In September last year the Liberal Democrat Council administration promised to consult residents on whether action should be taken over nuisance noise by buskers in parts of the city centre. The consultation is now open and residents have until 29 March to respond.
Bath city Councillors have emphasised that the proposals are not about banning busking all together and would only apply to the small squares immediately surrounding the Abbey. City centre Councillor, Manda Rigby, commented:
“I know for a fact that many Bath residents and visitors enjoy listening to buskers in the city centre. However, the use of amplification in certain squares has caused problems. We have listened to the many complaints from local residents, businesses and visitors, which can’t be ignored, and I welcome the consultation on whether action should be taken.
“I believe the area surrounding Bath Abbey is particularly unsuitable for amplified busking due to the enclosed nature of the squares and need for church services and events to be held in peace. There is no need for amplification here, where it can disturb residents, businesses and visitors.”
Councillor David Dixon (Liberal Democrat, Oldfield ward), Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods, added:
“This is absolutely not about getting rid of buskers in Bath. We have a good working relationship with most buskers and we recognise their contribution to the liveliness of the city centre.
“As amplifiers have got smaller, cheaper and louder the Council has received more complaints about buskers. Our long-term attempts at an informal, voluntary solution have failed due to a small minority who will not co-operate and are spoiling it for everyone else; this is not a knee jerk reaction.”
The Order to ban the use of amplifiers would be called a “Public Spaces Protection Order”; such Orders were created by the Anti- Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act. Under the proposed ban, buskers wold not be allowed to use amplifiers in Abbey Church Yard, Kingston Parade and Abbey Green, but acoustic busking would still be allowed and amplifiers could still be used elsewhere.
Bold Liberal Democrat plans to finally fix Bath’s traffic and pollution problems have been given crucial support by the Government today. It has welcomed the Bath Transport Strategy which includes plans for a new railway station, dubbed Bathampton Parkway, with a large hidden car park. This is the clearest indication yet that the scheme will get the green light.
The Transport Strategy, which was adopted last month, includes a visionary Park & Rail scheme. This will mean that local residents and commuters arriving from the East of the city will avoid the current stop-start struggle into the city along London Road. Instead they will be whisked into Bath in just 4 minutes on trains running four times an hour. A knock-on benefit to Bath residents will be significant reductions in traffic and pollution.
Parliamentary candidate for Bath, Steve Bradley, recently visited Bathampton with Nick Clegg to explain Bath’s desperate need for the schemes, leading to today's announcement. Steve commented:
"I want to make Bath even better, and I believe that these schemes will make a massive difference to the everyday lives of people in and around the city."
Leader of the Council, Councillor Paul Crossley, added:
"This very positive announcement allows us to move to the next level with this project, one that the LibDems have championed from its inception. There will, of course, be full public consultation on these schemes."
And speaking up for B&NES residents who live outside the city, Wera Hobhouse the Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate for North East Somerset said:
"Bathampton Parkway Station will be a great help to people who live in the South or East of Bath. It will be much easier for them to get into the city or Bristol and beyond. To get a brand new station in our area is fantastic."
Today's government statement on the National Infrastructure Plan can be seen here: LINK.
The section on Bath reads as follows: "Bath City Centre Congestion Relief: The Government welcomes the strategy put forward by Bath and North East Somerset Council and the West of England LEP to improve transport capacity East of Bath and reduce city centre congestion. The government will consider a business case, which will be developed by Bath and North East Somerset Council that assesses the viability of proposals including a park and ride, as well as a park and rail service, located to the East of Bath."
On Friday night in Saltford Hall, North East Somerset Liberal Democrats selected former teacher and Paulton resident Wera Hobhouse as their candidate for the General Election in May 2015.
Wera has a long record of successfully campaigning on local issues, having saved library buildings and helped deliver play areas when she was last a Councillor. The Hobhouses are an old Somerset family, and Wera moved to Paulton with her husband so that they could be closer to older family members once her children had grown and left home.
Wera said, "I'm absolutely delighted to have been selected to stand up for local residents in North East Somerset. We have such a wonderful variety of towns and villages across this area, with different heritages and priorities. I want to promote a thriving economy for these areas, so that employers are attracted not just to Bristol or Bath but to our home too. That's why I support the Lib Dem-run Council who have got the regeneration projects in Radstock, Keynsham and elsewhere off the ground."
She added, "As a former teacher, education is one of my top priorities. The Lib Dems have invested an extra over £10million in BANES schools, funding teaching assistants, IT systems, school trips and more. I want to see that keep making a difference, and to make sure teachers' voices are heard when it comes to making policy changes."
Wera is also a strong environmental campaigner, and has supported the successful Liberal Democrat campaign to prevent fracking in Bath and North East Somerset.
On hearing the news, Paul Crossley, Leader of BANES Council said, "I am thrilled that Wera has been selected to champion the people of North East Somerset. I know she will fight tirelessly for residents across the area, and will be a brilliant voice for them."
Liberal Democrats in Bath have welcomed the news that the Cleveland Pools Trust has won its bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Cleveland Pools are a significant part of the UK’s history and heritage, being the only surviving Georgian lido in the country.
This funding will enable the team there to get the Pools back to their glory days when the pools were open to the public for outdoor swimming.
The Liberal Democrat administration on B&NES Council backed the Cleveland Pools bid with a pledge of £200,000 towards the match funding requirement for this scheme.
Ann Dunlop of the Cleveland Pools Trust commented:
“I have to say that the current Lib Dem administration have made the big difference to our success by pledging to support us if we got the HLF grant. Many councillors had supported us when in opposition and continue to do so in a variety of ways now for which we are extremely grateful.”
Steve Bradley, PPC for Bath, who has volunteered at the Pools, said:
"Cleveland Pools are a real historical gem, and one of Bath's best kept secrets. The community group behind it deserve huge credit for bringing this piece of national and local history back to life."