Editor : David Kernek (kernekdavid@gmail.com)

48 applications for Liveable Neighbourhoods

THE request by Bath & NE Somerset Council for Liveable Neighbourhoods submissions has generated 48 applications, which include:

  • 28 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs)
  • 6 Safe Routes to School/School Streets
  • 3 pedestrian safety/public realm schemes
  • 1 HGV enforcement scheme
  • 6 residents’ parking zones (without an LTN)
  • 4 on-street electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities (without an LTN)

Because many of the applications, particularly in Bath, were adjacent to similar proposals, the areas have been strategically linked to ensure, says the council, ‘that synergies can be identified, and area-wide benefits delivered’

Priority areas have been based on the following parameters:

  • Number of households
  • Alignment with LTN objectives/severity of issues
  • Potential timeframe/complexity
  • Alignment with wider strategy, including a) Proximity to schools b) Proximity to local centre or a significant recreation facility c) Within the Bath Clean Air Zone or Air Quality Management Areas  d) Area of multiple deprivation (top 30% most deprived wards in England) e) Area with childhood obesity above B&NES average.

The Liveable Neighbourhood scheme development, says the council in an update paper (file:///C:/Users/User/Desktop/Liveable%20Neighbourhoods%20Update.pdf) will be ‘informed by community engagement in collaboration with ward members, residents’ associations, business, other organizations and individual advocates in the areas concerned’.

The council’s cabinet will review the outcome of this prioritization process and agree the list of priority areas at its meeting on June 23.

Funding to implement Liveable Neighbourhoods is identified as a provisional Transportation Delivery Programme allocation …  

2020/21 £120,000,

2021/22 £1.48 million

2022/23 £500,000

Bath makes its mark on Euros 21

FOLLOWING the announcement of the England squad for the UEFA championship, ACME Whistles has crunched the data to finds that Tyrone Mings (pictured) is the first ever player born in Bath to represent his country.

Since 1950, only eight players representing England (less than 3% of all senior team England internationals) have been born in the South West, with Tyrone also being the first player from Somerset to play for his country.

Born in 1993 – the son of Adie Mings, former striker with non-League Bath City and Gloucester City – Tyrone began his career at Yate Town before moving through a number of clubs until he joined Aston Villa in 2018 on loan, before signing with them permanently in 2019. Having received his first call up to the senior England squad in 2019, he has now been selected to join the UEFA Euro 2020 squad as a centre-back.

ACME’s marketing director Ben McFarlane said: ‘Tyrone is a real inspiration for players at all levels from across Bath. With the new squad announced this week, and the eyes of the nation glued to action, we hope the next generation of players from the area will be inspired to follow in Tyrone’s footsteps.’

For more information on the England internationals stretching back to 1950, go to …  https://www.acmewhistles.co.uk/stories/the-places-that-produce-the-most-england-international-footballers

B&NES Tories elect new leader

THE Conservatives on Bath & NE Somerset Council (B&NES) have a new leader. He is Councillor Vic Pritchard, ward member for Chew Valley and a councillor for 34 years (pictured).

He was elected unanimously, as was Coun. Karen Warrington, the group’s new deputy leader. She is also a Chew Valley ward member.

When the Conservative group was last in control of B&NES Council, Coun Pritchard served as Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, and he currently chairs the council’s Children, Adults, Health and Wellbeing Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel.

Coun. Pritchard said: ‘So far this year we have successfully forced the Liberal Democrat administration to re-think a number of their policies – namely, to charge people to recycle rubbish at the tip, to completely restrict access to Bath city centre, and to introduce controversial Active Travel schemes on which proper public consultation had not taken place.

‘Under my leadership we will continue to be a strong opposition, holding the administration to account and ensuring the pursuit of their policies does not come at the expense of residents and businesses in Bath and North East Somerset.”

Coun. Warrington has served on the council for the past six years and has previously held the post of Cabinet Member for Transformation. She currently sits on the council’s Corporate Policy Development Scrutiny Panel and Employee Committee Panel.

