Like all local authorities Bath & North East Somerset Council is facing financial challenges, so I was grateful for the opportunity to share our experiences with Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in London on Thursday as part of a Local Government Association meeting.

Events like this are useful for us to gain recognition for the work of the council and understanding/support going forwards. It also enables us to share experiences and knowledge with other councils across the country, which can help us all.

Earlier this week we made two big decisions at our Cabinet meeting. Firstly, we agreed to continue implementing new opportunities to address the issues of traffic and transport in Bath, particularly to the east of the city. This means that plans for an east of Bath Park & Ride will now not go ahead on either sites B or F (west and east of Mill Lane). Improving transport and tackling Bath’s traffic problems remain one of our highest priorities, which is why we’ve set out a range of measures such as reducing through-traffic in the city, looking into the feasibility of a light-rail tram system, improving access routes to our existing Park & Rides, investing in local rail services, and holding further discussions with neighbouring councils about potential opportunities further out from the city.

With this in mind,  I’ll be meeting next week with Cllr Mark Shelford, our Cabinet Member for Transport & Highways; Cllr Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE, the Leader of Wiltshire Council; and her Cabinet lead on Transport, Cllr Bridget Wayman; along with the West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles. I’ll bring you an update on our discussions in the first week of August

Cabinet also approved proposals for the final in a series of consultations on our intention to integrate the Library and One Stop Shop in Bath.  The consultation will run until Friday 15 September and I encourage everyone to take part and take a detailed look at the full comparison of the two locations and the business case via: www.bathnes.gov.uk/modernlibrary before giving us their views. Copies are also available in all libraries and One Stop Shops throughout Bath and North East Somerset.

On the subject of libraries, with schools breaking up a reminder that children can still sign up for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.  The Challenge aims to keep youngsters between the ages of 4 and 11 reading throughout the school summer holidays. All libraries across Bath and North East Somerset, including the mobile library, are taking part so do pop-in for more information. Happy reading!