Council to face its public!

Council to face its public!

This year’s Bath City Conference takes place at the Guildhall on Friday 10 July from 12 noon.

The Bath Guildhall

The Bath Guildhall

Organised by Bath & North East Somerset Council, this free event is open to everyone.

It’s your opportunity to find out about:

• Bath’s Transport Strategy (12.30-1.30pm)
• Railway electrification (12-6pm)
• Projects involving the regeneration of the river  (12 to 6pm)
• Sustainability projects on food and energy (sessions at 2pm and 3pm)
• Future governance for the City of Bath (5-5.45pm)
• Who makes up your cabinet in the new Council? (12-6pm)

Following on from afternoon’s activities, the day will conclude at 6.30 pm in the Council Chamber with an hour long Question and Answer session. The Leader of Bath &North East Somerset Council, Cllr Tim Warren, members of the Cabinet and the Council’s Chief Executive, Jo Farrar will be present.

The discussion will be available as a webcast. To access the webcast visit:

Do you have a question that you would like answered? Send us your question and we will ask the most popular questions at this session e-mail –

Councillor Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip), Leader of Council, said: “Our new administration is keen to inform people and raise awareness of how we are working with local communities and partner organisations to improve the lives of everyone who lives, works and visits the area. This is an excellent opportunity for people to engage in the future of their community.”

If you want to support your local community you can find out how by visiting the Banqueting Hall which will be filled with over forty exhibits, stands and representatives from community groups across the City.

To find out more and receive regular updates, join and @yourbath2015 on Twitter.

Celebrating National Bookstart Week

Celebrating National Bookstart Week

Bath Central Library

Bath Central Library

Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Libraries are organising free events across the area to celebrate National Bookstart Week, June 8 – 14.

This year’s theme, Jungle Adventures, is based around Giles Andreae’s beloved picture book Rumble in the Jungle, which will be given away to hundreds of families at the events.

On Monday June 8, the Chairman of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Cllr Ian Gilchrist, will be leading celebrations at Radstock Library between 10am and 12 noon, with the help of the big blue Bookstart Bear.

Parents and carers are being encouraged to bring along their under-fives are invited to come and meet the Bear and enjoy jungle-themed stories, rhymes and craft activities.

There will also be an opportunity to hear jungle adventure stories and rhymes at the following events, which are all free and open to all families with children under five (rhymetimes are aimed at 0-3 years and storytimes at 2-5 yrs):

Monday June 8
Radstock Library, 10am – 12 noon (stories, rhymes & crafts with the Bookstart Bear)
Moorland Rd Library, Bath –10.30 – 11am (storytime)
Midsomer Norton Library – 11 – 11.30am (storytime)

Tuesday June 9
Keynsham Library – 10 – 10.30am & 11 – 11.30am (rhymetimes)
Weston Library, Bath – 10.30am – 11.15am (stories, rhymes & crafts with the Bookstart Bear)
Bath Central Library – 11 – 11.30am (storytime)

Bath Central Library

Bath Central Library

Thursday June 11
Keynsham Library – 10am – 10.30am (storytime)
Paulton Library – 1.30 – 2.30pm (storytime)
Saltford Library –2.30 – 3pm (storytime)

Friday June 12
Weston Library, Bath – 10.30 – 11am (rhymetime)

National Bookstart Week is an annual celebration of UK charity Book Trust’s flagship reading programme, Bookstart. It aims to reinforce to families the importance of getting in to the habit of reading every day – even if it’s just for ten minutes.

Councillor Martin Veal, (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “Our libraries are providing a valuable resource to families with more and more under 5s joining their library every year. It’s never too early to start sharing books with your baby and give them a head start in life. National Bookstart Week is a wonderful opportunity to bring together young children and families across Bath and North East Somerset in a celebration of reading.”

