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.”

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.

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.

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.

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

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.