Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Stone Mines Contract Awarded

Hydrock, the company that has brought the scheme to the present position, has been awarded the contract to carry on with the stabilisation works. Hydrock offered the lowest cost, best value and shortest programme for the remaining project works in the sum of £42,544,218.58 .
This is the first of three 'packages' for the remainder of the scheme and the release of subsequent stages of works to Hydrock will be dependent upon their satisfactory performance. Hydrock are well liked by local people, not only because they are efficient, but because they are considerate and are willing to contribute to the local community.

The most obvious example is the lights at Christmas draped over the horse chestnut tree in the centre of Firs Field. Recently there has been a record pouring of foamed concrete in one day - 1300 cubic metres, when the normal days work is around 900 cubic metres.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Mast Application in The Avenue Refused

The first round of the campaign to stop a mobile telephone mast in The Avenue has been won. However, the mobile telephone companies usually appeal these decisions. We will post further information on the blog as it becomes available. Full decision below with web address for details.

Town and Country Planning Act 1990
Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 (as amended)

Application Type: Full Application
Site Location: Street Record The Avenue Combe Down Bath
Description of Proposal: Erection of telecommunications base station comprising a 17.5m monopole mast incorporating three shrouded 1.7m antennae at 15.8m and one transmission dish at 15m with associated equipment cabinets on grass verge in front of Combe Down Garage
Name of Applicant: Hutchinson 3G Now Trading As Three
Application Number: 06/04025/FUL Case Officer: Neil Harvey

Further to our earlier letter regarding the application as described above, I write to advise you that the decision was made on 18th January 2007 and was as follows:-


Details of the decision can be found on the Planning Services pages of the Council’s website by clicking on the link below:;

Friday, January 12, 2007

Westerleigh Road Houses to be renovated

Combe Road is now likely to be closed until June or July, so I asked whether these houses in Westerleigh Road can be given a clean bill of health before this time - it was thought that Westerleigh Road would need to be closed for the infill to be checked and obviously this would have created great problems with Combe Road closed too. I have today received the following positive reply from Jess Bowden of the Stone Mines Project Team:

"I have spoken to the project managers about the topping up in Westerleigh Road and have been advised that an alternative approach has been agreed so that the area can be topped up without lengthy closure of the road. It is intended that this work will be done after bulk pours nearby are finished - this is likely to be in the next couple of weeks. The best estimate the project managers have at the moment is that, providing nothing unexpected happens, by the end of February they should be in a position to say there is no further work required. I have been promised updates on this work as it happens".

I have passed this information on to Somer Housing so that they can plan the renovation of these badly needed houses.

Pot Hole Regulations

Remember the pothole in Ralph Allen Drive that Cherry and I took our lives in our hands to get a photograph of last year - it's in the blog archive for October? I asked the Council's Highways department about how deep potholes had to be before they were treated as urgent, because the Ralph Allen Drive potholes had been around for some time and I considered that they were especially dangerous for two wheeled vehicles and for cyclists.

The reply I received from Steve Jones is reproduced below - thank you Steve for the information.

"A dangerous pothole (24 hour repair) is one that is 40mm deep and over, having a vertical edge and is 300mm in length on a busy principle road, 7 days on lesser used roads. (this is national guidance and case law proven, not just a local policy - however our response and intervention is better than other Authorities in the SW). Depending on location and class of road a pothole 60mm deep would be repaired in 24hrs or seven days. The one on the photo you sent was wearing course only and thus could not be more than 40mm".

I still think that a pothole much less than 40mm is dangerous to two wheeled vehicles and of course on the downward slope of Ralph Allen Drive where motorcycles and bikes travel faster, the potential for an accident is much greater.

A pothole meeting the specificaions Steve mentions above - 40mm x 300mm is a veritable chasm in the road and would spell disaster for four and two wheeled vehicles alike! I wonder how many accidents are caused to 2 wheeled vehicles and bikes by potholes nation wide?

We are still trying to get some potholes filled in Exmoor Road after 2 years - we will be there soon with a ruler!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Planning Applications

Ward: Combe Down App Ref: 07/00029/LBA
Registered: 03/01/2007 Expiry Date: 28/02/2007
Location: 3 Quarry Vale Combe Down Bath BA2 5JZ
Grid 375884 162272 Listed building Grade: II
Proposal: Addition of exterior door to opening in existing porch
Case Caroline Waldron
Applicant: Mrs Jennifer Morgan Agent Name: No Agent
Applicant Address: 3 Quarry Vale Agent Address:
Combe Down
Ward: Combe Down App Ref: 07/00024/LBA
Registered: 02/01/2007 Expiry Date: 27/02/2007
Location: 4 Greendown Place Combe Down Bath BA2 5DD
Grid 375484 162353 Listed building Grade: II
Proposal: Replacement of windows and front door
Case Caroline Waldron
Applicant: Ruth Jenkins Agent Name: No Agent
Applicant Address: 4 Greendown Place Agent Address:

Combe Down
BA2 5DD Ward: Keynsham East App Ref: 07/00034

Planning Applications Furore

There have been two recent Planning Applications in Combe Down village that have caused consternation to local residents.
The First is the ridiculous applcation for a mobile telephone mast on the grass verge outside Combe Down Garage. The company 'Three', visited Wags Firmin owner of the garage to ask if they could install a mast on his property. Wags refused, so the the company have proposed a mast as close as they can to the garage, but without encroaching on Wags' land.

The proposal should be refused on aesthetic grounds alone - an unsightly development in the Conservation Area and totally out of place. But there are also health concerns about the affect of these masts, particularly on children. So with a children's play area and nursery close by and on the route to and from Combe Down Primary School, the fear of health problems should also be a reason to refuse the mast. This mast proposal is close to the most densely populated area of Combe Down.