If families are unable to make it along to their local event they can join in the fun at home, with plenty of jungle-themed arts and crafts, games and baking recipes all on the Bookstart website

For more information about Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Library Service, visit

For your information: 

Book Trust is Britain’s largest reading charity. It has a vision of a society where nobody misses out on the life-changing benefits that reading can bring. Book Trust is responsible for a number of successful national reading promotions, sponsored book prizes and creative reading projects aimed at encouraging readers to discover and enjoy books.

Book Trust’s flagship reading programme Bookstart supports parents and carers to enjoy books with their child from as early as possible with the gift of free books to children in the first year of their life and again when they are 3-4 years old.
Research has shown that if a parent reads to their infant every day they will be almost 12 months ahead of those who are read to less often, in terms of their reading and language skills. (Kalb, G. & van Ours, J. C. (2013) Reading to Young Children: A Head-Start in Life? Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research).

Throughout the year Book Trust gives free books to 2.5 million parents and carers to read with their children. Inclusive packs are also available for children in care, with hearing or sight impairment, have fine motor delay or whose first language isn’t English.

Regular Bookstart-supported Storytime and Rhymetime sessions are held throughout the year in local libraries, nurseries and children’s centres.

Taking a store guided tour!

Taking a store guided tour!

Open Day and Guided Tours at St John’s Local History Store as part of the Festival of Learning 2015

St John's Local History Store.

St John’s Local History Store.

On Saturday 13 June, Bath & North East Somerset Council is opening the doors to St. John’s Local History Store as part of the Festival of Learning. Entry is free to visitors of all ages to inspire people to find out how learning can change their lives.

Visitors will discover more about Victorian spa treatments in Bath. Bathing equipment and visitor books provide an insight into spa culture in Bath. Also located in the store is furniture made by local craftsmen.

There are guided tours at 11am, 12noon, 1pm and 2pm. If you would like to book a place please call 01225 477773 or drop-ins are welcome too.

Visitors have enjoyed exploring their heritage during previous Open Days – making tours of the stores locations popular – so be part of the Festival of Learning and explore your heritage.

Reform, economies and putting residents first

Reform, economies and putting residents first

The new Conservative leadership of Bath & North East Somerset Council has set out its priorities for the next four years, with a promise to reform the way the local authority works and build a Council which ‘puts the interests of residents first’. That’s according to a statement the Conservative Group – who now control B&NES – have issued.

