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e-connect 21 March

Date published: 2024-03-21

Councillor Kevin Guy and Sally Higham.

e-connect 21 March 2024
Councillor Kevin Guy and Sally Higham.

A message from Cllr Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council

Anyone who has visited Bath city centre recently will see that it’s thriving, with a fantastic mix of locals and visitors enjoying the amazing variety on offer. This vibrancy is reflected in the fact that more than one million people visited the Roman Baths & Pump Room in 2023. It is the first time the milestone has been reached since before the pandemic and reflects a strong return of tourism to the city. The Roman Baths are now open for summer hours from 9am-6pm every day, with extended evening opening over Easter weekend and the summer holidays – offering even more chances to experience the world-famous historic site and museum.

In recent weeks and months our city centre - as with many towns and cities across the country - have also seen people expressing their views on the terrible situation in Gaza and we had a number of speakers at our Full Council meeting on 14 March on this. At the meeting, the Council Chair read out a statement agreed by all group leaders on this important issue, and I think it is right that I set it out in full, as below:

“We would like to express deep sympathy for all those affected by the conflict in Palestine and Israel. To those in the Bath and North East Somerset area who have been affected by this conflict, we offer our support during this difficult time.

“We hope for an immediate ceasefire and a peaceful resolution to this conflict. We hope for the immediate release of all hostages and for aid to be delivered.

“We believe that Muslims, Jews and people of all faiths and none should feel safe and supported throughout the world and we therefore condemn the increase in anti-Semitic and Islamophobic violence and abuse in the UK. In particular, we condemn the use of all dehumanising language and call on our communities to treat each other with respect and refrain from inflammatory terms to describe either the Palestinian or Israeli populations.”

I also want to highlight two important motions that were passed unanimously at this meeting.

Firstly, it was agreed that people who have experienced being in care will now be treated as having a protected characteristic by Bath & North East Somerset Council to ensure that its support and services help prevent discrimination. At the meeting it was inspiring to hear from Jake, who is 17 years old and currently in care in our area, who shared his experience and asked us to consider the motion.

The council is corporate parent to children and young people in B&NES who are in care and supports care experienced people up to the age of 25. 110 people are currently allocated to a personal advisor and a further 90 people aged between 21 and 25 are able to ask for support at any time.

Secondly, at the meeting we also agreed to sign up the Local Government Association’s Debate Not Hate campaign which aims to raise public awareness of the role of councillors in local communities, encourage healthy debate and improve the response to and support those in public life facing abuse and intimidation. We are seeing increased levels of toxicity in public and political debates and this is having a detrimental impact on local democracy. As a councillor, I welcome robust debate and challenge, but we need to do more to drive out threats, abuse, and intimidation wherever it occurs in our public life.

I want to extend both a warm welcome to Sally Higham (pictured) who has been appointed as the new non-executive chair for Bath & North East Somerset Council’s property and development group of companies Aequus (AGHL) Ltd.

Sally who lives in Bath brings a wealth of experience from the commercial and housing sectors. She will take up her role on May 7 when the current chair Charles Gerrish, who I want to thank for his hard work and commitment, steps down after eight years as non-executive chair.

Ahead of taking up the role Sally and I visited the latest social housing properties redeveloped by Aequus. The flats in Westgate Street, Bath have been refurbished and will be used to provide social housing for people who are currently homeless and residing in temporary accommodation.

Have a good weekend.


The consultation period on Local Plan options has been extended to 5pm, 16 April 2024.

Watch our video to learn about the Local Plan and why we prepare one. Visit our dedicated Local Plan pages, to find out more about the preparation of the Plan, and work done so far.
Respond using our online consultation form.

Local Plan Options consultation extended to 16 April

The Local Plan Options consultation period has been extended to 16 April to offer people more time to register their opinions on the options document, which is the next stage in the development of a new Local Plan for the district.


Council offers pre-application advice to encourage listed building retrofit works

Owners and occupiers of listed buildings who are interested in improving the energy efficiency of their property can get early bespoke advice, following the launch of a new pre-application service by Bath & North East Somerset Council.


Appointment of new Chair for Aequus Group of Companies

Sally Higham has been appointed as the new non-executive chair for Bath & North East Somerset Council’s property and development group of companies Aequus (AGHL) Ltd.


Free Easter holiday activities and food support for children in B&NES

An exciting range of Easter holiday activities including performing arts, sport and nature activities are being offered to children and young people in Bath and North East Somerset who receive benefit related free school meals.


Easter Evenings at the Roman Baths

The Roman Baths will stay open late over the Easter weekend, giving visitors a chance to see the Great Bath illuminated by flickering torchlight.


Care experienced people in B&NES given protected characteristic status

A motion before Council on March 14 and unanimously agreed by all parties will make sure that care experienced people benefit from the same protections that are in place for other protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.


The Roman Baths & Pump Room welcomes one million visitors

More than one million people visited the Roman Baths & Pump Room in 2023. It is the first time the milestone has been reached since before the pandemic and reflects a strong return of tourism to the city. The announcement comes as the Roman Baths team prepare for the start of the busy visitor season with a full ‘spring clean’ of the Great Bath.


