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e-connect 22 February

Date published: 2024-02-22

Cllr Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council.

e-connect 22 February 2024

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

Council agreed the 2024-25 budget earlier this week and I want to take this opportunity to thank Councillor Mark Elliott, Cabinet Member for Resources and everyone who has worked so tirelessly over many weeks to prepare a balanced budget.

There have been some very difficult decisions to make over the past few months, but when making those decisions we have always prioritised the protection of our most vulnerable residents, maintenance of front-line services, and delivery on the commitments we have made to residents.

Two of those tough decisions, where we received a lot of feedback through the budget consultation and scrutiny were on savings to social care community contracts commissioned from third sector organisations and car parking charges in Midsomer Norton and Radstock.

On community contracts, we listened to the concerns our third sector partners raised, particularly about the risks of sudden change. We are therefore spreading these savings over two years, giving us more time to carry out a thorough review with our partners.

When we’re having to look at raising money for really vital services like social care, prioritising maintaining free car parking didn’t seem like the right thing to do particularly when we charge for car parking in the rest of the authority area. We will be introducing charges but the exact form they will take in Midsomer Norton and Radstock will be subject to further consultation.

I am especially proud of the investments we are making. The budget will see an additional £5.8m into social care, £5m invested into our council house building programme, £5m into supported housing, to help reduce out of area provision, and an increase of £2.9m in investment in the Local Highway Improvement Programme We are reinvesting £2m of revenue from the Clean Air Zone, into the first phase of Scholars’ Way in the south of Bath. This will connect educational establishments for cyclists, pedestrians and other users of active travel.

This week I was also delighted to learn we have been recognised at a national level and named as a finalist in the Most Improved Council category at the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards. The nomination recognises how the council has implemented a wide-ranging change programme to deliver our priorities, improving local services for customers such as response times for things like highways requests. We will find out in June if we have won.

From today you will see Pulteney Bridge lit up as part of a national #SlavaUkraini campaign to raise awareness of the second anniversary of war since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 2022. The flag of the City of Oleksandriya, a city in Ukraine we have a Friendship Agreement with, will also be joining the Flag of Ukraine we are flying at the Guildhall.

A series of short films celebrating Ukrainian guests who have made their home with host families in Bath and North East Somerset have also been launched. There are still Ukrainian people in need of a safe place to stay and I would encourage anyone considering opening their homes as hosts to please contact our Homes for Ukraine scheme at
Have a good weekend.

From 12 February to 8 April, we're asking for your comments on our Local Plan Options Document, the latest stage in preparing our Planning policy for the next 20 years. Find out more

B&NES Homes for Ukraine scheme celebrated in new films marking second anniversary of Russian invasion

A series of short films celebrating Ukrainian guests who have made their home with host families in Bath and North East Somerset has been launched today to highlight the second anniversary of the Ukraine war.


Bath Christmas Market 2024 dates announced

Magical festivities and seasonal joy will once again be created for residents and visitors in Bath with the return of the famous Christmas Market for 2024.


Advice and support at Bath Construction Jobs and Careers Fair

People are looking to get into a career in the construction industry can find out more about opportunities and training, as well having a go at some stonemasonry and virtual welding, at a free event being held in Bath next month.


Lining work planned for Keynsham High Street

Lining work on Keynsham High Street will be carried out following a road safety report. 


Bath & North East Somerset in running for ‘Most Improved Council’ award

Bath & North East Somerset Council has been named as a finalist in the Most Improved Council category at the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards.


Hear the latest on the Chew Valley at the Area Forum

Residents are invited to hear about projects in the Chew Valley at its Area Forum meeting on 22 February.


Find out what’s happening in Saltford, Keynsham and surrounding area at the Keynsham Area Forum

Residents heard about services in their local communities at the Keynsham Area Forum meeting on February 21.


Wiltshire fencer fined for unfair trading

A fencer who took deposits for work that he failed to carry out has been fined following a prosecution by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Trading Standards Service.


Have your say: new Local Plan Options consultation starts

Options for how we address our future development needs, such as where to deliver new homes and jobs across Bath and North East Somerset and what policies we need for addressing the climate and ecological emergencies are being consulted on from today (12 Feb).


Knife crime awareness events continue for parents and carers in B&NES

A series of events to help parents and carers learn more about the dangers of knife crime is continuing this February and March.


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.

Follow us online

You can follow us on NextdoorXFacebook and 
Instagram; subscribe to us on YouTube and read the latest releases on our Newsroom. Visit our website.

Junior Doctors' strike

From 7am Saturday 24 February – 11.59pm Wednesday 28 February, Junior Doctors will be taking strike action at a number of NHS trusts, including the Royal United Hospital, Bath (RUH). The industrial action is a national dispute between the Government and unions.

Patient safety is the RUH’s top priority, and the hospital is committed to keeping disruption caused by industrial action to a minimum.


If you have an appointment or procedure booked, please attend unless you hear from the RUH. You do not need to call to check if your appointment is going ahead. The RUH will be in touch with patients directly if an appointment needs to be rearranged.

The emergency department

The emergency department remains open 24 hours a day, if you have a life-threatening emergency. Please be aware that, like others across the NHS, the RUH’s Emergency Department is really busy.

If you have a minor illness or minor injury, local GP surgeries and pharmacies are open.

If you have an urgent medical problem that is not an emergency and aren’t sure what to do, contact 111 first online or by phone – they will provide immediate medical advice and direct you to the best care for your needs.


The RUH will continue to welcome family members and loved ones to visit patients. There are no changes to visiting arrangements during industrial action so please continue to follow the visiting hours provided by the ward team. For more information, please visit


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 here for everyone living in B&NES. For more information, support resources and to self-refer, visit the website, or call our Access Community Mental Health Team: Freephone 0808 175 1369 or you can email.

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.

You can report a problem in your area with FixMyStreet:

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Bath and North East Somerset Council Newsroom logo.
B&NES Council Twitter
B&NES Council Facebook
B&NES Council Website

Date published: 2024-02-22

Cllr Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council.

Date published: 2024-02-22