The Bath Guildhall

The Bath Guildhall

At the authority’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday, 21st May, the Council’s new  leader, Cllr Tim Warren, said that improving transport, investing in the local economy and getting finances back on track would all be at the top of the agenda for his new administration. He also reaffirmed his commitment to delivering on the promises made within the party’s local election manifesto, which included plans to improve local leisure facilities, deliver more affordable homes, and invest in the area’s transport infrastructure, all under a theme of ‘putting residents first’. Council Leader Tim Warren said: “We’ve got a big task ahead of us and we’re very humbled by the trust residents have put in us, but we’ve got a good team in place of talented individuals with fresh ideas and a clear vision for making our area an even better place to live. “With the Council’s new administration now officially appointed, we’re ready to roll-up our sleeves and get on with the job of delivering on the commitments made during the election – such as sorting out our area’s transport system and getting the Council’s finances in order. “There will be difficult decisions ahead, especially when it comes to finding the necessary budget savings within the Council, but B&NES is a great area with huge potential and I’m optimistic about what we can achieve in the next few years.” Explaining the approach the Conservatives will take to running the Council over the next four years, Councillor Warren added: “There’s one overriding theme running through everything we plan to do – and that’s ensuring the interests of residents always come first. Does this proposal truly serve the interests of local residents? That will be the litmus test we will apply to all decisions in the Council. “‘Residents first’ was on the front-page of our manifesto, and that is the approach we will take to running the Council over the next four years.” The Conservatives took control of B&NES Council at the local elections earlier this month, becoming the first political party since B&NES was created to gain an outright majority on the Council, with a total of 37 Councillors against the Lib Dems’ 15 seats and Labour’s 6 Councillors. A further 5 Councillors were also elected as independents. · The six key priorities set out by the new Conservative Cabinet: – Tackle wasteful spending – launching a ‘root and branch’ review of all Council spending to put the Council on a sure financial footing for the long-term; – Improve local transport – bringing forward plans for an East of Bath Park & Ride and developing long-term Transport Strategies for the Somer Valley and Keynsham; – Deliver more homes and jobs – investing in brownfield regeneration projects to deliver more affordable homes and good local jobs; – Invest in young people – delivering more primary school places and investing in facilities for children and young people; – Create cleaner, greener, healthier local communities – with investment in local leisure facilities and improvements to street cleaning and recycling; – Ensure greater choice and independence for older people – with investment in home adaptations for elderly and disabled residents and ensuring integrated health and social care services. Here’s the full list of appointments made at the annual meeting. The new Chairman of Council is Councillor Ian Gilchrist. The Vice-Chairman of Council is Councillor Alan Hale. There are 7 further Cabinet Members taking responsibility for specific service areas. These are: · Councillor Charles Gerrish (Conservative, Keynsham North) – Cabinet Member for Finance & Efficiency · Councillor Tony Clarke (Conservative, Lansdown) – Cabinet Member for Transport · Councillor Michael Evans (Conservative, Midsomer Norton North) Cabinet Member for Children’s Services · Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North) – Cabinet Member for Community Services · Councillor Vic Pritchard (Conservative, Chew Valley South) – Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care & Health · Councillor Marie Longstaff (Conservative, Keynsham East) – Cabinet Member for Homes & Planning · Councillor Patrick Anketell Jones (Conservative, Lansdown) – Cabinet Member for Economic Development. In addition, there are 7 new roles of Cabinet Assistant. These Cabinet Assistants will not be full members of the Cabinet, but will be aligned to each Cabinet portfolio and will assist the Cabinet Members in their roles – taking on specific responsibilities and helping to ensure delivery within that portfolio. The Cabinet Assistants are: · Finance & Efficiency: Councillor Paul May (Conservative, Publow and Whitchurch) · Transport: Councillor Matt Cochrane (Conservative, Bathwick) · Children’s Services: Councillor Emma Dixon (Conservative, Saltford) · Community Services: Councillor Chris Pearce (Conservative, Kingsmead) · Adult Social Care & Health: Councillor Lisa O’Brien (Conservative, Keynsham South) · Homes & Planning: Councillor Bob Goodman (Conservative, Combe Down) · Economic Development: Councillor Mark Shelford (Conservative, Lyncombe). Note from VMB Director:  OK so Bath’s heritage comes under economic development but it amazes me that – despite so much income from the city’s World Heritage site ‘attractions’ – there is no Cabinet member appointed solely to look after all the  archaeological, architectural  and cultural money-spinners.

Trustees wanted for new Roman Baths Foundation

Trustees wanted for new Roman Baths Foundation

The Great Bath - part of the  Roman bathing complex built around the thermal waters.

The Great Bath – part of the Roman bathing complex built around the thermal waters.

Big changes are afoot at the city’s Roman Baths in an effort to attract more funding for conservation and education work.

They are being set up as a Foundation – a charitable company – which will also be able to promote all aspects of learning, access and study as an on-going advocate for the unique world-famous ancient site.

The Foundation is registered with Companies House and will shortly apply for charitable status with the Charity Commission.

Now it’s looking to appoint trustees to its Board. People who would bring skills, knowledge or experience in one or more of the following areas:
charity law
charity finance
history and interpretation of Bath / the Roman Baths
heritage sector fundraising
heritage sector learning
heritage sector conservation
membership organisations
networking and advocacy
marketing and PR

I am told that prior charity experience and availability to attend meetings in Bath will be advantageous. Board meetings will be held in Bath at quarterly intervals.

The first task for the Foundation will be supporting the development of the Archway Centre which will create a state-of-the-art Roman Baths Learning Centre and a much-needed World Heritage Visitor Centre in the heart of Bath.