Are you registered to vote in the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner election?

Residents in Bath & North East Somerset are being urged to register to vote and check their Voter ID so they can have their say on who represents them in the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner election.


Highway resurfacing programme begins

Work to resurface 92,000m2 of highway across Bath and North East Somerset, the equivalent of 352 tennis courts, has begun.


Council warns traders over underage vape sales following three prosecutions

Traders of vaping products which contain nicotine are being warned they could face court action if they sell illegal products or to underage buyers following a successful prosecution of three traders by Bath & North East Somerset Council.


Bath Clean Air Zone marks third anniversary

Bath’s Clean Air Zone has been recognised for improving the city’s air quality in the latest government inspection of the scheme, which today (March 15) marks its third anniversary.  


Proposed parking charges review to go before councillors

Proposed changes to car parking charges in Bath & North East Somerset, including the wider roll out of emission-based charges, are going before councillors ahead of wider public consultation later this year.


Council meetings

Do you want to know about decisions being taken by the council and have your say? Please follow this link to the council’s calendar of meetings.

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Cost of living crisis

Worried about the cost of living? Help is out there. There is a dedicated Cost of Living Crisis section on Live Well B&NES, including: You can also get help from your supplier through the Priority Services Register. This is a free support service that makes sure extra help is available to people in vulnerable situations. Check the website to see if you’re eligible to register.
Help with the cost of living.
For people struggling to afford broadband or phone services, there are social tariffs available. Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) has a webpage with more information about social tariffs including eligibility requirements and how to apply Social tariffs - Connecting Devon and Somerset

CSE energy advice

Residents wanting to reduce their bills, insulate their homes or add energy efficiency measures can get guidance from trained energy experts on the first Thursday of every month from 11am to 2pm at a pop up in the Podium outside Bath Central Library.

Library services

Our Libraries offer a range of services, including the Library at Home service where we can bring the library to you and sensory spaces for children and young adults with sensory needs. You can also find out about events happening in our libraries.


Employment support and skills



Achieve in B&NES provides a job and course search service for anybody wishing to enter the workplace or progress their career. There are free and funded courses from local providers.

We Work For Everyone

Looking for work and have a learning difficulty or learning disability, or you are autistic, we can help. Visit

Future Bright

Future Bright offers FREE career coaching, training and support. Visit the Future Bright website to find out more or call 01225 395555.

Employment & Skills Pod

The Employment & Skills Pod provides information, advice and guidance for residents who are unemployed, 18+ and would like support around employment. You can find out more on the achieve website.

Health, wellbeing and support


Live Well B&NES

Live Well B&NES is a web-based resource providing information, signposting and support to Bath & North East Somerset residents.

Community Wellbeing Hub

The Community Wellbeing Hub opening hours are from Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm. Call the Hub on 0300 247 0050 or text 07870 868368 or visit the website.

Bath Mind

Bath Mind is an independent mental health charity whose services operate across Bath and North East Somerset. Explore Bath Mind’s services by visiting their website. Alternatively, call Freephone 0808 175 1369 any day of the week between 9am and 11pm for mental health support.

Age UK

Age UK Bath & North East Somerset run specialised Dementia Groups in the district. These groups are a safe, fun environment for people to come for activities and friendship. Find out more here or call 01225 466135. You can also find out about digital support for people aged 55 and over. Email or visit

Sight loss support

Sight Support West of England provides emotional and practical support to help people adjust to living with sight loss. To find out more, or make an appointment please call  0117 3224885 or email. For more information on the full range of services, visit the website. For more useful information visit the RNIB website.

Domestic abuse

Southside provides help to people who live in Bath & North East Somerset who are at risk of domestic violence and abuse. The working hours are 9am-5pm Monday-Thursday, and 9am-4pm Fridays. Local support services can be found here.

Bath Community Transport

Bath Community Transport provides accessible transport to community, church and support groups, social clubs, care homes and sport foundations.
Call 01225 832317 for further details or visit

Do you look after someone else?

If you support someone who has a disability, illness, mental health condition, addiction or who needs extra help as they grow older, support is available from Bath and North East Somerset Carers’ Centre. Freephone support line: 0800 038 8885 or email 9am-1pm, every weekday.

Public health

To keep up to date with the latest public health news stories across Bath and North East Somerset, including upcoming events, consultations  and other information, subscribe to the public health monthly newsletter. You can also browse previous editions of the public health newsletter.

Off the Record B&NES

Could you be a volunteer befriender to a child or young person aged 5-18 in foster care and take them out once a month to do a fun activity? Off the Record B&NES is looking for volunteers to become Independent Visitors. Learn more and request an application pack
Have you registered to vote and checked your Voter ID so you can have your say on who represents you in the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner election? The election takes place on Thursday 2 May. For more info see our Newsroom: Are you registered to vote in the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner election?
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Date published: 2024-03-21

Councillor Kevin Guy and Sally Higham.

Date published: 2024-03-21