NEWSLETTER 35:17 on Relations with Bristol City Council

GBCP and BCC are undergoing significant changes at the moment.    Many of these are forced upon us by national policy rather than free choice, but both organisations are trying to do the best that they can.    GBCP, and other partnerships across the city, will be trying to reduce the adverse impacts of these changes and, if possible, turn them to the advantage of local communities.    This Special NEWSLETTER picks up some of the current issues.   One thing remains certain.    GBCP, individual partners and BCC have always worked closely and cooperatively together.   Of course, agreement has not been 100%, but we have always been supportive of each other, looking for shared agendas in a spirit of ‘critical friends’.   As we enter a difficult period, this culture of respect will continue and BCC and its various departments will remain one of GBCP’s key partners.

Let’s Talk About GBCP
GBCP is planning for its future now that Bristol City Council will no longer be directing its activities: we see this as an opportunity to review our work to date and our priorities going forward.

With useful council administrative support and funding came bureaucracy and some restrictions that we will be happy to live without – as we did before Neighbourhood Partnerships were invented.    We’ll definitely miss the devolved budgets that allowed us to invest in local projects and infrastructure.   Future fundraising will be just one of the challenges Greater Bedminster/BS3 will need to face in these difficult times, but, not every action we can take on behalf of the community needs money.   Come along to hear and discuss all this at our next Board meeting on 3 July at the Southville Centre, Beauley Road from 7pm.   The agenda is here GBCP Agenda 3 July 2017.

A message from Stef Brammar, Chair of GBCP.

COUNCIL BUDGET CUTS WHICH COULD AMOUNT TO OVER £4.7m:

You may well know by now that Mayor Marvin Rees has launched a citywide consultation on proposed major budget cuts:

Bristol City Council is launching five consultations which reveal detailed proposals for how the Council could deliver certain local services with a reduced budget.

Libraries, public toilets, school crossing patrols, Neighbourhood Partnerships and Bristol Community Links are all covered in the proposals. The ‘Your Neighbourhood’ consultations ask people to comment on as many of these proposals as possible.  It includes an interactive map to help people judge and comment on the combined effects of the different options they can choose from.

The proposals include reducing the number of city libraries to 10; closing street toilets and investing in a new community toilet scheme to expand availability; removing around half of the city’s school crossing patrols (unless community, school or volunteer led options emerge); changing the current Neighbourhood Partnership model to a local grant system with less frequent community meetings; and making detailed changes to the way a suite of services for adults with learning disabilities and dementia operate. Together the savings amount to just over £4.7m.

We are asked to read more and feed back by 5 September at: www.bristol.gov.uk/yourneighbo urhood

In an ideal world, if this wasn’t taking place at the same time as our own consultation and re-launch exercise, I would have suggested that GBCP should hold a public forum.  This would have delivered two results: we would be seen to be facilitating a local forum, and we would ourselves get a good idea of local opinion.

However, I’ve been persuaded that it would be sensible to stick to our agreed action plan: ie, work for a meaningful board meeting on 3 July, and towards a productive September public meeting to re-launch an updated community partnership.   Of course between those dates there will need to be some work too!

In the meantime, I propose that we do individually respond to the Mayor’s consultation, and that we encourage our members/friends/colleagues to do so:  with a request that people also feed their thoughts back to greaterbedminster@gmail.com.  I hope you’ll agree this would be a useful way to  get some idea of local opinion.

And finally, Ellie Freeman is putting a lot of effort into our social media presence: we’ve lagged behind so many others in BS3.   Do follow us on FB: @ greaterbedminstercommunitypartnership, and Twitter: @BemmyPartners –   and encourage others to do so: it’s such a great way to get our messages out there and to get feedback and suggestions! (particularly from people under 45?).

With best regards, Stef.

Tower Blocks in Bristol 
BCC officers have informed GBCP that BCC has been responding to queries and concerns from tenants and leaseholders of its tower and low rise blocks across the city.   On Tuesday, 20 June, Mayor Marvin Rees, Housing Department staff and Fire Officers visited many of the blocks to reassure tenants and leaseholders about the approach that BCC is taking.   Occupants of BCC controlled flats will receive a letter and a ‘frequently asked questions’ document (attached) that will hopefully address occupants’ concerns.   See this link for more information: http://news.bristol.gov.uk/ fire_safety_statement.

BCC is keen to stress that what happened at Grenfell was unprecedented and they need to await details of what went wrong.   The City Council have communicated that they do not use the system of cladding that was used in London and that both the materials and design used in Bristol are different.   Although BCC blocks have experienced fires in the past, none have spread like the fire at Grenfell.   Council officers continue to monitor the situation closely and, if they need to change their approach or policy, they will do so.

…and now for something completely different
New member for the community bowls club in Greville Smyth Park?   Do you know this prickly person?

 

 

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