Agenda item


Cllr Dine Romero and other Cabinet Members will give an update.


(a)  Cllr Dine Romero – Council Leader


Cllr Romero stated that the Council values its relationship with the parishes and that this meeting is one of the ways in which it engages with them.  She thanked all those people who have contributed to the “Consultation Charter” which will set out the Council’s commitment to engagement.


The Clean Air Zone consultation has now closed and the business case will be sent to central government on 13 December 2019.  The Climate Emergency is a high priority on the Council’s agenda.  The Council is looking to organise a series of events to identify how people can make changes to improve the situation.


The Cabinet will be considering a report regarding a council house building programme at its next meeting.  The report is now available on the Council website and can be found here:


(b)  Cllr Richard Samuel – Cabinet Member for Resources and Deputy Leader


Cllr Samuel reported on the following issues relating to his portfolio:


·  Next year’s budget is currently being prepared.  Since the last Parish Liaison Meeting in July the medium term financial strategy has been approved and this gives a good picture of the current situation.

·  Decisions now need to be made regarding the budget, council tax levels and fees and charges.  There are still a number of financial pressures.

·  One of the main financial pressures is children’s services, in particular, funding for vulnerable children and those with special needs.

·  There has also been a drop in projected income from commercial property largely due to the pressures on the retail sector in Bath City Centre. This has been offset to some extent by the work of the Heritage Team and income from the Roman Baths and Pump Room.

·  There has been a drop in car parking income.

·  The cost of council loans from the Public Works Loan Board has now doubled due to the interest rate being increased to 2.8%.  This may have an impact on capital schemes and the Council will lobby government on this issue.

·  The Government has delayed a decision on local government funding until the next financial year.

·  The Chancellor was due to make a budget statement but with the pending general election it is unclear whether the new government would be formed in time to do this.  Councils need to know the funding position before Christmas.

·  The national pay negotiations are currently underway.


(c)  Cllr Rob Appleyard – Cabinet Member for Adult Services


Cllr Appleyard reported that the proportion of the Council budget required to provide adult care was previously 67% but has now increased to 82%.  There is also an increased demand for adult care services.


A consultation regarding the charging framework for care and support is currently being carried out.  The consultation is open until the 3 December 2019 and events will take place in the local area.  A “question and answer” document will also be available on the Council website.  Cllr Appleyard thanked the Parishes for their help with publicising and arranging these events.


(d)  Cllr Paul Crossley – Cabinet Member for Community Services


Cllr Crossley reported on the following issues relating to his portfolio:


·  The new mobile library is now in use.  The mobile routes are currently being reviewed and details will be sent to Parish Councils for their comments by the end of the year.  There are new electronic services such as audio books, electronic format books and magazines.  There is also a new community library launched earlier this week in Peasedown-St-John.

·  Plans are in place to provide water refill points in the larger settlements.

·  Restaurants do not currently have to display their star ratings and the Council is lobbying to make it a requirement to display these to ensure that customers are aware of their food hygiene standards.

·  The Council has recently prosecuted two rogue traders and Parish Councils are asked to report any rogue traders they are aware of to the Council so that appropriate action can be taken.

·  Cllr Crossley has met with the Offset Earth Company in Keynsham.

·  Feedback has been received regarding the colour scheme in the Keynsham Leisure Centre which has caused challenges for some people with disabilities and these issues are being investigated.

·  The Council is working with the Lawn Tennis Association to upgrade tennis courts in the area.

·  Residents are encouraged to take up the offer of the “Discovery Card” and Cllr Crossley is looking at ways to make it easier to sign up for the card.





(e)  Cllr Neil Butters – Cabinet Member for Transport Services


Cllr Butters stated that it is important to involve Parish and Town Councils to ensure that the budget for transport services is allocated correctly.  Highway safety is the main priority.  Greater emphasis will also be placed on walking and cycling.  There is still a lack of funding available for road repairs.


Bus services have received a number of grant subsidies including the 179 bus service.  Unfortunately the cost of providing bus services continues to rise.


There will be largescale changes to rail service timetables on 15 December with 75% of timetables subject to change.  Electrification work is ongoing and the Council is keen for this job to be completed.


A new fleet of 9 lorries has been purchased for winter gritting.


The Cabinet Members then responded to questions as follows:


·  Cheryl Scott, Clerk to Keynsham Town Council asked a question regarding the budget settlement.  Cllr Samuel explained that the Government announced its spending decisions at national level in October.  This appears to be more favourable than in previous years but no confirmation has yet been received at local level.  Budget events will be held throughout November and December.


·  Cllr Michael Evans from Midsomer Norton Town Council asked why money had been allocated for councillor initiatives in the light of current budget pressures.  Cllr Samuel stated that the money that has recently been allocated to enable councillors to carry out local initiatives is to enable members to work together in their communities to get things done.  The funding was previously held in the community empowerment fund.  Each Councillor will be allocated £2k with a minimum award of £200 per initiative.


·  Cllr Tony Hooper from Temple Cloud with Cameley Parish Council asked a question about the Bristol City Clean Air Zone.  He stated that the restrictions would effectively cut off those residents living in the South of Bristol and also at the South West end of the M32.  Cllr Dine Romero agreed to take up this concern with the Mayor of Bristol.


·  Cllr Butters explained that the cost of providing bus services continues to increase each year.  The WECA bus strategy will soon be available and it is hoped that this will lead to a boost in bus services.