Agenda and minutes

Venue: Banqueting Room - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Mark Hayward 01225 396975  Email:

Note No. Item


Welcome and Introductions


Councillor Bob Goodman (Chair) opened the meeting and welcomed everybody in attendance.

15 mins


Policing issues in Bath


Chief Inspector Kevin Thatcher provided an update on Policing matters in Bath.


The major drug operation in Bath ‘Operation Hyndra saw 29 arrests made with a further 10 arrests following the raids. Some of those have been through the court and have seen sentencing of between two and three years. Additionally many have been handed out Criminal Behaviour Orders so when they do come out of prison they will be controlled. 


The Police are working with organisations like Curo and Julian House to help rehabilitate offenders when they are released from prison. 


The Police are holding fortnightly meetings that look at intervention with individual street drinkers who are persistent offenders. This method looks at the needs through conducting interviews and prioritising the actions.

I was explained that to hassle and move offenders simply moves on the problem. This is something we have to deal with at the route of the problem rather than push it somewhere else.




1 Rosie Phillips – What has been the impact on drug supply to the City following the recent action in Bath?

Response – The impact has not been as great as it was hoped but there has been some disruption to the supplies coming into the City.

Follow Up – has there been a ripple effect to outlying areas?

Response – It is understood how displacement of the problem exists and when Wiltshire were taking action Bath saw an increase in supply. The Police are determined to keep taking action and where possible join up with neighbouring authorities.


2. Councillor Dine Romero – What action can the Police take against private residents who are involved in crime?

Response – Criminal behaviour orders are used to disrupt the activities.


3. Councillor Dine Romero – What is being done to deal with the problem of rough sleepers with mental health issues?

Response – The Police work with individuals and build plans to deal with each case.


4. Councillor Dine Romero – What more can be done to deal with aggressive begging in the City?

Response - We need to improve specific actions around beggars, this can  be quite difficult to deal with.


5. Councillor Chris Pearce – A lot of residents are concerned about car break-ins on the Weston Road, could CCTV be used to look into this?

Response – There have been a small spate of vehicle crimes. In relation to what the Police are doing, extra patrols in that area. We may now go another four five or six months without further offences reassurance can be given that things have been put in place to sort this out. Cameras are possible but difficult; there is also the cost element to it. If people are really worried then please put them in contact with me.

Comment from Councillor Martin Veal – The suggestion was made that the B&NES CCTV manager could liaise more closely with Avon and Somerset police in Bath.


6. Councillor Shaun Stephenson-McGall – Can you provide an update be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

40 mins


Questions for MP for Bath, Ben Howlett

If you have a question that you would like to have considered, please send these by e-mail to:   


1 Councillor Joe Rayment – Councillor Tim Warren admitted the speed and scale of local government cuts are endangering social care in B&NES. Why did you consistently vote to deal the council that card ... causing a humanitarian crisis to the NHS?

Response - Social care clearly has a huge amount of pressures attached to it at the moment, B&NES is being used as an example of best practice. The government is currently looking at considering whether we should be front loading with care,

It is not a rosy picture out there in terms of the economy. Yes there are financial pressures but B&NES have put down very good budget proposal.


2. Councillor Bob Goodman asked an e-mailed question on behalf of Emma Adams - Do you still believe that a new Park and Ride on Bathampton Meadows will significantly reduce congestion and pollution on the London Road as you did when you campaigned in the election?

Response – Both the park and ride and the A36/46 link road are progressing very nicely at the moment. It was a cross party agreement.

Over the last few months there has been an awful lot of concern and forgetfulness about why Park and Ride has been put into place in the first place. The Council decided after going through dozens of different sites to decide on site B. I think the Council have made the right decision in selecting site B.

Additionally the location would benefit the call for additional rail services from Batheaston Station if is reinstated in the future.


3. Councillor Peter Turner – Has protesting become dysfunctional with the volume has increased.

Response – Debate and opposition is a good thing and protest when not violent form part of this.


4. Rosie Phillips – Should the lack of affordable housing in Bath lead to a separate level for housing allowances being set for the City?

