On Friday night in Saltford Hall, North East Somerset Liberal Democrats selected former teacher and Paulton resident Wera Hobhouse as their candidate for the General Election in May 2015.
Wera has a long record of successfully campaigning on local issues, having saved library buildings and helped deliver play areas when she was last a Councillor. The Hobhouses are an old Somerset family, and Wera moved to Paulton with her husband so that they could be closer to older family members once her children had grown and left home.
Wera said, "I'm absolutely delighted to have been selected to stand up for local residents in North East Somerset. We have such a wonderful variety of towns and villages across this area, with different heritages and priorities. I want to promote a thriving economy for these areas, so that employers are attracted not just to Bristol or Bath but to our home too. That's why I support the Lib Dem-run Council who have got the regeneration projects in Radstock, Keynsham and elsewhere off the ground."
She added, "As a former teacher, education is one of my top priorities. The Lib Dems have invested an extra over £10million in BANES schools, funding teaching assistants, IT systems, school trips and more. I want to see that keep making a difference, and to make sure teachers' voices are heard when it comes to making policy changes."
Wera is also a strong environmental campaigner, and has supported the successful Liberal Democrat campaign to prevent fracking in Bath and North East Somerset.
On hearing the news, Paul Crossley, Leader of BANES Council said, "I am thrilled that Wera has been selected to champion the people of North East Somerset. I know she will fight tirelessly for residents across the area, and will be a brilliant voice for them."
Liberal Democrats in Bath have welcomed the news that the Cleveland Pools Trust has won its bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Cleveland Pools are a significant part of the UK’s history and heritage, being the only surviving Georgian lido in the country.
This funding will enable the team there to get the Pools back to their glory days when the pools were open to the public for outdoor swimming.
The Liberal Democrat administration on B&NES Council backed the Cleveland Pools bid with a pledge of £200,000 towards the match funding requirement for this scheme.
Ann Dunlop of the Cleveland Pools Trust commented:
“I have to say that the current Lib Dem administration have made the big difference to our success by pledging to support us if we got the HLF grant. Many councillors had supported us when in opposition and continue to do so in a variety of ways now for which we are extremely grateful.”
Steve Bradley, PPC for Bath, who has volunteered at the Pools, said:
"Cleveland Pools are a real historical gem, and one of Bath's best kept secrets. The community group behind it deserve huge credit for bringing this piece of national and local history back to life."
TV historian Dan Snow was in Bath this week, collecting signatures on the "Let's Stay Together" open letter to Scotland, ahead of the referendum on independence next month.
Notable public figures including Sir Mick Jagger, Dame Judi Dench, Sir David Attenborough and Tom Daley have all been brought together by Dan Snow and fellow TV Historian Tom Holland to say to Scotland: "We want to let you know how very much we value our bonds of citizenship with you, and to express our hope that you will vote to renew them. What unites us is much greater than what divides us. Let's stay together."
Dan Snow, commented: “I feel passionately about Britain and everything we've achieved together throughout our long shared history across these islands. I don’t have a vote in the Scottish referendum but I certainly have a view and I really hope that our shared country stays together."
Dan Snow is pictured with Councillor Paul Crossley (Southdown) signing the letter.
If you would also like to sign the open letter, please visit www.letsstaytogether.org.uk. The Scottish Liberal Democrats are also collecting signatures from South of the Border, and you can view that campaign here: www.libdems.org.uk/why_stay_petition
Does Bath need a stronger voice in public decision making? Do we have a democratic deficit? And if so, what can be done about it?
Since B&NES was created in 1995 and Bath City Council was abolished, many have felt that a voice for Bath is needed. Communities in North East Somerset have town and parish Councils, but the same is not true in Bath. The Charter Trustees and Mayor of Bath are now purely ceremonial bodies.
Various ideas have been tried out – from the Better Bath Forum, to the Bath City Conference (started by our administration). In May this year, we suggested building on the success of the annual Bath City Conference by setting up a Committee for Bath.
To save money, we suggested this could be a Council committee but with a strong role for the public and interest groups of all sorts. This would mean existing administrative structures could be used and there would be no extra precept for residents. It could lead to more devolution of decision-making.
Since May, a working group of councillors have been looking into this idea (and other options) and have published a report on their findings.
So, if you are interested in a stronger voice for Bath – or if you feel there should be no change – please do take a look at the report and respond to the consultation.
The report and questionnaire can be found here: LINK
The deadline is 26 August 2014.