Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Mark Hayward 01225 396975  Email:

Note No. Item

5 mins


Welcome and Apologies


Councillor Colin Blackburn welcomed all attendees and apologies were recorded.

5 mins


Minutes from the meeting of 27 November 2017 pdf icon PDF 309 KB


Robin Kerr disputed the minutes of the last meeting.


The minutes stated: “Robin Kerr felt that the note included from the Fire Service regarding the number of inspections carried out on party house was not sufficient.” 

What was also said was: “The October report needs to be substantially improved with respect to ‘Party Houses’, providing detail of the number of inspections which have taken place and what remedial action has been considered necessary in order to bring the danger in these potential death-traps within the kind of risk considered acceptable in hotels and guest houses.” 


An update was agreed.


All other aspects were agreed as an accurate record of the meeting and were agreed by Jeremy Boss and seconded by Councillor Joe Rayment.


15 mins


Fire Service Update

Avon Fire and Rescue will be in attendance to provide a response on their approach to unlicensed holiday lets in Bath.   


Bath Fire Station Update


Station Manager, Gareth Lloyd explained that the firefighters are running their winter safety campaign.

·  Home visits to the elderly and vulnerable are being carried out.

·  Three nights have been spent on the towpaths with community resilience volunteers to educate young people that it’s not the best placed to walk if you’ve been drinking. Work continues with both of the universities in Bath.

·  Work has been taking place with food banks to meet vulnerable people living in the community so that visits can be arranged to check their fire safety, and advice can be given on property issues. It is hoped that this work will extend to soup kitchens.

·  Requests have been made to boat owners to attend safety meetings at the George Public House in Bathampton. This work will include outreach workers for Julian House and advice on fire detection devices.


Question 1 – Cllr Dine Romero – Does the work with the university students extend to Bath College and school sixth forms?

Response – There are not presently the links that the Fire Service would like to see in place. Work on river safety is aimed at 17-21 year olds and attendance at fresher’s events does take place.  Social media is being used as one method of getting the messages out.


Question 2 – Cllr Andy Furse – How are interventions taking place with vulnerable people affected by rouge landlords?

Response – Work is ongoing with the Student Community Partnership and the River Safety Group. An online blog is regularly updated.

Andy added that Bath College would welcome visits from Avon Fire & Rescue.


Question 3 – Cllr Shaun Stephenson-McGall – What is the position of the Fire service in relation to the squeeze from funding cuts?

Response – The budget proposals go to The Fire Authority in February. The service commitment from the front end responders remains 24 hour / 7 day a week operation.


Question 4 - Cllr Shaun Stephenson-McGall asked how the fire service deals with the issue of washing machine / tumble dryers which are potential “death traps”.

Response – The Fire Service keeps an eye on product recalls and issues alerts for the public.


Question 5 – Robin Kerr – Could a response be given on fire safety around party houses. The Council are holding a scrutiny day in February on this topic. Brighton and Hove Council are ahead of us in dealing with these issues, East Sussex Fire Service has reported that they have powers to shut down premises.


Stephen Quinton, Group Manager – Risk Reduction responded:


·  The fire service does have a responsibility to carry out fire inspections at party houses, including Air BnB lets - “Party houses are regulated”. It was stated that there no inspection issues that are “too difficult”. 

·  Sleeping accommodation is a priority for fire inspections.

·  Named unlicensed party houses have been added to its list for checks. There were no specific complaints about any of those properties and there is no evidence to suggest  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

5 mins


Police Update - Handout pdf icon PDF 69 KB

The Police are unable to provide a representative to attend this meeting. A report has been prepared that provides the latest crime levels in Bath. 


The Police were unable to attend this meeting, a handout was provided covering the latest crime statistics.

20 mins


Modern Community Libraries pdf icon PDF 266 KB

The forum will receive an update on the future provision for branch libraries around Bath.


The forum is asked for ideas (see attachment) that will be fed back at the next meeting in March 2018.

Additional documents:


Ian Savigar introducing an update on modern libraries and explained that the council is currently in the “engagement and design” phase of the plans for Bath Central Library.


Tracey Long presented on Branch libraries

·  There are a maximum of 16 per cent of active library users, who have registered, in any area in B&NES. However, the council realises more people than that actually use libraries.

·  There is a high usage of Bath Central Library but little usage of the mobile library.

·  A large proportion of residents in Weston and Newbridge use their local library.

·  Some 265,000 people took out books from Bath Central Library in the 2016 financial with 192,000 using the online select and collect option.