Response - I have a huge amount of frustration about developers trying to get out of providing affordable housing. I think across the whole of Bath we are facing a number of challenges across these areas. To most people in Bath, a two bedroom flat costing £350,000 is absolutely not affordable. 

Access to starter home funding has not been available to the City.


5. Councillor Andy Furse - What is Ben is doing to ensure Chris Grayling understands we do need electrification?

Response – It was clarified that there isn't any cancellation over electrification, there is however a delay due to a funding issue.

The funding issue is around the numbers for 2019-2024. In the mean time we need to see how much skilled labour is available to put the lines in above the tracks. Network Rail had promised they will be able to deliver a scheme without realising they didn't have enough staff.

When the West of England Mayor is in post from May 2017 there will be powers to tackle regional issues, such as the hold ups that occur  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

45 mins


Bath Libraries

Cabinet Member for Community Services, Councillor Martin Veal will be taking part in a discussion about the proposals that are being considered for Bath Libraries.  


Cabinet Member for Community Services, Councillor Martin Veal provided the meeting with an update in Bath Library Services


There has been much debate given from across many directorate portfolios to provide suggestions, a lot of time and effort has gone into putting together the proposals. The proposals in part are due to Lewis House being owner by The Council and The Podium is a leased space.


The proposals have taken into account the success that Keynsham has indicated to us with the One Stop Shop. Statistics show us that there was a fall of 11% of active users in Bath while there was a corresponding 12% increase in Keynsham because of the way that facilities are provided. There are examples of what the new modern space could look like on our website and in the room tonight.


This is not a closure and it is recognised that this going to be a ‘one size fits all’ solution. What is proposed will ensure residents can access a modern library service and have access to a One Stop Shop in one place. We need to co-locate libraries with community service to ensure we can continue to provide a modern library service. All existing services will still be available in the new modern library. We welcome all constructive and challenging points.


The three million books will still be accessible just as they are now, events will continue to be hosted and there will be modern computers and fast Wi-Fi available. A more modern location will mean more modern and contained facilities for small children. All this information and more details are available on our website which went live yesterday.


Modernising the library service will contribute £800,000 per year as we move forward. £200,000 per year will be saved by relocating from the Podium Space. 


The Podium location was not purpose built and originally it was intended for use as law courts, the public rejected to that idea when it was proposed.

There's a lot of misinformation out there, we welcome as much input as you can give us to help us achieve what the community wants. 



Divisional Director for Customer Services, Ian Savigar provided further detail


In September/October 2016 all five Connecting Community Forums received a presentation on the challenges facing the Library Service. The review has been looking at other library services in and outside of Bath.


The Keynsham development gave us the opportunity to look at what other authorities have been doing, good practice and carried of lots of research.


Children and families are biggest users of the library service; the designs are open to creating bigger family and children spaces to cater for this.


In creating an integrated space we want to make sure that we are providing for the right skills and those applicants applying for jobs in B&NES. The PC usage in libraries at present is full at most times. 


We are at the early stage of the changes that we need to make, this is  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Minutes from the previous meeting and matters arising

Forum members will be asked to confirm the accuracy of the minutes and put forward any matters arising.


Bob Goodman asked for any comments on the minutes of the last meeting – no responses were made.


Matters arising from the last meeting –


·  Councillor Dine Romero asked what real difference the comments on the budget made.

Bob Goodman’s Response – Areas such as Hotel Room Tax have been taken forward. The Direct for resources has agreed to attend the March meeting.

Ben Howlett Response – Councillor Time Warren has met with the minister for tourism to discuss a hotel tax.


·  Chris Roche asked what exactly are the Council doing to lobby government around the budget?

Ashley Ayres Response – The Leader of the Council had responded to this question at last night’s cabinet meeting. There is work that the West of England will be addressing in some areas where there are funding gaps.


·  Councillor Joe Rayment felt that a Conservative Council lobbying a Conservative MP does not work because the MP will not vote against his own parties’ budget plans.

Ben Hewlett’s Response – Local Councils carry out their negotiations directly. B&NES Council always make submissions to their MP. The Local Government Association (LGA) do work together on these issues.  


