Let’s get creative!

Let’s get creative!

A new Cultural and Creative strategy for the district is being developed as part of a joint exercise between Bath & North East Somerset Council and organisations within the area.

The Bath Guildhall

The Bath Guildhall

A steering group is being formed with representatives from a wide range of local organisations including the Cultural Forum, Creative Bath, Bath Bridge, The Guild co-working hub and the Arts Council.

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “This new strategy will promote an exciting and coherent vision for building world-class cultural and creative activity for everyone in the district.

Bath and North East Somerset is a unique place in so many ways, and fostering talent, knowledge and skills across all ages and backgrounds will encourage us to flourish in the long term.”

Input will be sought from Bath Spa University, City of Bath College and the University of Bath and many other organisations engaged across the spectrum of cultural and creative activities in Bath and North East Somerset.

Katharine Reeve of Bath Spa University (steering group member and project lead), said: “We have the potential to create a new model for the cultural and creative sectors with a strong social purpose, spirit of wellbeing, and new ways of working collaboratively. We are keen to hear from a wide range of organisations across the sector.”

Any other organisations who would like to get involved too should email celia@bathbridge.co.uk.

Council resume coin-in-the slot loo replacements.

Council resume coin-in-the slot loo replacements.

Bath & North East Somerset Council is moving ahead with plans to install new coin-in-the slot public toilets across the city – despite a halt being called in the public convenience replacement programme while public opinion was consulted.

 New Healthmatic styled cubicle at Monmouth Street

New Healthmatic styled cubicle at Monmouth Street

Healthmatic Ltd, the Council’s contractor, has today (Monday October 13) started work to install new toilets at Charlotte Street car park in Bath; it is planned to complete the work in November, before the Christmas Market begins. Temporary toilets will be in place during this time.

The car park will have 4 cubicles, including one disabled. There is also an autoloo at the entrance to the car park which will remain.

At its meeting on September 11, the Council agreed to pause the improvement programme and undertake a review of cubicle capacity and consultation with residents and users at each location.

This has now been done, and initial user surveys give positive feedback on the much better quality and cubicle numbers. User count data collected in the past and the numbers of people using the new toilets to date also shows that the cubicle numbers proposed are sufficient

The Council’s contract with Healthmatic Ltd will provide investment in cleaning and management services for 15 years, and means that 15 public toilets in parks, play areas, green spaces and key transport hubs will remain open and be improved.

Cllr David Dixon (Lib Dem, Oldfield), Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “It will be good to have these new, modern, clean toilets in place to greet shoppers at what is one of Bath’s busiest car parks. The new toilets that have been completed at Monmouth Street; Odd Down Park & Ride; sandpit play area; Alice Park, and Keynsham Memorial Park are much improved, cleaner and safer to use. Improvements to the remaining toilets will take place over the autumn and winter.

“These types of toilets operate very successfully in other parts of the country – there are over 110 councils all over the UK with Healthmatic toilets, from busy night-time city centres like Glasgow to tourist destinations like the Cotswolds, Oxfordshire and North Somerset, including parks, and seaside locations.”

toilet-sign

Cllr Dixon also said that negotiations with local businesses to keep public toilet provision at Larkhall and Weston are going well, and that two new toilets at Newbridge Park and Ride will also open in December.

The new public toilets will have many benefits for local people, including:

• Cubicles will be unisex, one will be disability compliant and will have baby-change facilities – before there was no baby-change facility at all
• The cubicles offer a high standard of cleanliness and safety and are able to handle large numbers of people using them
• They are large enough for a parent with a couple of small children and a pushchair to use together
• High-tech controls means access can be 24 hours / 7 days a week all year and timers can be adjusted remotely to suit local need as well
• Access is by coin entry to a totally private cubicle with its own hand-washing and drying facilities
• The inside is resistant to vandalism and misuse with an easy-clean tiled interior and hard-wearing fittings
• Problems are detected remotely enabling rapid response by Healthmatic’s engineering and maintenance teams

All of the refurbished facilities will be charged at 20p for use, in order to make the contract sustainable over the next 15 years.

In order to deliver the improvements within the budget available the Council closed five public toilets in July (though some of these closures may only be temporary and the Council would still welcome proposals and is happy to work with local businesses or community groups to explore viable solutions):

• Larkhall and High Street, Weston – proposals with local businesses being finalised to run a PC alongside their business.
• Dominion Road, Twerton – we are now preparing for commercial rental or sale of the property.
• Bradford Road, Combe Down – we are now preparing for commercial rental or sale of the property.
• Greenlands Road, Peasedown St John – this will be demolished to make way for extra spaces in the well-used car park.

