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.

Take a peep at the past this week-end!

Take a peep at the past this week-end!

This week-end, Bath & North East Somerset Council is giving residents and visitors a chance to explore parts of the city’s heritage they would normally never get to see.

Every year on four days in September, buildings of national historic importance and contemporary style throw open their doors to enable people to celebrate Britain’s fantastic architecture and cultural heritage.

Cleveland Pools

Cleveland Pools

Between 11 – 14 September, Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Heritage Services team is giving them the opportunity to discover ‘hidden treasures’ and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities that bring local history and culture to life.

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “Heritage Open Days is organised by a huge network of people who share a passion for places, history and culture.

“Attracting over one million visitors, this makes Heritage Open Days England’s biggest voluntary cultural event. It is a once-a-year opportunity to discover treasures never normally seen by the public in places that normally charge for admission.”

bath at workThis year, Bath has 15 different venues taking part: Southcot Burial Ground (Bath Preservation Trust), Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, Central United Reformed Church, Cleveland Pools, Fairfield House, Ralph Allen Cornerstone, St Swithin’s Church, The Magdalen Chapel, The Museum of Bath at Work, Nexus Methodist Church, No.4 The Circus, Roman Baths, St. John’s Store, St Mary’s Catholic Church, Widcombe Association.

For the first time, the Kier Recycling Depot at Keynsham is offering a visit behind the scenes to see what happens to your recycling after collection from your home. Places on the guided-only tours are limited and must be booked in advance with Council Connect. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Organised by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Heritage Services, this year’s open day include special tunnel tours at the Roman Baths and feature two places which are not normally open to the public. All of the sites will open free of charge or provide free events.

· Thursday, 11 September 10am and 3pm, and Friday 12 September 10am and 3pm – go behind the scenes at the Roman Baths and take part in Tunnel Tours.

Areas within the Roman Baths complex you don't normally get to see.

Areas within the Roman Baths complex you don’t normally get to see.

The 90-minute tours take in the Georgian vaults and the main museum store, which includes objects found in Bath from Roman to the Victorian times. Visitors will also be able to see the King’s Spring Borehole supplying water to the Pump Room.

St John's Local History Store.

St John’s Local History Store.

· Friday, 12 September 10am-12 noon and 1pm-3pm – see inside No.4 The Circus, a beautiful house and restored Georgian garden – the first of its kind in Britain.

· Saturday, 13 September 11am – 3pm – marvel at the range of historical spa equipment at St John’s Store and also read the original Victorian spa treatments visitor books. Also on display will be furniture by local craftsmen and some once-familiar sights.

To book a place on the Open Days, please call 01225 477 773. For further information download a leaflet here or visit: http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/heritageevents and http://www.romanbaths.co.uk/whats_on/events/events_calendar/september_heritage_open_days.aspx

Flying the Green Flag!

Flying the Green Flag!

Four local green spaces have been awarded Green Flag status, thanks to local communities working closely with Bath & North East Somerset Council.

The award, presented by the Keep Britain Tidy Group, is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in the UK.

Plan of Keynsham Memorial Park.

Plan of Keynsham Memorial Park.

This year Keynsham Memorial Park; Silver Street Local Nature Reserve, Midsomer Norton; and Haycombe Cemetery and Royal Victoria Park in Bath have received the award.

Councillor David Dixon (Lib-Dem, Oldfield), Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “It is excellent news that four green spaces managed by Bath & North East Somerset Council working with local communities have achieved the Green Flag once again.

“Our Parks Team also provides advice and support to local communities who want to look after their own green spaces and we are keen to work with communities who want to gain a Green Flag in future.”

Judges said they were impressed with the quality of Royal Victoria Park and how it is maintained as somewhere to relax, whilst still playing host to big events. They were impressed with long grass areas left for habitat and new tree and shrub planting, in keeping with the original plant list from the conception of the park.

