My week began with a reminder about the good work that our officers and staff at the Council do. We had a briefing where many of our staff came together to discuss the year ahead, some of the issues we face and how we plan to work together on delivering services with the needs and activities of our communities in mind.
On Monday night I visited the University of Bath, where I watched the Team Bath netball team in action against Loughborough. It was a great game, which was screened live on Sky TV, and Bath were only beaten in the final minutes.
Over the last couple of weeks I also met with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid MP, who was visiting the region to announce money from the Local Growth Fund for a Bristol and Bath Science Park.
Whilst in Bath, it was a good opportunity for the Secretary of State to see the progress being made on Bath Quays, which has benefited from West of England Local Growth Fund investment. He was shown the site of the future Bath Quays Bridge, which has been awarded £425,000 of Local Growth Fund money. The bridge will provide a new crossing point over the River Avon for pedestrians and cyclists and will connect the proposed development sites of Bath Quays North and South. The bridge was this week granted planning permission and it is hoped that work on will begin in spring 2017 and be completed by 2019.
The Secretary of State was also told about our plans for the ‘Pioneer building’ which will provide office space to enable small businesses to form, remain and grow within the city to create jobs for local people. This project has secured £10 million from the Local Growth Fund.
Last week saw the first meeting of the West of England Combined Authority, which will manage new powers for transport, housing, adult education and skills. We agreed the constitution for the new authority. The authority will be chaired by the West of England Mayor, who will be elected by voters in May. You can find out more about the West of England Combined Authority at www.westofengland-ca.org.uk
There was a disappointing game for Bath Rugby against Wasps with the match finishing 3, 24 to the visitors. In Bath’s defence they had 21 players missing due to injuries, England duty and suspension. I am looking forward to seeing some of the Bath players during England’s game against Scotland in the Six Nations at the weekend.
Staying with a sporting theme ahead of the weekend, good luck to all those running in the Vitality Bath Half Marathon. This event is hugely popular and brings people into the city from far and wide. There may be some disruptions to the road network but the event is always well received by residents, businesses and visitors.