The company maintain that this is the only site for a mast. I say to the company "go back and look again", if this is the best you can come up with it may be that there is not a suitable site in Combe Down. The photo by the Chronicle shows Roger and Cherry with Wags Firmin, the Manager of Tadpoles Nursery and local resident Phyllis Brown.
The second Planning Application causing some problems is for a new Astroturf hockey pitch on Sears Field, just over the wall from Church Road in Monkton Combe Junior School. Fears of local residents include increased noise and disturbance, possible floodlighting and an increase in traffic already causing problems to people in Church Road and Tyning Road.
Our view is that this site is the closest to dwellings on the whole school site and although we are not opposed in principle to the school constructing an all weather surface in its grounds, there surely must be a better site. Neither can we support any development in the school until present traffic and pollution problems caused by parents bringing and collecting their children are addessed.
It is a shame that there was no discussion with local residents before the application was submitted. Simply discussing applications like this, which could have a great impact on local people, with planning officers is not enough - local councillors and local residents should be invited to make comments and ask questions before the submission of an application. Otherwise applicants risk opposition as in this case.
The Headteacher will meet local residents this weekend and Cherry and myself will meet him next week if possible. Local views may still be taken into account, but it is rather late in the day.
There is still an opportunity for people to comment on the application until 30th January 2007.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Christmas Ice Skating

Christmas 2005 saw ice skating in Queen Square, but there has been no repeat of what seemed a very popular addition to Bath's winter attractions since.

This New Year while in London I took this photo as we passed Somerset House, the first of four or five open air ice skating venues in London. The photo speaks for itself, crowded with people experiencing something that we were able to do two years ago in bath in beautiful surroundings.

I know in Bath we have had some trouble with finding a suitable venue, but I do find it difficult to understand, when we are competing with other cities to attract visitors that we are unable to get our act together for ice skating. I know the Planners and some councillors opposed skating in Queen Square and because of its slope it is probably not the most suitable venue, but surely we can get our act together for next year.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Climb Lines

I regularly ride my bike up Ralph Allen Drive, often when it is dark, as do many more Combe Down residents, but it is quite frightening to be passed closely by cars travelling at speed. I have therefore written to Cllr Sir Elgar Jenkins, Cabinet member for Transport asking for a white line to be painted on the 'up' side of Ralph Allen Drive. This ‘Climb Line’ (really a cycle lane) will be helpful to motorists too in giving them a guide to how much room they should give to cyclists. I see this as a pilot scheme, which if successful could be repeated at very little cost on hills throughout Bath and North East Somerset. (Photo shows me with bike and other cyclists during 'Bike to Work Week - by kind permission of the Chron.)

Approaching the top of Ralph Allen Drive too it is often not possible to ride on the inside of the row of cars queuing to get out at the junction with North Road, because they are too close to the kerb. The line would give them a guide to where they should be positioned on the road and allow cyclists to get to the head of the queue. I believe that these lines would encourage more cyclists on to our roads and therefore help achieve the Council’s goal of getting more people to use sustainable transport.

Reaction from officers is that Ralph Allen Drive may be too narrow for a cycle lane, but they will check!!!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Planning Applications

Ward: Combe Down App Ref: 06/04251/LBA
Registered: 12/12/2006 Expiry Date: 06/02/2007
Location: De Montalt Mill Summer Lane Combe Down Bath BA2 5JY
Grid 376224 162007 Listed building Grade: II
Proposal: Conversion and extension Engineman's building to create a dwelling house
Case Varian Tye
Applicant: Mr R Hussey Agent Name: Ashley Design Associates
Applicant Address: 66 Avonfield Agent Address: The Old Ride
Avenue Bath Road
Bradford On Avon Bradford On Avon
BA15 2PB
BA15 1JF
Ward: Combe Down App Ref: 06/04078/FUL
Registered: 11/12/2006 Expiry Date: 05/02/2007
Location: 6 St Winifred's Drive Combe Down Bath BA2 7HR
Grid 376673 162520 Listed building Grade:
Proposal: Erection of a bay extension at ground floor level to front
Case Rachel Le Huray
Applicant: Mr J Coates Agent Name: Mr M Mills
Applicant Address: 6 St Winifred's Agent Address: 60 Bath Road
Drive Atworth
Combe Down Wilts
Bath SN12 8JY
Ward: Combe Down App Ref: 06/04247/FUL
Registered: 12/12/2006 Expiry Date: 06/02/2007
Location: 14 Cleevedale Road Combe Down Bath BA2 5QS
Grid 375235 162281 Listed building Grade:
Proposal: Erection of a two storey side extension and single storey rear extension
Case Rachel Le Huray
Applicant: Mr S Chaddha Agent Name: Neil Chapple And
Applicant Address: 14 Cleevedale Agent Address: 33 Millmead Road
Road Oldfield Park
Combe Down Bath
Bath BA2 3JP
Ward: Combe Down App Ref: 06/04250/FUL
Registered: 12/12/2006 Expiry Date: 06/02/2007
Location: De Montalt Mill Summer Lane Combe Down Bath BA2 5JY
Grid 376224 162007 Listed building Grade: II
Proposal: Conversion and extension of Engineman's building to create a dwelling house
Case Lewis Cook
Applicant: Mr R Hussey Agent Name: Ashley Design Associates
Applicant Address: 66 Avonfield Agent Address: The Old Ride
Avenue Bath Road
Bradford On Avon Bradford On Avon
BA15 2PB
BA15 1JF