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e-connect 7 December

Date published: 2023-12-07

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

e-connect 7 December 2023

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

Across Bath & North East Somerset we have hundreds of long-term empty properties where second homeowners currently avoid contributing to council tax and therefore council services.

However, at last week’s full council meeting I was extremely pleased to see a unanimous vote to change this. This means that from April next year second homeowners with long term empty properties in our area will have to pay a 100 per cent council tax premium.

The council has taken this action following a new law which has given local authorities the ability to increase council tax by 100 per cent on homes which are kept substantially furnished but are only occupied periodically with no-one resident for council tax purposes.

I hope this decision will encourage much-needed properties back onto the market by discouraging second home ownership or for those who choose to own second homes, it means that they make a higher contribution to vital local services at a time when our budgets are under severe pressure.

Removing barriers to walking, cycling and using public transport is crucial in providing choices for people living in, working in and visiting our area. Education is also important to encourage more active, safer and sustainable ways to travel. So, I was especially pleased to learn that two of our local schools have been recognised for their School Travel Plans under a national scheme called Modeshift STARS.

Well done to Weston All Saints Primary School which recently achieved the first leveI of accreditation for its School Travel Plan (STP) and to Chew Stoke Church School which has achieved Outstanding (Platinum) Accreditation for the last two years – a wonderful achievement.

The council values all communities including our Jewish staff and Jewish communities. From today until 15th December, Jewish people in Bath and North East Somerset, the UK and around the globe will be proudly observing Hanukkah, the eight-day Festival of Lights with the nightly lighting of the menorah - a multi-branched candelabra. Happy Hanukkah to all those observing the festival!

Have a good weekend.


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.
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.

Bath plays starring role in Wonka

Bath is set to play a starring role in Wonka, a fantasy musical from the writing and directing team behind the successful Paddington films which is out on general release in the UK tomorrow (Dec 8).


Best dressed chalets named at Bath Christmas Market

Bath Christmas Market traders’ fantastic efforts to make their chalets as festive as possible saw four businesses pick up titles in the annual Best Dressed Chalet Awards.


Repurposing vacant units in Bath offers new opportunities for independent businesses

Retail spaces in the Old Post Office building on New Bond Street in Bath are now available for local businesses to rent while the redevelopment of the Fashion Museum progresses.


Highway resurfacing wraps up for another year as council completes annual programme

More than 15km of highway has been resurfaced across Bath and North East Somerset this year as the council completes its resurfacing programme.  


B&NES primary schools recognised for encouraging sustainable travel

Pupils and staff at Bath & North East Somerset schools have been recognised for supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable travel.


B&NES improves ranking on action to achieve net zero

Bath & North East Somerset Council has been recognised for its ongoing work towards achieving net zero by 2030.


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

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read the latest releases on our
Newsroom and we're on Nextdoor, too. Visit our website.

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.
Join us for an audience with Liz Lawler, international bestselling author from Bath, on December 9 from 2pm at Bath Central Library.

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.
Join the Employment & Skills Pod at Bath Central Library on Wednesday 31st January 10am – 12pm for their Skills for Work Volunteering Opportunities drop-in.

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.

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, Bath and North East Somerset Carers’ Centre is here for you. Contact our freephone support line: 0800 038 8885 or email us. We’re available 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.
If you're eligible for a flu and Covid-19 vaccination you can book at or call 119. At-risk groups include people aged 65 and over, those with a weakened immune system and pregnant women.
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B&NES Council Website

Date published: 2023-12-07

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

Date published: 2023-12-07