Alongside this the Council is working with Batheaston Parish Council to look at the future of the public toilets in London Road car park.

The numbers of cubicles provided are based on user counts and are as follows:

1. Royal Victoria Park play area, 8
2. Parade Gardens, 2
3. Memorial Park – Keynsham 2
4. Sydney Gardens, 2
5. Alice Park, 2
6. Henrietta Park, 2
7. Monksdale Road, 2
8. Alexandra Park, 2
9. The Shallows in Saltford, 2
10. Monmouth Street, 4
11. Riverside Coach Park, tbc
12. Charlotte Street Car Park, 4
13. Odd Down Park & Ride, 2
14. Shaftesbury Road 1 (existing auto-loo)
15. Charlotte Street 1 (existing auto-loo)

Heritage Open Week

Heritage Open Week

bath at work

Museum of Bath at Work.

Get set for 9 days of fun-filled activities at heritage sites across the district as Bath & North East Somerset Council co-ordinates another Heritage Open Week this October.

Heritage Open Week starts on Saturday 25 October and runs until Sunday 2 November with 20 organisations offering activities for all to enjoy.

Most activities you just turn up but there are some which you need to book in advance so pick up a brochure at your local Council Connect or search for “Heritage Open Week” on the Council website (www.bathnes.gov.uk) to find out more.

There’s a whole variety of things for families and people of all ages in the 2014 special celebration of Heritage in Bath and North East Somerset.

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council is proud to organise Heritage Open Week and celebrate the area’s distinctive array of heritage sites with this special programme of activities.

“These events can be a thoroughly rewarding experience as you can find out a lot about Bath and North East Somerset’s rich heritage – which might have otherwise been taken for granted. On top of that, there are lots of fun things to do and plenty of great ways to keep the kids entertained over the half term holidays.”
The Council’s Victoria Art Gallery opens with The Big Draw: Rhymn-ing Saturday 25 October (11am-3pm) which is an activity for all to get drawing and creating rhythmic patterns inspired by our city’s streets and landscape.

roman bathsFamily activities start at the Roman Baths on Monday 28 October and run every weekday from 10am – 1pm & 2pm – 4pm. We are creating pop up characters from our special hoard of 17,577 coins. This activity is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The fun continues at the Roman Baths on the afternoon of Tuesday 29 October and early evening from 4pm to 7pm with a special torch-lit event investigating treasure!

We will be hosting members of the British Museum and Wiltshire Conservation Unit who will be explaining how they look after archeological objects, including coins. You can also take the chance to get up close using one of the special microscopes to see Roman treasure in detail.

Dress of the Year 2013 is revealed at the Fashion Museum. April 2014. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk

Dress of the Year 2013 is revealed at the Fashion Museum. April 2014. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk

Family activities at the Fashion Museum run Tuesday 29, Wednesday 30 and Thursday 31 October in the afternoons (2pm-4pm) when we are creating figures with fashion flare. Make life-sized creations in the latest fashions.

New organisations taking part for 2014 are The Institute of Interdisciplinary Arts from the University of Bath who will be hosting ‘The Tour of all Tours’ book a place at their box office on 01225 386777 or try the Visit Bath visitor information centre.

Entry to the Council-run museums for their Heritage Open Week events is free of charge to Bath & North East Somerset Council residents upon production of a Discovery Card. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Please note that not all of the other museums are open free of charge for the whole week and admission charges apply to non-residents.
Other events to consider include:

· Museum of Bath at Work – Monday 27 October at 11am there will be a short film for all those steam-heads in the area. See Enginemen a film from 1959 on steam locomotive drivers.

· Radstock Museum – Monday 27 October 1.30pm are hosting a fossil hunt on a coal spoil heap. Meet at the museum.

· Back for a second year is the popular Falconry Demonstration at the American Museum in Britain on Tuesday 28th at 12.30pm.

Six million pound flood scheme ready for formal approval.

Six million pound flood scheme ready for formal approval.

river avonmFollowing extensive public consultation, plans have been submitted to Bath & North East Somerset Council for a £6.2 million project to defend against flooding and reconnect the River Avon to Bath city centre.

The Bath Quays Waterside Project would put in place essential flood mitigation and defence works to the north and south banks of the river between Churchill Bridge and Midland Bridge that address the negative impacts of climate change.

