Monday marked the 10th Anniversary of the opening of Bath’s Thermae Spa and I began the week with an interview on BBC Radio Bristol discussing the economic benefits it has brought to Bath and North East Somerset. It’s had a big impact with 50 per cent of visitors to Thermae Spa staying in the area and spending money locally. Since the Spa opened in 2006 the total additional spend of visitors in Bath has topped £115 million, £14.5 million of that was in the last year alone. The spa has also been the catalyst for other developments in the city including, most recently, the restoration of a redundant building in the centre of Bath which has opened as the 99-bedroom Gainsborough Bath Spa hotel and makes use of Bath’s natural thermal waters.
This week has also seen the conclusion of our consultation events where we’ve been talking and listening to local people about the creation of a new West of England Mayoral Combined Authority and the proposed devolution deal. The deal would unlock £1 billion of extra funding over the next 30 years, giving us more freedom to plan for the future, invest in new infrastructure and deliver new homes and jobs. This week we heard from people living in Chew Valley, Midsomer Norton and Whitchurch. Our final drop-in session is being held on Saturday 13 August between 11am – 4pm in Bath City Centre at the junction of Old Bond Street and Milsom Street. It’s been very encouraging to hear the views of so many people and there is still time to let us know your thoughts online before the consultation closes on Monday 15 August.
On Wednesday I joined Cabinet Members and Senior Managers from the Council and Curo at one of our regular Foxhill Housing Zone workshops. We are working with Curo to help shape the regeneration of the Foxhill estate as part of the Foxhill Housing Zone delivery. The workshop focussed on options to maximise the number of affordable houses provided and to improve the benefits of regeneration, understanding the development’s viability and the need to test the various development option scenarios, as well as looking at how we put the Foxhill Regeneration and Development Charter into practice.
Looking ahead to next week and I will be attending the Civic Reception for the visiting Mayor of Beppu at the Guildhall next Thursday. It’s more than 20 years since the then Bath City Council formed a ‘Partnership agreement’ with the Japanese city. The Mayor of Beppu is visiting Bath at the invitation of our Mayor. He is bringing with him a delegation of officials from Oita Prefecture, where Beppu is located, which has been selected as one of the venues for the Rugby World Cup being held in Japan in 2019. While they are here they’ll visit Bath Rugby and the University of Bath to see what they can learn from Bath’s experience of hosting the Australian Rugby Squad during last year’s World Cup.
Staying with sport, I like many have been glued to Olympics, although the time difference makes it a little difficult to watch the action live! But what a great start Team GB have had with two medals for Team Bath swimmers.
Many congratulations to Jazz Carlin, who claimed silver in the Women’s 400m Freestyle and to Bitton’s Siobhan- Marie O’Connor who also took a silver medal in the 200m individual medley.
It was also wonderful to see Kitty King, who is a good friend of mine, compete in her first Olympics in the Equestrian 3 Day Event Team. Kitty lives just over the border near Chippenham and although the British Team finished out of the medals, I know Kitty was extremely proud to represent her country. Fingers crossed for more local Olympic success in the coming days.