Working across the region for the benefit of both our local communities and those in the West region has been very much on the agenda this week.
Alongside playing a significant part in the work which is being undertaken by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), Bath & North East Somerset Council is working to deliver housing in the region with other authorities through its already-established housing and development company Aequus Developments Ltd (ADL).
A proposal is being made by ADL to set up new joint ventures between councils in the West of England in a bid to boost housing delivery across the region.
This would help fast-track, develop and deliver much-needed housing and we are currently talking to a number of neighbouring councils, Mendip District Council, North Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council, to establish joint ventures with Bath & North East Somerset.
At cabinet this week we considered another region-wide proposal for highways and transport. It involves joining forces with immediate neighbours Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Wiltshire as well as with areas further afield – from Poole and Bournemouth to the south and Gloucestershire to the north.
Together, these areas will form the snappily-titled new Western Gateway Shadow Sub-national Transport Body to speak with one voice to government and bring in investment to benefit the wider region’s transport infrastructure.
On a local level I was pleased to see cabinet back a proposal brought forward by Councillor Bob Goodman to introduce litter enforcers in and around Bath as part of our ongoing commitment to address the nuisance of litter spoiling our parks, streets and public places.
Another issue which has a big impact in Bath is short-term lettings and I am pleased to see that people have been encouraged to speak out on the issue at the September meeting of Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Planning Housing and Economic Development’ Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel when it meets on September 11 at 2pm in the Guildhall. It is an important discussion because currently we do not have the powers as a council to address issues around short-term lets and will look to lobby the government to take action.
Finally being the eternal optimist I’m hoping for a better result from Bath when they take on Gloucester after last week’s defeat at Bristol. Reflecting on that win for the Bears praise has to go to Keynsham’s own Andy Uren who really lifted the game event if at the expense of points for Bath. Let’s hope they can claw some points back at the Rec tomorrow afternoon