for risks, which can now be reallocated, but this is one-off money and won’t be repeated in future years. Exceptional funds should be allocated to ‘invest-to-save’ projects to help soften the impacts of future pressures and to give the support the Council services need to reshape in light of the huge savings that will be needed in future years.

Reading the Conservatives’ budget statement you would think that Bath and North East Somerset Council was unique in facing cuts. Year on year, the Cabinet has complained about being ‘short-changed’: it’s about time they stopped blaming the Government and got on with the business of delivering the services our residents want. Every Council in the land is dealing with the adverse financial climate, but nearby Liberal Democrat-run Councils are looking at lower Council tax rises than B&NES: Portsmouth Council is looking to freeze Council tax this year and Bristol is looking at a 2% increase.
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Missed Friday Refuse and Recycling Collections


The Council’s collections seem to be worse this week than last week.  Missed or partial collections have been reported all across the through Oldfield Park and the Moorfields Estate. The Council’s website is not very up to date with advice, so we have asked the Council for an urgent update. Will said,

We understand the Council’s teams are working flat out to sort the backlog we would just like some better information and more up to date advice.

The Council’s most recent update is here.

Cllr Sandry questions the Council’s Salting and Griting Policy

Cllr Will Sandry has formally submitted the following question to the Tory controlled Council on its Salting / Gritting Policy. The question will be formally put at the Cabinet meeting on the 3rd February 2010:

I understand that there is a priority system for gritting our highways during extreme weather. I have been contacted by numerous residents with individual gritting requests, however the common theme that seems to stand out is the need for improved gritting immediately around schools.

I understand that Chantry Mead Road (Moorlands Junior School) and Upper Oldfield Park (Hayesfield School – Widcombe Ward) were particularly treacherous. Would it be possible for your team to consider specifically adding these roads, or generally “roads around schools” throughout the district to the gritting programme in future years?

We shall let you know what formal response we get from Cllr Charles Gerrish in early February.

Tackling the refuse and recycling collection bad weather backlog

The Council has announced that they are stepping-up their efforts to clear the backlog of both refuse and recycling across the district caused by the recent bad weather. The Council has allocated extra vehicles to help catch-up.

The Council’s current household advice is as follows:

Households are asked to put their waste out on their scheduled collection day. The Council will make every effort to collect it – crews are working exceptionally hard to clear the backlog.

Refuse crews will be operating on Saturday and Sunday 16th and 17th January to catch-up on an areas that were not collected on Friday. A small number of Recycling crews are operating on Saturday. The Council says it will do its best to collect any outstanding waste, but if it is not collected please take your waste back in and put it out on your next scheduled collection day.

Households who have not had their waste collected can use the Recycling Centres which have been open since Friday 8th January. Opening times are 8am – 4.15pm weekdays and 8am – 3.45pm on weekends. Further details are available on the Council website:

Logistical collection issues

Following the improvement in weather conditions, the Council and its recycling contractor May Gurney have allocated extra resources to clear the backlog caused by cancelled collections. The Council has an additional six refuse vehicles operating next week. The recycling contractor has an extra five vehicles working.

Because of the different types of vehicles used for refuse and recycling collections and the varying vehicle capacity for materials, this has resulted in some households experiencing their recycling being collected and not their refuse, and vice-versa. If this happens please put your waste out as normal on your usual waste collection day.

Please let Will and Shaun know if you are still experiencing an difficulties after this week.

Local Councillors response to Core Strategy consultation

Cllr Will Sandry has responsed to the Council’s consultation on the development of it Core Strategy (planning strategy) for the area. This is what Will stated:

It is shameful that the Universities have increased the combined number of their students by about 10,000 over the past fifteen years without building very much student accommodation on campus or in purpose built blocks in the City. Their inaction, leaving accommodation to “market forces” has meant that many young people in the City are disenfranchised. Young people who would like to be first time buyers have been priced out of the market by a lot of the housing stock in areas such as Oldfield Park being taken up by investors letting homes to the student market.

As first time buyers have moved to Frome, Midsomer Norton and Radstock, they now have to travel to their workplace in Bath. This has put a huge strain of the transport networks, the environment, and the local housing sector in those towns.

There should be more in the core strategy about student housing. The Council should set tough targets for the Universities to house more of their students on campus and the Core strategy should make it easier for the Universities to build on their campus. Unless the Core Strategy delivers a robust and sustainable strategy for housing our student population (about 20,000 people or 20% of Bath’s population) the Core Strategy will have failed the people of Bath and North East Somerset.

Both Will and Shaun have responsed to the Core Strategy consultation as part of the Liberal Democrat Group on the Council.

Councillors concerns over job cuts and potential threat to street cleansing

Councillor Caroline Roberts, Chair of the Safer Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel, has warned that the improvements in street cleansing promised for Bath may be impossible if the job cuts which have been threatened in the Council’s Environmental services section actually happen.

Councillor Roberts (Newbridge, Lib Dem) said:

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

These services are already being delivered with very limited resources and any reduction in service would not be looked at very favourably by local residents. We will be scrutinising the budget papers very carefully at our January meeting.

We were shocked that ‘at risk’ notices were delivered to staff during the festive season; this was a major blunder by the Council administration and is certainly no way to treat the Council’s loyal and hard working staff.