Haycombe Cemetery is one of very few cemeteries to have received a Green Flag. The team working at the cemetery are always trying to improve the service they provide to the bereaved and say they are delighted that their work on the cemetery grounds has been recognised.

The success of Silver Street Local Nature Reserve is due to the beauty of the reserve and the dedicated efforts of a strong Friends Group which meets every week.victoria park

The Friends have installed a new pathway through the woods to the pond and also organises activities such as birdsong and bat identification walks. Local schools and nurseries are encouraged to visit the woods to hold outdoor lessons and learn about the wildlife in the woods and in the adjacent meadow. The Friends group is supported locally by the Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust and the Midsomer Norton Schools Partnership.

Keynsham Memorial Park has lots of attractions including children’s play areas, a café, a picnic area and ball sports. There is also an ecological zone with a duck pond, a bug garden and the River Chew flowing through. Keynsham Town Council manages events at the bandstand and regular entertainment is provided throughout the summer. Keynsham Memorial Park is also the venue for the annual Keynsham Music Festival.

In 2014 Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Parks Team has created colourful new flower displays which have been welcomed by Keynsham residents and the Green Flag judges.

Find out more about the all local parks maintained by the Council at http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/parks

Wartime memories feature in WW1 Bath civic event.

Wartime memories feature in WW1 Bath civic event.

The memories of nurses who served during the two world wars is to feature in a  World War One Centenary civic event in Bath.

To commemorate one hundred years since the declaration of World War One, on Monday August 4, Bath & North East Somerset Council is holding a civic event to remember the impact this conflict had on people in our local communities.

90-year-old Heather Mackay, a retired nurse living in Lansdown in Bath, who worked during the Second World War, will be taking part. She will be reading extracts written during the First World War by a nurse at Bath War Hospital, whose account mirrors Heather’s own experience of nursing at a time of conflict.

 Heather Mackay’s aunt’s photograph album from her time as a nurse during World War One at Royaumont in France.  Courtesy of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

Heather Mackay’s aunt’s photograph album from her time as a nurse during World War One at Royaumont in France.
Courtesy of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

Heather said: “I remember when prisoners of war were repatriated; my job at that time was to bed-bath the ones that couldn’t do anything for themselves. I was talking to a lad asked him where he was taken prisoner. He said ‘Arnhem, nurse’. I said my cousin was at Arnhem, he got the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) in the Air Force. I went down the ward a bit further and asked another chap where he was taken prisoner and he also said ‘Arnhem, nurse’.

I told him ‘there’s a fellow up there taken prisoner at Arnhem, I’ll find out his name for you’. They were buddies and they each thought the other had been killed. As soon as we quietened down, we moved their beds next to each other and they were just so thrilled to see each other again. It was wonderful.”

Heather has many personal connections to the First World War too, with various family members having served across the war years. Her aunt, Marjorie Chapman, was an auxiliary nurse working at Royaumont, a Scottish Women’s Hospital Unit set up by pioneering surgeon, Dr Elsie Inglis. The British War Office had refused Doctor Inglis’ offer of help with the words, ‘My good lady, go home, and sit still’. Dr Elsie Inglis did not sit still. Instead she began setting up units abroad, starting with Royaumont, at an abbey north of Paris.

‘Bath War Hospital’ watercolour by E. Horton, 1918 (Credit: Wellcome Library, London)

‘Bath War Hospital’ watercolour by E. Horton, 1918
(Credit: Wellcome Library, London)

Heather says of her aunt’s experience: “It was an old Abbey, and it was nothing but women; the doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers were all women. Apparently they sent them a couple of men to service the ambulances and they said ‘no thank you, no thank you, women only’. And you think of that in 1915, it was very advanced. They were amazing women, way ahead of their time. In fact, someone asked me if my aunt was a suffragette and I said no she wasn’t – she didn’t have to be because my grandfather let his daughters do what they wanted. He was ahead of his time.”

