At our Cabinet meeting on Wednesday we discussed the West of England Joint Spatial Plan and Joint Transport Study, and agreed to go out to further consultation with local residents. We are working with our West of England neighbouring authorities to respond to the needs of our growing population; increasing demands for homes and jobs, and seeking to address the issue of affordability for people on lower salaries wanting to buy or rent their own home. Our intention is to have a joined-up approach to providing the homes that people need and the supporting infrastructure, whilst retaining the individuality of each community. This is an opportunity to ensure that the housing is matched by the necessary support and facilities. This could mean new roads, public transport, schools, and health facilities to meet local needs. The consultation opens on November 7 – I would I encourage people to get involved and make their views known.
It was fantastic to hear that the Roman Baths has been named Large Attraction of the Year and best International Visitor Experience at the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards. More than a million people visit the Roman Baths every year and of these 40% come from overseas. This award reflects the huge efforts made by staff to ensure that our visitors from around the world receive an outstanding welcome.
Well done too to everyone who helped our area win so many awards in South West in Bloom – Bath and North East Somerset has done tremendously well yet again. Local Parish Councils, community groups and volunteers should be extremely proud of their work, which really makes a difference to our local neighbourhoods. Congratulations too to the Council’s parks team which worked hard to secure a prestigious silver gilt award for its entry in the Business Improvement District (BID) category for 2016.
I’d like to mention a series of events taking place to mark the Centenary of World War I. These include the dedication of Firs Field, Combe Down, as a Centenary Field; five screenings of the original ‘Battle of the Somme 1916’ film across the area in November, and an exhibition in Keynsham Library. Details of all the events can be found here.
Sandra Flower, who works in my office, organised a Wear it Pink day on Wednesday to raise money for Breast Cancer research. By selling cakes and raffle tickets she and the team managed to raise £250. Well done all.
Finally, I enjoyed last night’s Bath v Bristol match in the European Rugby Challenge Cup – the first derby for seven years! At 22-6, it was a decisive victory for Bath on home turf – and although it was not a great advert for running rugby, a win is a win.