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Cock_Road.jpgThe Labour councillors for the Woodstock ward in Kingswood have written to First Bus to protest against the firm’s decision to axe the 17A route that runs through their ward and to ask the operator to reconsider its decision. The axe is due to fall on 4 September.

Councillors Andy Perkins, Gareth Manson and Pat Rooney (pictured) have pointed out that the 17 and 17A routes are relatively new, and that local people need some consistency with the public transport being offered.

In their letter to First Bus the councillors say:

“This withdrawal will particularly affect residents in the Courtney Road, Westons Way and Cock Road areas and will deprive them of direct access to key destinations including Kingswood and Keynsham shopping areas and Southmead and Cossham hospitals.

Woodstock ward has suffered from an inconsistency of bus route operation in recent years. The Wessex route 532 which traversed the ward was withdrawn, followed by their 533 route. First Bus’s 17 & 17A routes are relatively new creations and were meant to plug some of the service gap that our constituents have faced. Now the withdrawal of the 17A is being implemented very soon after its inception and this will worsen access to public transport.

We urge you to reconsider this cut and to provide some consistency in running the routes that you devise, and on which residents rely.”

Kingswood councillors urge bus cut reconsideration

The Labour councillors for the Woodstock ward in Kingswood have written to First Bus to protest against the firm’s decision to axe the 17A route that runs through their ward...

The Leader of South Gloucestershire’s Labour councillors has welcomed the support she has received today in pushing for improvements to the way that West of England devolution will be rolled out.

South Gloucestershire Council, along with its neighbours in Bath and North East Somerset and Bristol City, voted last month to move forward with a government deal to create a Combined Authority with an elected mayor in order to obtain devolved powers and resources from central government. This scheme is now open to public consultation, but this has to be conducted to a government specification which the Labour councillors describe as too narrow.
 
At the council’s Policy & Resources Committee this morning, Councillor Pat Rooney successfully proposed an enhanced engagement programme and consultation to identify the public’s devolution priorities, working with business, voluntary and public sector partners. She also proposed developing robust and transparent scrutiny arrangements to strengthen the governance of the new authority.
 
Addressing the meeting, Councillor Rooney told councillors:
 
Pat_Rooney_standard_portrait.jpg“I think we all recognise that many people continue to have reservations about the direction we are taking. By pursuing the modest actions that I outline here we would be putting the public at the centre of our devolution deal – where I believe they belong.
 
I believe that the local councils should now do all we can to engage local people on shaping life with a combined authority. We need to guard against the Combined Authority becoming too insular, and I think we need to put public engagement at the heart of its operation.”
 
Councillor Rooney also raised her concern that the money promised in the 30-year deal on the table did not appear to be index linked, and urged council bosses to raise this with the new government ministers with a view to improving the deal. The council’s Conservative leader agreed to take this on board in his ongoing discussions with government.
 
Councillor Rooney comments:
 
“I want devolution to deliver benefits for the people of South Gloucestershire, so I am pleased that the Leader has agreed to take up my concerns about index linking the money in the deal. Many people remain sceptical about the deal, so it is right that the council will be doing more to identify the public’s priorities for devolution than the government’s rather narrow process demands.”

Labour pushes for devolution improvements

The Leader of South Gloucestershire’s Labour councillors has welcomed the support she has received today in pushing for improvements to the way that West of England devolution will be rolled...

A Labour councillor who has been pursuing local concerns about the length of public grass in South Gloucestershire has expressed his disappointment that the Conservative councillor responsible for the grass cutting service has "no further comment to make" on the problems he has raised.

mike_grass.jpgRodway Labour councillor Michael Bell recently asked the chair of the council's Environment Committee whether the current policy of cutting certain patches of public grass only twice a year was working well. This question has been prompted by residents in Mangotsfield complaining about the height of the grass, which many feel is dangerous at road junctions.

In a written response Councillor Bell was told that the council is delivering the service within its reduced budget, and that any additional service would require additional funding.

Feeling that this did not answer his question of whether the policy was working well, Councillor Bell pursued the point when the committee met this afternoon. He was told by the Conservative chair that the budget cuts forced on the council had been approved before the election, and "I have no further comment to make".

 

After the meeting, Councillor Michael Bell said:

"I am very disappointed that the ruling Conservatives refuse to concede that the council's grass cutting policy is not working well and just hark back to a budget decision made years ago. That decision is proving to be a failure, and the Tories seem to have closed minds to reviewing it. In the meantime our communities are being blighted by unsightly, and in some places dangerously, long grass.

I shall continue to campaign for a sensible grass cutting regime until the Conservative council takes the current concerns seriously."

'No further comment' on long grass

A Labour councillor who has been pursuing local concerns about the length of public grass in South Gloucestershire has expressed his disappointment that the Conservative councillor responsible for the grass...

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