B&NES Council Leader Kevin Guy talks park improvements, Christmas Markets and the Council budget in his latest column for The Journal.

"I’d like to start with some really good news about what is happening to improve parks and open spaces.

A raft of improvements to Tom Huyton Park and Somervale Gardens in Radstock are under way as part of a regeneration action plan for the town centre.

We have worked with the Town Council on the installation of a Changing Places toilet there are also improvements to the entrance and pathways, drainage, resurfacing and fencing. The Changing Places toilet has been funded by £54,500 from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities Changing Places Fund alongside funding from the Town Council and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Radstock Town Council is currently also upgrading the play equipment in Tom Huyton Park, including a chair swing already installed and a new multi-play unit and zip wire. Surfacing will also be repaired throughout the park.

In keeping with the town’s heritage, a bespoke train station with carriages and ticket office will display the original Radstock West station name. The platforms and timetable were formerly used by trains running through Radstock.

The park is also host to cycling activities through Bath & North East Somerset Council’s active travel social prescribing project The Active Way.

I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to these great improvements.

Christmas lights are also beginning to sparkle around our area. As well as the lights in Bath, we work in partnership with the three Town Councils on lights in Keynsham, Midsomer Norton and Radstock. Again, my thanks to everyone involved in making the Christmas period so magical in our area.

With the Bath Christmas Market well underway (until 10th December) there is of course additional pressure on our roads and we are encouraging people to use public transport, in particular our excellent park and ride services.

At this time of the year we also are well underway with preparing the Council’s budget for next year. Like all Councils we are facing challenges due to pressures on our adult and children’s services and the wider inflation we are all experiencing. This means difficult decisions will have to be made because we have very little room to manoeuvre but we are working hard to deliver a budget that protects the most vulnerable and delivers our priorities.

Finally, the West of England Combined Authority is consulting until December 24th on plans for Bath city centre, aiming for improved air quality, healthier travel choices and ensuring safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists. We think it’s important for everyone to have their say on this- and that includes people who work in and visit the city, as well as people who live there. It’s really important that you have your say so please do respond to their consultation if you can."