A key decision regarding the West of England devolution deal was made by Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils this week as we voted to give consent on the Parliamentary Order to seek the establishment of a West of England Combined Authority.

It follows earlier decisions to move forward with the proposed £1billion West of England devolution deal and the subsequent public consultation on the deal in July and August.

This deal is essential to delivering on our priorities of improving transport infrastructure, delivering affordable homes and investing in the skills and training needed for the local economy.

This is the best possible deal for our area – and one that far outweighs any other devolution deal done elsewhere in the country, both in terms of the funding secured and safeguards in place to protect the absolute autonomy of Bath & North East Somerset Council.

The Cabinet approved plans to make and bring into effect the Englishcombe Neighbourhood Development Plan. The plan will now be used to shape the future of their area.

Following the Abbey ward by-election this week, I would like to welcome Councillor Lizzie Gladwyn to Bath & North East Somerset Council. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those electors who took part in the democratic process, either by voting by post or in person at the polling station, and the electoral services team for organising the election.

I attended a very poignant Remembrance Service at the war memorial in Bath’s Royal Victoria Park on Sunday. It was a privilege to be asked to lay a wreath and I was honoured to be around veterans and serving members of the armed forces to remember those who have been injured or killed in conflict. It is such an important event in the calendar not just for those connected to the services but for everyone and it was wonderful to see such a large turnout from people of all ages from young children to older members of the community.

As we are now firmly into winter carnival season I attended the Midsomer Norton Carnival on Monday. This is the largest community event in the Somer Valley and raises thousands of pounds for local charities, community groups and good causes. I am always amazed by the effort that is put into the procession and the support from local people to make it a truly community event. Well done to all those involved.

It was a busy night in Bath on Wednesday as the Christmas lights were switched on. Lights, fireworks, glitter cannons and all kinds of displays meant the Christmas period really arrived with a bang. 

I am also looking forward to the local rugby derby when Bath host Bristol at the Rec on Friday night. I’m sure there will be plenty of rivalry between myself and Mayor of Bristol Councillor Marvin Rees who will also be attending the game with me.