The illustration shows the proposed Archway Centre.

The illustration shows the proposed Archway Centre.

If you are interested in becoming a trustee of the Roman Baths Foundation, you are asked to send an up-to-date CV and a letter setting out your suitability against these criteria to:

Stephen Bird, Company Secretary
The Roman Baths Foundation
c/o The Pump Room
Stall Street
Bath BA1 1LZ (link sends e-mail)
Trustees must be at least 18 years old and not disqualified by law from acting as charity trustees.
The closing date for expressions of interest is Friday 29 May 2015.
– See more at:

Getting the balance right at Smallcombe

Getting the balance right at Smallcombe

As part of Smallcombe Garden Cemetery Conservation and Heritage Project, tree maintenance works will take place from May 26th for around five days.

Smallcombe Cemetery, Bath c.1880s - 1890s. © Bath in Time - Private Collection

Smallcombe Cemetery, Bath c.1880s – 1890s.
© Bath in Time – Private Collection. Click on image for more information.

Bath & North East Somerset Council will be cutting down to ground level some large laurels on the boundaries of Smallcombe and St Mary’s cemeteries to allow repairs to walls to take place and to reduce their dominance in the cemetery. It’s also hoped this will encourage species diversity.

“This type of work is usually carried out in the winter when the laurels would be dormant and also to avoid the bird nesting season,” said Denise Hart, tree officer with Bath & North East Somerset Council.

“However, because of the timings of the restoration project we need to do this work now. The laurels will be inspected for nesting birds before any work is carried out for and if any are found, we won’t go ahead in those areas. Laurels are not a desirable plant in the cemetery as they compete with other species that are more beneficial for wildlife.”

The Smallcombe Garden Cemetery Conservation and Heritage Project has been awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to support a two-year conservation project to ensure that a hidden social, historical and ecological gem doesn’t become lost to neglect and decay.

The project aims to restore walls, memorials and paths to a safe state; to improve access, also to allow the site discreetly to tell the story of Victorian and Edwardian Bath, a less well-known stage of the city’s development towards World Heritage status.

Smallcombe is a beautiful and largely forgotten valley cemetery with great wildlife diversity, within a 15 minute walk of the city centre and next to the National Trust Skyline Walk, so loved by locals and visitors alike.

Wonderland winner?

Wonderland winner?

A previous competition exhibitor.

A previous competition exhibitor. Click on images to enlarge.

To celebrate 150 years since the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, members of Bath & North East Somerset Council’s libraries are being invited to ‘reinvent’ an ex-library book on  a ‘wondreland’ theme.

The Recycled Book Art competition, now in its fourth year, aims to find the most creative reuse of an ex-library book. In previous years libraries have received up to 100 entries and the exhibition of completed pieces has been viewed by thousands of people each October in Bath Central Library and in a city centre shop window.

There are four categories in the competition: Under 12 years, 12-17, 18+ and Group. As in previous years these categories will be judged by public vote during the exhibition, which runs from September 5 to September 19. The prize giving will be held in Bath Central Library on October 10.

Previous competition winners.

Previous competition winners.

This year, for the first time, local artists are being invited to participate in the contest in a special “No Prize, Just Glory” category.

Artists entering this category will be given the opportunity to sell their entry while it is in the exhibition and include a short biography about their work as an artist.

If you would like to take part just visit any Bath and North East Somerset Library from May 23 and choose an ex library book and entry form.

You have until August 29 to remake that book into anything that celebrates “Wonderland”.

Another previous exhibit.

Another previous exhibit.

If you need some inspiration local libraries have a large collection of books about origami, paper cutting and upcycling available.

There is also a free, drop-in workshop on Friday May 29, at Bath Central Library.

Photos all our previous entries can be found on the libraries Facebook page –

To find out more visit, email Recycled_BookCompetition@BATHNES.GOV.UK or call Council Connect on 01225 394041.