Somer Valley Chamber of Commerce

This week has been packed tighter than a Rugby World Cup scrum – with quite a number of key things happening! As I mentioned in last week’s blog, on Friday, I attended a Key Cities meeting in London – aimed at lobbying the Government to give a stronger voice to medium-sized cities like Bath and the North East Somerset area. Together we’re pushing for more devolution and greater power to be given to our city areas; so that we can make even more of our key decisions locally. We talked through how best to go about this to achieve the right outcome, and we will be meeting with the Government in the near future to present our case.

I also took part in an in-depth discussion of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which turned out to be very productive for our area. Thanks to the excellent work of the Council’s Economy and Culture Team on plans to promote the Bath Enterprise Area and encourage inward investment for Bath and the Somer Valley – the B&NES Council initiative has been selected by the LEP as the preferred bid to put forward for Government funding. Our proposals still need to go through the Government to seek its backing but this is a positive step forward and we will continue to lobby for it.

Our public consultation on plans for a new east of Bath Park & Ride site continues to draw a lot of interest – we’ve now had over 800 responses – both online and at the drop-in events in Bathampton, The Guildhall and Batheaston. If you were unable to make it to a meeting, remember that we’ve extended the online consultation period until 18 October. Please take a look at the plans and give us your views –– all the information can be found on the Park and Ride proposal page.

I was delighted to be part of the launch of the new Somer Valley Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday night. The event, at Bath College’s Somer Valley campus in Radstock, marks the creation of a new organisation for business – not just in Radstock and Midsomer Norton but across the whole Somer Valley. As a Council, we appreciate that vibrant market towns are vital in providing local services and employment for the immediate population and surrounding rural areas and we’re committed to working alongside businesses in the Somer Valley to promote ongoing economic growth in the area. 

On Wednesday evening, I’ll be joining Bath members of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Bath College for a special event; where business students from the college and the FSB Bath Committee will present the findings of their recent research into issues faced by our local traders. I look forward to listening to what they have to say as we consider new ways to support the local economy, particularly small businesses.

Good luck to everyone involved in the Chew Magna Practice Flood event, on Saturday. This is a worthwhile initiative to help anyone who may be at risk of flooding to ensure they are prepared; with experts on hand to offer advice including how to install their flood protection products.

This is also a good opportunity to remind you of the consultation on the Council’s Local Flood Risk Management Strategy. We want local people to help shape the Strategy, which builds on the Council’s significant investment to support flood prevention measure, so it’s important that as many people as possible give us their feedback. To review the draft strategy document and give feedback online visit: Paper versions of the questionnaire are available at the Council’s One Stop Shops and libraries and can be handed in before the Monday 26 October deadline.

I’m looking forward to the official opening of Bath’s revamped Midland Bridge on Thursday afternoon. The bridge looks magnificent following its £1million refurbishment, which will help ensure the longevity of this historic structure. The Council’s Highways Team, and its contractors have done a great job in completing the work to such a high standard – and a week ahead of schedule.

Finally, I’d best not mention last week’s result from the rugby – instead I’ll look ahead to this weekend’s England fixture. I’m afraid there’s no question of divided loyalties for the Australia team who we’re hosting in Bath – this time we’re definitely in it to win it!