Software fault crashes French emergency calls network

A NETWORK outage at France’s biggest telecoms company – Orange – blocked emergency calls for several hours on Wednesday. Orange France chief Fabienne Dulac said that 20% of calls to emergency services failed on average, prompting French authorities to put in place alternative emergency numbers which were publicized on social media.

The company said it did not yet know the exact cause of the outage, but it was ‘most likely’ due to a software failure in network equipment that routed incoming calls from landline or mobile phones to emergency numbers. All six sites which the infrastructure relied on broke down at the same time.

Samu-Urgences, the central organization for emergency medical services, reported that a third of the calls made to it had failed.

Canal tunnel clean-up

Canal & River Trust volunteers have been removing graffiti from the Kennet & Avon canal tunnel under Cleveland House and Sydney Road in Bath. While getting rid of the 21st century stuff, they found graffiti dating back to Georgian England.

The initials ‘C.Y.M.’ were had been carved into the Bath stone, alongside the year ‘1824’. They also found ‘J.P. 1896’ carved into the stone.

The trust has been helped by a leading expert in the field of removing graffiti, Jamie Fairchild of Restorative Techniques.  He has trained Canal & River Trust employees and volunteers to remove damaging paint marks without harming the stonework.

Police volunteers thanked

AVON & SOMERSET’S Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has marked National Volunteer’s Week by saying thank you to the volunteers who work alongside the police and the PCC’s office, from Special Constables to people who sit on scrutiny panels to help the PCC in his role in holding the police to account.

PCC Mark Shelford said: ‘Our volunteers are compassionate and courageous individuals who continue to support the work of the police and the Police and Crime Commissioner’ office. These volunteers – who freely give up their time – have had to adapt in the last 16 months and, yet, have still made a real impact on local communities. I do not underestimate their dedication and commitment.’

Independent Custody Visiting (ICV), the Independent Residents Panel (IRP), the Out of Courts Disposal (OOCD) and Scrutiny of Police Powers Panel (SOPP) are made up of local people who give up their time to help the OPCC ensure the police service is open and accountable.

The ICV scheme gives people an insight into the conditions in custody as well as the reassurance that someone independent of the police is checking on the welfare of people arrested. Despite the pandemic, volunteers have continued to visit custody every week and, in the coming months, will be particularly focusing on the theme of checking children in custody and reducing overnight stays, as well as remote legal advice no longer being available to children detained in custody.

The IRP volunteers meet quarterly to dip sample complaints, assessing them for efficiency and fairness, as well as highlighting good practice. Next month, the panel will be reviewing complaint cases within the theme of Body Worn Video used as part of the complaint handling process.

The SOPP is made up of local people from diverse backgrounds who help monitor the use of force such as the use of Taser and Stop and Search. At their next quarterly meeting, the volunteers will scrutinize incidents within the theme of disproportionately, linking in and using the local Lammy Group’s recommendations*. The panel will be reviewing Body Worn Video of Stop and Searches where black people are compliant but have still been handcuffed in the Somerset West or Bristol East area.

The OOCD panel scrutinises the use of Out of Courts Disposal to ensure it has been used appropriately, to highlight examples of good practice and to make recommendations for improvement. An Out Of Court Disposal is a method of resolving an investigation for offenders of low-level crime and anti-social behaviour such as graffiti and low-level criminal damage, when the offender is known and admits the offence. An OOCD can be used only in limited circumstances.

*The Lammy Review was a 2017 study of discrimination within the policing and criminal justice systems in the UK, led by Labour MP David Lammy and commissioned by David Cameron and Theresa May (then Prime Minister and Home Secretary respectively). The review found significant racial bias in the UK justice system.

Campaign to stop Min hotel plan stepped up

THE campaign to stop Bath’s Royal Water Mineral Hospital – the Min – being turned into a luxury ‘lifestyle’ hotel has been stepped up as the June 8 deadline for objections to the planning application approaches.

Having had its first plan for converting the Min (1738) rejected by councillors last year, the building’s owner – Fragrance UK – has produced revised proposals and submitted a second application.