·  The mobile library bus is visited more at some stops than others, it is hoped that we will be able to transfer some of the libraries over to the community and we want to see enhanced services.

·  The five branch libraries could be managed by a community body, there has been some interest and the council has a “package of support” to help people take over running the libraries.


There are three models for running a community library:



Independent Stock Community Run Library would see:

·  Running and staffing costs all funded by local group

·  Book/issues and membership rules (including fees and charges) determined at local level

·  IT equipment/support and maintenance, Wi-Fi, printing and any other systems funded by local group

·  Income from local sales and services retained by local group

·  B&NES decommissioned book stock plus any local sourced stock

·  Professional support from B&NES available through networking and training events

·  Eligible for one off Community Library Start Up Grant




B&NES stock only Community Run Library would see:

·  Running and staffing costs all funded by local group

·  Book/issues and membership rules (including fees and charges) determined at local level for rotated stock

·  IT equipment/support and maintenance, Wi-Fi, printing and any other systems funded by local group

·  Income from local sales and services retained by local group

·  B&NES identified rotated book stock plus any local sourced stock

·  Professional support from B&NES available through networking and training events

·  Eligible for one off Community Library Start Up Grant



B&NES and Consortium Stock Community Run Library would see:

Running and staffing costs all funded by local group

Catalogue book stock and professional support provided by B&NES

Part of Libraries West Consortium stock and reservations network

IT equipment/support and maintenance, Wi-Fi, printing and any other systems funded by local group

All loan related fees, fines and charges income retained by B&NES

Income from local sales and services retained by local group

Click and collect point for core Library stock on Libraries West Consortium system but any related fees, fines and charges income retained by B&NES for consortium system orders

Eligible for one off Community Library Start Up Grant



Library support and funding

·  The council will help community groups devise a business case that is  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

30 mins


New Electoral Arrangements - Local Government Boundary Commission Draft Proposals pdf icon PDF 445 KB

The forum will debate and provide collective observations on the impact on community and accountability of the Local Government Boundary Review for B&NES. 


This item will be opened by a short presentation provided by Jeremy Boss.


A public request to make a statement on this topic has been received from Bryn Jones.

Additional documents:


Jeremy Boss gave a Local Government Boundary Commission Draft Proposals short presentation about Local Government Boundary Commission Draft Proposals which would see changes to ward boundaries in Bath.  Jeremy felt that the draft proposals do not meet the stated objectives and principles. Whoever has put together these proposals has done a good job in terms of cutting the number of councillors to the wanted 59 (from 66), but a “lousy job” in terms of reflecting local communities and there has to be a better understanding of local knowledge.


The University of Bath is distorting the position for the South of Bath. The proposed ward for Claverton Down has no real basis.


Jeremy recommended that the Bath City Forum ask the Commission to revisit its proposals for Bath by:

·  Staying within the City boundary

·  Placing a greater emphasis on community identity and cohesion (noting submissions from local groups and residents)

·  Reconsidering the position for the University / Claverton Down

·  Seeking for wards to be predominantly with 2 Cllrs


Bryn Jones from Lambridge ward said the proposals meant there would be seven single-member wards in the north of Bath. (Full details of these representations are included in the minute papers)

“You’d have to put all your money on one horse.”

He said Fairfield Park would disappear into Walcot.

“This is an example of a lack of respect for community integrity in the Lambridge area.”


Cllr Rob Appleyard said: “We need to build from the bottom upwards. It is about communities.”


Jeremy Boss thought the forum should go back to the Boundary Commission and ask them to take better account of communities.


Cllr Rayment said he thought the main point should be about the overall boundary of the city as the split between parished and unparished areas would cause problems.


Cllr Anthony Clarke felt that it was virtually impossible now for politicians to have an effect on the outcome as they had already had there opportunity.

Cllr Dine Romero disagreed on this point as local parties can still contribute.


Virginia Williamson explained that Bear Flat would be split through the heart of the community by the new ward boundaries proposed. Virginia had looked at the notes on the website on how communities should respond and where resident associations are set up representation is easier. The areas without a group will need some level of help from their Ward Councillors in making their representation.



Cllr Shaun Stephenson-McGall had no issue if the whole of the authority had single-member wards because it’s very easy for members that contribute very little to hide behind a good member covering the same ward.

Cllr Shaun Stephenson-McGall was not bothered by changes to the City boundary.

The university issue is link to national registration on 1 December, a date which means university students are not captured.

The changing ward boundaries do not, ultimately, matter. It just meant wards would have to work on cross-boundary matters, as they do now.