The Council is working with the Environment Agency on the major infrastructure proposal, which would provide flood defences for parts of Bath’s city centre and begin to improve accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists in the riverside environment. Subject to approval, it is hoped to begin work in 2015.river avon

The project would not increase flood risk up or downstream and would not stop other flood alleviation works going ahead elsewhere in the city. The Council is working with the Environment Agency to re-evaluate options inside and outside of the new regeneration areas to ensure flood risk in Bath is managed as effectively as possible. This includes considering the future roles and operation of Pulteney and Twerton gates.

Extensive public consultation took place in April and May this year to obtain feedback from local residents, businesses and other interested parties. The project team consulted with landowners and affected parties adjoining the scheme, along with a number of statutory bodies including Natural England, English Heritage and Canals & River Trust along with representative stakeholders – including CycleBath, Sustrans, Bath Preservation Trust, Bath Chamber of Commerce and the Initiative in B&NES.

river avon green parkAs a result of the public consultation, the following changes have been made:

· Amendments to the Green Park Road proposals include a change in the Avon Street car park exit location and the location of Corn Street pedestrian crossing.
· Various changes to proposed flood protection works to existing buildings on south river bank and adjacent flood walls, and to
· Proposed tree species on north bank including an increase in the range of maturity of trees to be planted.

The project could support the delivery of around 2,500 new homes, up to 650,000 square feet of new workspace and 9,000 new jobs for local people as part of the Bath City Riverside Enterprise Area. It would overcome one of the major stumbling blocks to unlocking the potential of brownfield sites along the River Avon – the possibility of flooding.

The plans also aim to reduce existing and future flood risk to the Lower Bristol Road and over 100 residential and commercial properties on the South side of the river through the provision of new flood defences.

To view and comment upon the planning application, go to: http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/BathQuaysWatersidePlans.

To learn more about the project, visit: http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/bathquayswaterside.

DETAILED INFORMATION:

The Bath Quays Waterside Project would form the first and critical stage in enabling regeneration of derelict and low-value land to create a new quarter called Innovation Quays, which, in turn, would deliver an extension to the city centre, creating a new business district enabling jobs and business growth.

Together, Bath Quays Waterside and Innovation Quays offer the potential to radically transform this area through the creation of a major new waterside employment destination. The proposals include upper and lower level river promenades, defined cycle and walking routes, natural landscaping and ecology, a large riverside public space offering opportunities for outdoor performances and events, and greater opportunities to hold activities on the river. The new environment would provide an attractive and playful waterfront for Bath that could be used and enjoyed by thousands of people all year round.

In summary, the plan would:

• Provide the flood mitigation to enable the redevelopment of the Bath Quays and Manvers Street sites forming the first step towards the realisation of the Bath City Riverside Enterprise Area and the Council’s ‘Innovation Quays’ project.
Significantly widen the north bank to up to 15m wide at the lower tow-path level between Churchill Bridge and Green Park to accommodate water that would currently flow down the Lower Bristol Road in flood conditions. This would require that Green Park Road is diverted away from the riverside northwards to link up with Corn Street creating the major opportunity to open up the riverside to the city.
Improve linkages for cyclists and pedestrians along the north bank of the River and between the riverside path and the City Centre.
Remove trees along the southern verge of Green Park Road and along the new road alignment and replace them with new planting.
Create a more amenable route for pedestrians and cyclists through landscaping works and path realignment along the southern perimeter of Green Park. ;
Install new flood walls and raise existing river walls on the south side of the river between Churchill Bridge and Midland Bridge;
Improve flood defences on existing buildings fronting onto the river along Lower Bristol Road.

The Council and Environment Agency propose to fund these essential works with a combination of Revolving Infrastructure funding made available by West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, and Local Levy and Flood Defence Grant in Aid funding.

Keynsham Civic Centre opens in October

Keynsham Civic Centre opens in October

With Keynsham’s new Civic Centre due to open next month, Bath & North East Somerset Council is inviting the Town Council to consider managing the new outdoor public space being provided within it.

They are hoping local councillors will see it as an area that could be used for events like farmers’ markets, community activities and other promotional gatherings.

The new Keynsham Civic Centre

The new Keynsham Civic Centre

Councillor David Bellotti (Lib-Dem, Lyncombe), Cabinet Member for Community Resources, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council wants the outdoor public space at the new Keynsham Civic Centre to be used for community activities.

“We see this public space as providing a focus of activity for residents which creates opportunities for local farmers, businesses and voluntary organisations to promote and sell their products and services. We are making an offer to Keynsham Town Council to manage this opportunity because they are in the best position to know their local organisations and work up the best offer for residents.”

Keynsham Town Council is considered to be well placed to manage the local events calendar as it has a clear understanding of the needs of the local community and local economy. This opportunity will also allow greater flexibility for the local community to develop new ideas for future events.

