FoBRA is the main representative voice for residents' groups in Bath.
We meet regularly with Council leaders, elected members, officers, the Police and the business community to make them aware of the views of Bath residents and to try and ensure that they take our concerns into account.
Observers are welcome to attend FoBRA committee meetings. Click here to view the arrangements for observers.
FoBRA has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Chairman of the Local Government Association, our MP, Ben Howlett, and the Leader of B&NES Council, Cllr Tim Warren, about the liability of the owners of HMOs for taxation, following a resolution agreed at the AGM of the National Organization of Residents' Associations recently. See 'Papers' tab for the text.
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Bath
Chris Beezley, FoBRA's lead for Universities, wrote to the Chronicle about HMOs and the fact that, if they housed students, no Council Tax was being paid by these houses, nor were BusinessRates being charged - a great loss to the Local Authority, exacerbated by the large proportion in Bath. This was published on 23rd Feb and the text can be found at the "Papers" tab.
FoBRA's comments on the Council's Main Modifications to the Placemaking Plan, following the Inspector's Report, can be found at the "Papers" tab.
FoBRA has responded to the Council's Parking Strategy consultation. See 'Papers' tab for text.
The Chairman wrote to Cllr Tim Warren on 15th Dec 16 about the need for a fully resourced Transport Plan, about air pollution in Bath, and about encouraging the Government to create a link for traffic between the A36 and the A46 as one way of addressing this. See the 'Papers' tab for text.
On 22nd Dec the Bath Chronicle published a letter from FoBRA's Transport Lead, Patrick Rotheram, about the need for Freight Consolidation as one element of a workable Transport Plan for Bath. See the 'Papers' tab for text.
FoBRA responded on 9th Dec to the consultation on the West of England Joint Transport Study and on 22nd Dec to the one on Spatial issues. See the 'Papers' tab for texts of both.
FoBRA objected on 29th Nov to Curo's outline planning application for Foxhill Estate, principally on grounds of density, extent of demolition and the reduction in affordable housing. On 22nd Dec the Bath Chronicle published a letter about this from the Chairman, encouraging Curo to return to the drawing board. See 'Papers' for texts of both.
FoBRA wrote to our MP on 24th November about recent news on a link between the A36 and the A46. See the 'Papers' tab for the text.
FoBRA adopted a revised Constitution at an Extraordinary General Meeting held on 15th Nov 16 - see 'Papers' for the text.
FoBRA wrote to our MP on 7th November about the recent High Court ruling that the Government was not doing enough about air pollution in cities. Specifically, we asked that small cities which suffer badly from pollution, like Bath, should be included in this work, not just big ones. See the 'Papers' tab for full text and graphs.
A letter from FoBRA entitled "City Needs a Student Housing Policy" was published by the Bath Chronicle on 25th Aug and again on 8th Sept 2016: www.bathresidents.org.uk/cms/uploads/student-housing-letter-to-chron-19-aug-16.pdf .
Members can read more about this and sign a petition by visiting this site:
Extension of the Bath Christmas Market
At the Development Management Committee (DMC) meeting in the Guildhall on 1 June 2016, FoBRA (having cleared this with its membership) took the opportunity to object to the planning application by Bath Tourism Plus to extend the Bath Christmas Market 2016 from 18 to 25 days.
We did not question the principle of the market and recognised that the extension would bring some marginal economic benefits to the City, but we expressed our concern at the socio-economic cost to so many residents and small businesses, not just in the market footprint area: but to our health, well-being, equilibrium and peace of mind leading up to Christmas. FoBRA did not wish residents to have to endure the additional noise, pollution, pedestrian congestion, extra traffic, additional parking problems and general disruption generated by the market for not just 25 days but actually for up to 39 days, including 10 setting up and four take down days.
FoBRA was joined in objection by the Walcot Trading Association representing about 300 small traders from Broad Street, Margaret's Buildings, Widcombe High Street, Bartlett St, London Rd and Walcot Street itself, and by a City Centre Councillor, who also spoke against the proposed extension. The DMC's refusal of this planning application (8:1 with 1 abstention) was a small victory for common sense and the ability to look beyond short term economic viability in favour of a long term vision to create a successful city for everyone. Teaming up with the Walcot Trading Association was key to FoBRA's success - bringing together Bath residents and small businesses whose lives would be disrupted by the extension showed how working together brings results.
The Rec and the Rec Trust
News on the Rec situation has been sparse recently, but the following has come from PERA, and is of Bath-wide importance - hence its publication here. In PERA's current newsletter the following is written about the Rec and the Rec Trust:
Following the Trustees' successful appeal that the Rec does not have to be kept as open space, and can be sold, PERA representatives (excluding N Websper) have met with the Trustees to agree certain measures. At present the Trustees will not agree to anything that restricts their ability to hold any number of events, use the whole of the Rec for a stadium, with no limit on height or size, and no minimum amount of open space for amateur sport. They will also not agree to anything that restricts their ability to sell the Rec in whole or in part."
By way of clarification:
• Nigel Websper (PERA Chairman) did not take part in the above meeting with the Rec Trustees simply because he is still involved in the Lower (Charity) Tribunal legal negotiations about the precise clauses and wording by which the Rec Trust will be bound in the future (the higher (appeal) court having returned the case to the lower tribunal for decision by negotiation).
• The statement "....use the whole of the Rec for a stadium, with no limit on height or size....." would, of course, be subject to planning permission, which is exclusively the territory of the Local Planning Authority and the Planning Inspectorate, not the Trust.
It is significant that little, if any, of this has appeared recently in the Press.
See "Papers" for the text of a letter by our Transport Lead, Patrick Rotheram, published in the Chronicle 7th April, giving the true situation on air pollution in Bath, and its consequences. The editor declined to include the "Corridor of Death" map as well, but it can be found under "Papers" too.