·  Sally Harris asked for a motion to be put to Ben Howlett asking:

‘’Bath City Forum requests that our MP Ben Howlett votes against the budget thatwill have a detrimental effect on B&NES Council’’


Councillor Dine Romero seconded the motion.


Ben Howlett explained that he would not be voting against a Conservative Budget.


Jeremy Boss raised a concern that this discussion was turning into political gesturing that is not helpful.


Councillor Martin Veal commented - At times we have our own moral code we must stick to - we have to look at ourselves in the mirror. If we could shackle someone to a particular doctrine then it would be total chaos."


Ben Howlett responded to the discussion - fear that you are undermining your own cause. You could end up having the lead council governing party packing the Forum with people that will only agree with thier view. I think you are undermining the cause which a lot of people have fought for for a long period of time - that is to make the voices of Bath people heard. "I'm worried about the future of this organisation."


Councillor Lin Patterson called the whole meeting a "sham" after Councillor Bob Goodman closed the discussion about how Ben Howlett votes on the government budget and does not agree to take the motion from Sally Harris forward.



15 mins


Responses to the working group reports

Following the recent group workshops any group with any additional information they wish to provide a brief update on will be presented. The next meeting in March more time will be provided for fuller feedback from each group.


Rosie Phillips explained that the group on housing had produced notes from the workshop session and will be meeting with Ben Howlett to discuss the issues further.


Jeremy Boss explained that notes had been produced from a well-attended Economic Development group. Working with Visit Bath / Destination Bath is one direction to move things forward. A fuller feedback discussion will be welcomed at the next forum meeting.


Robin Kerr explained that he had produced notes from the session that a small group had taken part in. A good conversation took place on air pollution and waste issues, more work will be needed in negotiating around the changes on waste collections.  


30 mins


B&NES Council Budget - Discussion on the impact on Bath pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Following the presentation given at the last meeting of the Forum, Bath City Forum will discuss the impact of the budget on the City of Bath.


The Directorate Plans, including the full list of savings proposals, can be found: 


Resources Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel takes place on Monday, 30th January, 2017 4.30 pm -The documents for this meeting can be found online:



Councillor Joe Rayment explained that it is unlikely that any consensus would be reached at this meeting on the budget. It was felt that without the cabinet member or director present the discussion would be wrongly timed.


Councillor Andrew Furse felt that that the impacts of the budget on communities had not been presented, instead there were just statements and big item headlines. The forum needs a presentation that shows what the budget means to service users.


Councillor Bob Goodman explained that the feedback from the forums had been fed into cabinet and that Andrew Pate has agreed to attend our next meeting in March.


Councillor Dine Romero wants to know what impact the cuts will have. The equalities team said the detail on the impact wasn't there because unintended consequences could occur. 


Rosie Phillips explained that the third sector group had fed back on the proposals and these were recorded in the minutes of their meeting.


Councillor Joe Rayment put forward a motion to the forum - ‘The timing of next year’s budget presentation to the forum meetings from the Resource’s Director and Cabinet Member for Resources need to be timed so that the Directorate Plans have been published for comment’.


Jeremy Boss seconded the motion


There were 15 votes in favour and nobody voted against the motion.






Any Other Business



Chris Roche – it is now unclear about what the Forum is for and what is and is not in order for the Forum to discuss. Can we have clarity on what the Forum can and can't have views on?


Chair of the Bath City Forum Bob Goodman explains they didn't have the time to debate the proposal about the Ben Howlett vote against the parliamentary budget.

·  The Council budget will come back to the next meeting for a fuller discussion.

·  This Forum is developing and will have a say in how CIL money is spent across the City

·  Bath’s MP attending provides an opportunity for the Forum to lobby on City issues.

·  The opinions from Bath City Forum are fed into the B&NES governing powers.


Robin Kerr added that there are substantial issues that the Forum can make a difference on as long as we are being listened too.


Virginia Williamson offered to promote the Forum more widely through the Bath Seeds Project and would be happy to come and discuss any ideas. The forum is not well attended by the public and not enough is done to publicise its existence.