News from Horfield Councillor Olly Mead - January 2019

January 12 2019
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Happy New Year to you all. I hope you had a chance to have a bit of a rest over the Christmas period, and are ready to tackle the challenges and demands of the new year.

In Manor Farm, the next stage of consultation over the shape of the new Community Hub will soon be under way. It has taken a lot of work behind the scenes, from both myself and Claire, to keep the Hub on the agenda at City Hall. Just recently I met with a group of people from the north of England who are also trying to get a small community space built in their area, but have had no help whatsoever from their local councillors. No matter our party differences, Claire and I have been quite happy to work together on this, even during the very long period where it seemed to be stuck between cogs in the Council machine. The new Hub will be a great example of what can be achieved when people work cross-party for the good of the community, although I also have to thank Mayor Marvin and cabinet member Paul Smith for agreeing to keep it on the agenda, and enabling it to go ahead. I suspect they may have been influenced by the prospect of quieter, happier Labour Group meetings at the Council, but all that really matters is that the local community will now have a space where they can meet up and run activities, and that in turn will strengthen local ties between people.

In Upper Horfield, a new administrator has started at UHCT, which I am sure is a relief after a long period without one. Recruiting the right person often takes time, but he seems to be doing a great job already, and I really felt there was a very positive buzz about the place when I joined the local beat police for their regular surgery there. Do look up their website, and also see what  activities are being advertised in the Voice, as people especially seem to enjoy their painting classes and exercise group.

Parking continues to be a problem, and is worsening across the ward. Just down the A38 St Andrews and parts of Bishopston are exploring having an RPZ, as their problems are even worse. That, in turn, may well just push everything up to Horfield, so please feel free to get in touch with me by e-mail if you would like to explore possibly having an RPZ or similar scheme in Horfield to help reduce the likely impact if the other RPZ gets the go-ahead. I know that it is being supported by local councillors in the Bishopston/Redland/Ashley areas across party lines, and the meetings about it have been very well-attended.

At the same time, there have been problems with some of the bus services recently, especially the 71, and I have been onto council transport officers and the Mayor about it. Things seem to be improving, but, if you find that bus travel is worsening in Horfield, do please let me know. As a fellow bus user I can assure you that I will do everything I can to improve things.

Lastly, I am pleased to see that the whole council is supporting measures, such as no vehicle idling zones, to improve air quality across the city. with the new housing estate in South Gloucestershire, and the Severn Bridge tolls being removed, it is likely that we will have more  traffic, congestion, and air quality challenges than ever before in Horfield. I have been doing what I can to get decent air quality monitoring and reduce congestion since I was elected, However, as we no longer have a separate cabinet member dealing with transport and its air quality impact, I am sure that Mayor Marvin would love to hear from you if you would like him to take more action on it, as he has absorbed it into his own portfolio. A great way of raising his awareness is by making statements and asking questions at Full Council. I will be more than happy to help you to do this, as the voices of local people joining that of their local councillor can only be a good way of getting things done.