The changes have not satisfied the objectors, who say the proposal:

  • Damages a listed building with no public benefit
  • Blocks out light for residents in neighbouring apartments
  • Destroys the Min’s garden, rich in wildlife
  • Creates a ‘massive’ carbon footprint

They also point to the council’s local plan, which says that no more luxury hotels are needed, adding that Bath’s existing hotels are ‘already struggling’.

Comments on the plan can be registered, by June 8, at …


The campaigners can be reached at …


Picture   © David Kernek

Radio Bristol covers Bath’s security zone plan

THE seriously controversial plan to close Bath’s historic centre to almost all traffic – including Blue Badge vehicles and taxis – has been examined today (June 1) by BBC Radio Bristol.

Highlights of the plan – necessary says Bath Council and the police to prevent terrorists in vehicles attacking areas with high footfall – are:

  • A parking ban across the zone, even for disabled drivers
  • Strict vehicle access restrictions for delivery vehicles within the city centre’s most crowded streets
  • Access points operated 24/7 by the council’s CCTV control room
  • Re-enforced static and sliding protective bollards

Radio Bristol’s coverage includes comments by campaigner Lynda Lloyd, who talks about the cuts in Blue Badge parking in Bath in recent years and the adverse impact of the security zone plan on disabled residents and visitors.

A contributor interviewed by Radio Bristol makes the point that traffic bans and bollards would present no hindrance to terrorists travelling on foot and carrying weapons in backpacks.

It can be heard at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p09hl8lt … at approximately 08:05 and 1:10:15.

NHS plan to share patient records with third parties

THE NHS in England is planning to put the medical histories of 55 million patients, including information about mental and sexual health, criminal records and abuse, into a database to be shared with third parties. Privacy campaigners say it is ‘legally problematic’, as people have only a few weeks to opt out of the plan.

NHS Digital, which runs the health service’s IT systems, has confirmed the plan to put  medical records from every patient in England who is registered with a GP clinic into a single database that will be available to academic and commercial third parties for research and planning.

Patients have until June 23 to opt out by filling in a form and giving it to their GP before their records will become a permanent and irreversible part of the new data set. Patients who opt out after the deadline can stop future data from being put into the new system.

Foxglove, a campaign group for digital rights, has issued a legal letter to the Department of Health and Social Care challenging the lawfulness of the plans under current data protection laws and threatening further legal action.

The plan was announced by Matt Hancock, health secretary, in April and publicized mainly on blogs on the NHS Digital website, and through flyers at GP surgeries.  

Says Phil Booth, founder of advocacy group MedConfidential: ‘They’re trying to sneak it out … they are giving you six weeks nominally and if you do not act based on web pages on the NHS digital site and some YouTube videos and a few tweets, your entire GP history could have been scraped, never to be deleted.’ He says the NHS had ‘opaque’ commercial relationships, and that it would be difficult to find out who ultimately sees the data.

NHS Digital says on its website that it publishes a monthly register of who it has released data to, and whether the data is anonymized or not. Data that directly identifies patients will be replaced with unique codes in the new data set, but the NHS will hold the keys to unlock the codes ‘in certain circumstances, and where there is a valid legal reason’, according to its website. NHS Digital says the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s data regulator, had not objected to the plan.

The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) said it could ‘erode the doctor/patient relationship, leaving patients reluctant to share their problems due to fears of where their data will be shared’. Dr Ellen Welch, a GP and the editorial leader of DAUK said: ‘NHS Digital has failed to publicize this adequately to patients or healthcare staff, and we feel more time is needed to explain to patients how exactly their data will be used, who will benefit from it, and what implications it may have for individuals.’

Move Bath’s Christmas Market

A CAMPAIGN is under way to get Bath’s ever-growing Christmas Market moved this year from the centre to Royal Avenue.

The advantages are plain to see: the Abbey setting gets far too crowded, and many residents avoid the centre while it is active.

At the Royal Avenue, there is grass for people to relax and eat their food on, and there could be a couple of beer tents too. Coach drop off would be much easier, as would servicing the stalls. The existing bandstand could be used for choirs and live music, and there is plenty of room for the carousel and other fairground attractions.  

To support the campaign, there’s a petition here …