Firstly, I would like to congratulate Clare Moody following her election as Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Avon and Somerset. I also extend my thanks to the outgoing Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford for his service in the role over the previous three years. Tackling crime is a key issue for local people and I look forward to working collaboratively with the new PCC to help keep our communities safe.

Another key issue for our area is transport and we’re currently working on plans for a £15.2million scheme to improve walking, cycling, wheeling, public transport infrastructure and to reduce congestion along the A37 and A367.

If agreed, the project would make catching the bus or walking and cycling easier by offering improved bus facilities and delivering safe, easy-to-use walking and cycling facilities.

The project aims to reduce bus journey times and support more frequent, reliable bus services; create or improve walking and cycling routes which connect to communities along the corridor and support opportunities for regeneration and economic growth.

Transport, like tackling crime, is an issue we can address by working in partnership. So funding for the project, which is called Somer Valley Links, comes from a £1.414m West of England Combined Authority grant and £330k match funding from developer contributions. Somer Valley Links is a ‘strategic corridor’ project within the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) programme, funded by UK Government through the West of England Combined Authority.

We want to provide people with greater transport choice and reduce reliance on cars, but if routes don’t feel safe to walk or cycle, or if they don’t easily connect, then it puts people off. We also need to improve air quality - Farrington Gurney and Temple Cloud have been declared as Air Quality Management Areas - and reduce carbon emissions.

Finally, I would like to wish a slightly belated happy birthday to Midsomer Norton Library, which celebrated its 40th year at an event on April 27th. The library started out with around 24,000 books. Now borrowers have access to around two million items through the Libraries West Consortium with a wide range of digital books and magazines, free computer access, support and advice on offer.

This was the first event in a year-long celebration of 100 years of library services in Bath and North East Somerset, which includes events at the three main libraries in Keynsham, Bath and Midsomer Norton, special displays, competitions and limited edition library membership cards.

People are also invited to submit their favourite memories of the libraries which will be collated into a large public exhibition at the end of the year. Memories, stories and photographs can be emailed to [email protected]

You can visit the Bath and North East Somerset Libraries blog for further updates and details of regular library events throughout the year.