Bath & North East Somerset Council is asking Keynsham Town Council to provisionally accept the proposal in principle – on the shared understanding that further discussion and negotiation needs to take place regarding the management and potential expenditure and income generation for the Town Council.

Seven Dials makeover

Seven Dials makeover

Bath & North East Somerset Council is holding a public exhibition about improvement plans for the Seven Dials area of Bath at the Guildhall on Tuesday, September 16.

A £1.2 million grant from the Department for Transport’s Cycle City Ambition programme is being used to improve the area for walking and cycling.

The Seven Dials improvement scheme

The Seven Dials improvement scheme

Benefits will include:

· More space and better facilities for pedestrians. Flush surfaces across the area rather than kerbs thereby improving accessibility, particularly for people with disabilities or those using pushchairs.
· Increased access for cyclists allowing them to cross Seven Dials to take advantage of new contraflow routes being created on surrounding streets.
· Investment in high-quality surface materials that will improve the look of the area which, alongside the forthcoming regeneration of Saw Close, will make it a much more pleasant environment for local people, businesses and visitors.

Seven Dials, incorporating Kingsmead Square and Saw Close, is the historic west gate of Bath the city where seven routes met and lies to the west of the city’s main thoroughfare.

This project aims to improve the area as a public space with more focus on the needs of people walking and cycling through the delivery of a ‘shared space’. At the moment far more pedestrians than cars use the area around Seven Dials but, because they don’t have sufficient space on the footway, often have to step into the road, putting them at risk. Removing the notion of motor vehicles automatically having priority by removing distinctions between road and footway will require all users to have more awareness of others and co-operate to move around safely. Taking such steps to make the area more walkable and cycle-friendly is also an opportunity to invest in the city’s urban fabric.

Councillor Caroline Roberts, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “This investment is a key element of our strategy which aims to make Bath the UK’s most walkable city. It links to the priorities of the emerging wider transport strategy Getting Around Bath which will emphasise sustainable travel to reduce congestion and support the long-term economic strategy for the area.

“The expanding route network will also support the nextbike scheme, launched in July, which is proving extremely popular with visitors and local people.”

In designing this, the Council has listened to a variety of stakeholders on the designs including the RNIB, Guidedogs for the Blind, The Cycling Forum and local ward Councillors.

Work is expected to start in the new year, after the Christmas embargo (November 25 – January 5), which is put in place across all road projects to avoid any disruption to local businesses over the busy Christmas period.

The exhibition at The Guildhall will be open to the public from midday to 6pm and will be an opportunity view the plans and ask questions.
Those who can’t attend but who are interested should visit the Council’s web pages – http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/sevendials

Residents and businesses around Seven Dials will shortly receive a leaflet about the plans. Anyone else without access to the internet who would like this written information should contact: Strategic Transport Projects, First Floor South Block, Riverside, Temple Street, Keynsham BS31 1LA or phone 01225 395419

T’ai Chi – Roman styled.

T’ai Chi – Roman styled.

Residents of Bath and North East Somerset who wish to start their day following a session of early morning gentle exercise and relaxation should look no further.

From late September to early December, Bath & North East Somerset Council is offering weekly T’ai Chi sessions on the terrace at the Roman Baths in Bath.

The terrace at the Roman Baths

The terrace at the Roman Baths

The beautiful terrace will be the venue for the sessions on Tuesdays, 30 September; 7, 14, 21 and 28 October; 4, 11, 18, 25 November and 2 December.

All sessions will commence at 8.15am and finish at 8.45am. Sessions are open to anyone interested in improving their balance and general psychological health.

T’ai Chi is a Chinese martial art, which is widely believed to promote well-being by focusing the mind on the physical movements which bring about a state of mental calm. What better way to start the working day? Can you hold a position as well as the historical figures gazing down upon you?

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “Practising an ancient and gentle martial art form in the historic and calm environment of the terrace at the Roman Baths will set people up for the rest of the day, whatever their plans, and will also allow us to see the Roman Baths in a new light.

Another terrace overlooking the Great Bath

Another terrace overlooking the Great Bath

“Many centuries ago, the Roman Baths were a meeting place and it is wonderful that the terrace is still used as a meeting place for Bath’s modern residents and workers.

The early morning T’ai Chi session would fit easily into a working day or a trip to the shops or other sites of cultural and historical interest.”

The sessions cost £40 for a block of ten and should be booked in advance by calling 01225 477773. It is advised to wear loose, comfortable clothing and flat shoes.