This year has been one of huge uncertainty and challenge. Rising inflation and in particular the huge hike in energy bills has impacted on all of us and has seen real pressure on the Council’s finances and our ability to deliver the services we all want to see.
Despite all of this, the Council has focused on improving people’s lives. We have brought partners together in a comprehensive response to the cost of living crisis. Our message has been a simple one “Help is out there”. Our Community Wellbeing Hub on: 0300 247 0050 provides help from a wide range of local partners and we have a copmprehensive range of information available at: www.bathnes.gov.uk/costofliving.
I would like to thank partners for their involvement and pay particular tribute to all those local and community groups - and Town and Parish Councils - who are providing support to the most vulnerable in our community during this difficult time. A special thank you to those who have registered for the Council’s warm spaces directory, details of which can be found at: www.bathnes.gov.uk/warmspaces.
Despite these challenges, we’ve continued to deliver our priorities, working with local people and listening to their views. Following the introduction of the first charging Clean Air Zone outside of London, I am proud of the work we have been doing to bring cleaner air and support active travel through our Liveable Neighbourhoods programme, with three pilot schemes now underway.
We recognise though it has been a difficult year for bus users, with First making a number of reductions that impacted our communities, including in rural areas. So I was delighted to be there at the start of the first journey of the Big Lemon 11 service from Bathampton to Bath Bus Station on 28th November. I would like to thank everyone involved in bringing Big Lemon services to our area.
We have also made it our priority to help create cleaner and greener environments. We’ve boosted our graffiti removal service and increased routine street cleansing. Our Clean and Green teams have visited every ward in our area. Our teams have dealt with overhanging vegetation and have also been busy cleaning road signs particularly those in Peasedown St John, Clutton, Farmborough and Keynsham.
Meanwhile, the Chew Magna No Place For Litter hub has been busy lending out weed removal equipment to volunteers who have been clearing weeds around the parish flower beds and outside the Chew Magna fire station.
Finally, as it gets colder, people rightly ask about help for people who sleep rough or are at risk of becoming homeless. I want to reassure everyone that if you are at risk of homelessness or already sleeping rough there is a room available if needed. I would like to thank all the partners involved in providing year-round support for those who need it, including Julian House, DHI, and the Genesis Trust.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.