BathNES Liberal Democrats
Serving Bath and North East Somerset
Working For You - All Year Round
B&NES Council will continue to listen to the views of local residents about gypsy and traveller sites following a vote at a special Council meeting today. A Conservative attempt to cut off the on-going pre-consultation was defeated by Lib Dem, Labour and Independent Councillors.
In the debate, Lib Dem Councillors thanked residents for their continuing engagement with the pre-consultation and criticised the Conservatives for playing politics and exploiting residents’ expectations about the decision-making power of the meeting.
Councillor Ben Stevens (Liberal Democrat, Widcombe) said:
“After 4 years of insincere Conservative-run consultations, it is hardly surprising that the public would be sceptical, but this is a genuine listening exercise. By trying to curtail this consultation, the Tories are not trusting residents to speak for themselves.”
Councillor Jeremy Sparks (Liberal Democrat, Clutton) said:
“I have received assurances that the Cabinet is listening to the concerns of myself and my residents and I am sure that they will make the right decision at the end of this pre-consultation to drop the sites which are so obviously unsuitable.”
Councillor Simon Allen (Liberal Democrat, Radstock) commented:
“I am passionate about two things related to this issue: for people to have safe and legal places to live, and, that communities are consulted on their opinion. This process must continue to ensure we achieve legal, safe sites in a timely way which does not draw this process out longer than has already been the case.”
Statistics on fuel poverty in the UK have recently been released by the government. 'Fuel poverty' means that more than 10% of household income is spent on keeping the home warm.
The report shows that across the UK, fuel poverty fell from 5.5m households in 2009 to 4.75m in 2010. However, in 2010, almost 10,000 households in Bath and North East Somerset were in fuel poverty.
Don Foster, MP for Bath, has said: "It is good news that fuel poverty went down in 2010 but we shouldn't be complacent. With the rises in energy price rises in the last few years, many households have been struggling to keep warm. We must continue to work hard towards eliminating fuel poverty."
One opportunity to access heating and insulation improvements is the "Warm Front" scheme. This is available to families who receive certain income-related benefits and who live in properties that are poorly insulated and/or do not have a working central heating system. Qualifying households can get improvements worth up to £3,500 (£6,000 where oil central heating and other alternative technologies are recommended). For more information on Warm Front, see: http://bit.ly/eyMg2z
Don Foster added: "I encourage everyone who is eligible to apply to the Warm Front scheme, which will provide insulation and heating improvements to reduce costs and keep people warm ahead of next winter. I also call on every household to use price comparison tools to switch to the cheapest energy provider and reduce their bills."
The government is also bringing in the 'Green Deal' later this year. The scheme has been welcomed by Councillor David Martin from Bathwick, who is also the B&NES 'Member Champion' for Energy and Climate Change.
David said: "Another opportunity to tackle fuel poverty is through the Coalition Government's Green Deal. From the autumn, every household will be able to insulate their houses without any upfront outlay as the costs will be covered through savings on energy bills – this is a key principle of the scheme.
"The scheme will help cut energy bills, create jobs and help create a greener economy and I'm really pleased that the Liberal Democrat-run Council in Bath has set aside funding to prepare for the Green Deal."
Over the last 12 months, the Liberal Democrat Administration at Bath and North East Somerset Council has made every effort to show how much we value and prioritise services for children and young people.
Whether that’s protecting the youth service budget, investing in play provision, or increasing funding for Children in Care, we have shown that supporting children from an early age is paramount to ensuring they do well in later life.
It’s because of this commitment that I am pleased to announce the launch of the brand new Future Fund.
Totalling £100,000, it’s a fund to support positive activities for young people and to provide them with even more opportunities to volunteer, take part in recreational activities and receive support and assistance with getting into work or training.
The fund will be divided into two parts. Firstly, £60,000 has been earmarked to fund groups and initiatives that support young people to get involved with positive activities. The remaining £40,000 is specifically for young people who are struggling to find training or employment. The money will be used to ensure that the young people we work with have a better chance of fulfilling their goals and aspirations.
We’ll be releasing details over the coming weeks and months as to how local people can apply to the Future Fund.
The Council is committed to ensuring that all children and young people enjoy their childhood and are prepared for adult life.
Cllr Nathan Hartley
Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Early Years, Children and Youth
Liberal Democrat, Peasedown St John
Bath and North East Somerset Council
Earlier this month an update meeting was held to inform councillors and the public what was happening to Victoria Bridge. The meeting dwelt heavily on the heritage value of the bridge and how important it is architecturally as well as a major cycling and walking route.
Four options were put before us: rebuild the bridge piece by piece out of steel, keep the bridge made out of iron but not load baring with a second 'deck' on top, knock it down and build a beautifully architectured bridge or knock it down and build a 'functional' bridge.
The council seems to be favouring Option 1. This means that once Crest have secured the site a temporary route accross the bridge will be opened up. It is anticipated that this will take place at the end of May. However, at the end of 2012 the bridge will have to close again while the full refurbishment is carried out and this could take another year.
Your councillors will continue to push Crest and the council to ensure that the swiftest most appropriate solution is found.