The World War One centenary civic event takes place from 6-7pm at Bath War Memorial in the Royal Victoria Park. It is free, and open to everyone to come together in a shared act of remembrance, to mark the centenary through music, readings, and poetry from people from across the district. Contributions by local young people – who have been writing about the 1914-18 War – will also feature, and it will start with a parade by local cadets.

A commemorative wreath will be laid by the Chairman of Bath & North East Somerset Council and The Mayor of Bath.

Councillor Martin Veal, the Chairman of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “We will gather together 100 years to the day when war was declared. As the years pass it is even more important to tell the stories of the First World War so that each generation learns from history and understands about the impact the War had on everyone – young and old; female and male; those left at home, as well as those who went to the battlefields.”

Councillor Cherry Beath, The Mayor of Bath said: “This free civic event will help us understand how our local citizens were affected by, and reacted to the War. It is fascinating to hear about the work of nurses at Bath War Hospital in Combe Park, where the horrors of the trenches could be witnessed on our doorstep. At this event we honour and remember the contribution of local people during the War years.”

For further information about the World War One Centenary Civic Event please contact the event organiser Jasmine Loveys: jasmineloveys@gmail.com or 07984022426

Honouring our volunteers!

Honouring our volunteers!

The Chairman of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Councillor Martin Veal has launched his Community Awards and has plans to make a Special Award to one of the nominations received.

Cllr Martin Veal, Chairman of B&NES

Cllr Martin Veal, Chairman of B&NES

The aim of the awards are to recognise volunteers, community leaders, community organisations and local businesses who work tirelessly in the community to make a positive difference. The Awards highlight the contributions made by local people, their efforts to involve others and impact they make on their communities.

The Awards are organised annually in partnership with, the Volunteer Centre Bath and North East Somerset, social housing provider CURO, and the Student Community Partnership. Last year, there were 114 nominations.

Cllr Martin Veal, Chairman of Council, said: “I am delighted to be hosting the Community Awards this year, along with our partners the Volunteer Centre, Curo and the Student Community Partnership. It is important that we recognise the contributions made by such fantastic people who work tirelessly for the benefit of others. I hope as many people can take the time to nominate for an award as possible.”

Cllr Paul Crossley (Lib Dem, Southdown), Leader of the Council and Chair of the Student Community Partnership, said: “Young people’s efforts are often overlooked and it is important that we have the opportunity to recognise the contribution they make in the local community.”

Vanessa Collier, Community Engagement Manager at CURO, said: “Many of our tenants are key volunteer leaders who play an important role in their local community every day. We are hoping to see lots of nominations arriving from CURO residents, and we are delighted to be able to support the awards again this year.”

Mike Plows, Manager of the Volunteer Centre Bath & North East Somerset, said: “We are honoured once again to be a partner for these awards which allow everyone to recognise and celebrate the fantastic voluntary contribution of both teams and individuals in our communities. We are keen increase the nominations for local businesses who often work behind the scenes for their local community without any recognition.”
The award categories are:

Category 1 – Volunteering Awards

· Volunteer of the Year / Young Volunteer of the Year
· Volunteer Leader of the Year / Young Volunteer Leader of the Year
· Volunteer Team or Organisation of the Year/ Young Volunteer Team or Organisation of the Year
· Good Neighbour of the Year / Neighbourhood Team of the Year
· Lifetime Achievement

Category 2 – Business in the Community Award

· This Award will recognise a socially responsible business which actively supports its local community in positive activities.

The Award categories differ from previous years. The key change is that the Education Award will take place separately rather than as part of the Community Awards.

The Chairman will presenting at ‘Special Award’ to an individual who has improved the lives of those around them through their voluntary efforts in the local community, neighbourhood, church or local organisation. The Chairman will choose a winner of this award from all the nominations received.

How to nominate

The full details about the criteria for nominating people or organisations and nomination forms are available from the Council:

· Website: http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/chairmanawards

· By email to: Sara_banks@bathnes.gov.uk

· In writing to: Sara Banks, Policy & Partnerships, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Lewis House, Manvers Street, Bath, BA1 1JG.