Cllr Joe Rayment said the forum represents the unparished area  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

10 mins


Working Group Recommendations for CIL and CEF pdf icon PDF 49 KB

The Bath City Forum Working Group will report on the applications that they reviewed on 8 January 2018 and will confirm the recommendations they wish to make for Community Empowerment Funding and Bath Neighbourhood CIL Funding.




Cllr Appleyard went through a list of funding recommendations from the Bath City Forum Working Group.


Community Empowerment Funding


  • £6,000 for a shelter at Brickfields Park in Westmoreland
  • £5,200 for training and start-up costs for a group of Bath Clean Air Champions to tackle vehicle anti-idling
  • £15,000 for Bath Comedy Festival 2018


An application for the Bath City Brand was not recommended.


Bath Neighbourhood CIL Funding


  • £7,500 for Bath Festival of Nature 2018
  • £3,500 towards Bathscape Walking Festival 2018
  • £25,000 towards the protection and restoration of Free Fields near Foxhill.


An application for speed signage in Bathwick/Claverton has been deferred as further information needs to be considered before a final decision can be given.

Councillor Joe Rayment felt that this scheme is important as the road is dangerous; he added that that this should scheme should not be dismissed if the University of Bath are not willing to be involved.

Councillor Colin Blackburn explained this application has now been differed and will come back once the working group have looked at this with the additional information provided.


Virginia Williamson had concerns that there may be differences in the wording on the website and in the criteria guidance document for the Community Empowerment Fund. Virginia also felt that the application form needs clearer guidance around the need for a forum signatory and a clearer way to show the breakdown of costs included in the application.

Council Officers will review the website; criteria document and application form. Amendments will be made if required.




30 mins


Forum Development and Forward Plans pdf icon PDF 84 KB

The forum are asked to provide ideas on how best these meetings can serve the residents of Bath with meaningful and relevant discussions around how we can make the city a better place to live.


The forum is looking for ways to improve the communications to residents so they have better awareness of the issues that are being discussed and that they understand that we want them to be involved in the meetings.


The Terms of Reference may need to be revisited so that they are relevant and show clearly how the forum will operate and how it will make things happen.


The forum will be asked how they wish to move forward and if they wish to hold a broader conversation on this topic.


A public request to address the forum on Community Engagement has been received from Luke John Emmett. The Chair will invite Luke to speak after introducing this agenda item.




Luke John Emmett, requested to speak to the forum about community engagement (the full speech is included in the minutes papers).

Luke said 90 per cent of the B&NES residents are white and British and that most of the forum members are “white, male and middle class”.

He asked whether the remaining 10 per cent of B&NES residents were properly represented, and called for a series of mock council meetings so people who might find them intimidating could get used to them.


Cllr Dine Romero asked how the Forum meeting tonight felt compared to other Council meetings.

Luke felt that politics had been kept out of the meeting tonight which was a good thing. The room setting is very formal and could be intimidating for those people who are not used to such a set up. Luke suggested that if the venue were to be made available for open days which would allow barriers to be broken down.

Cllr Dine Romero wondered whether there might be a cost barrier to mock council meetings.


Rosie Phillips suggested that forum members had links in the community and there were other ways of reaching out to the community to show them how they can get involved more.


Cllr Colin Blackburn explained

·  The forum wants community member to come along and take part.

·  The point of the forum was to make Bath a better place to live and work. 

·  Personally he felt he needs to do more to tell his constituents about the work of the forum.

·  Funding recommendations that we deliver aim to improve the City.

·  We need to get better at the way we communicate.


Cllr Shaun Stephenson-McGall said it was more difficult to get community engagement in a big community like Bath without having parish councils.

Shaun felt that the forum should not beat ourselves up too much over the problems we’re facing, it will be difficult to solve the community engagement issues with a small budget.”

Shaun added that Bath has in the past tried other formats, different venues and other membership models which have all had issues of their own. There are other places such as Bristol and South Gloucestershire, who also struggle with similar issues of engagement, 


Cllr Joe Rayment said there was a lot of talk about people resigning from the forum because it was too political. Joe felt that if that’s the case, then issues shouldn’t be sent to the forums that are contentious because people are political beings and bring their political beliefs to the table. If the forum supports parishing in Bath then we need to have a proper discussion.

Joe added that the diversity is an issue, very few councillors are under forty, very few are full time workers and not many have to rent their home.


Jeremy Boss felt that the acid test is what we do. The forum discussions tend to be dominated by councillors because they were better informed, but councillors need to keep in mind that discussions  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.