Most of this week, it’s fair to say, has been taken up with meetings; each and every one framed by how much more organisations can achieve by working together – for the benefit of the city and wider regions.
As a council we are currently talking to residents at our forums about the budget challenges we face and on Monday I was at Chew Valley Forum discussing, with residents, how we can best work together to make our money go further while protecting services.
On Tuesday I was at the B&NES Initiative where the Joint Spatial Plan, the future of tourism in the region and Bristol Airport development plans were all on the agenda.
The West of England’s Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) addresses the region’s severe shortage of housing, the need to generate jobs and the provision of critical infrastructure.
Currently the JSP has been published as a draft plan and is now subject to formal consultation. Businesses as well as residents can comment on the plan and play their part in making sure it helps to secure a bright future for the region as a whole. I am encouraging people to find out more and get involved via: www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk
Following the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday I was able to spend some time catching up with members of Bath’s Business Enterprise District to find out about how they are doing, particularly at this time of year, when Bath enjoys one of its busiest seasons with Christmas shoppers enjoying our markets, shops, bars and restaurants.
For many people using the train to get into Bath, be it for work or leisure, is their best option. However services are often stretched. Work to increase the number and frequency of trains running from Severn Beach, in South Gloucestershire, through Bristol and out through Bath was the subject of the West of England Combined Authority meeting yesterday. This again is where we need to work together for better outcomes to ensure a prosperous and healthy future for all of us.
Finally, if you get chance on the next couple of Thursday evenings (14 & 21 December; 5pm-7.30pm), check out Bath BID’s Dickensian Christmas celebration in the city’s Corridor and Northumberland Place pedestrianised shopping areas. It promises an opportunity to step back in time and enjoy costumed characters, singing, music and delicious festive treats.