Bath’s appalling traffic and poisonous congestion has been my focus for February.
The Council is in danger of being prosecuted by the government for our polluted air. We must act. That is why I kicked off a debate on the subject at the The Bath Briefing. We are still waiting for solutions to moving large numbers of people around the city, in a safe and non-polluting way.
We also have 6m visitors a year. The number of long term visitors is falling, whilst the number of day trippers is rising. Longer term guests obviously spend considerably more in the city, and are clearly not just passing through in a coach. We need to address this growing imbalance.
The solutions to our transport and pollution woes will involve both the carrot and the stick. The important thing is that we work together to create the greatest possible consensus. If we all share a vision for a clean, healthy city, then we will all accept what needs to be done. I hope to be discussing some of the solutions at a city-wide conference in June.
We also heard that Foxhill will not be demolished. This is a huge victory for the home owners, although we need to make sure that the most vulnerable don’t lose out. For Bath it means that there will not be any loss of social housing. This is hugely important because Social Housing is one of the key pillars of our Welfare system, and I now look forward to Curo re-investing in our existing stock.
One of the organisations I visited in February is Designability - a national charity transforming the lives of disabled people and those living with a long-term health condition. Their Wizzybug product is world leading and their loan scheme now supports over 320 children across the UK. Working with the RUH they provide a Memory Technology Gallery, for patients, visitors and staff. These services, and their research, would not be sustainable without donated funds, and they deserve wider recognition for their work.
In Parliament, I spoke in the Westminster Hall Debate on Family Reunion of Refugees - a number of constituents wrote to me urging me to use my voice in central government to support the reunification of refugee families in the UK. I was happy to do so.