Sunday, 15 September 2019

The Rec Trust AGM

We recently attended the AGM of the Rec Trust.

The meeting highlighted the work some of the organisations supported by the charitable work of the trust which was often inspiring and impressive.

However, much of the rest of the meeting served to highlight the unsatisfactory nature of the constitutional arrangement for the Rec and the growing distrust an antagonism between the Trustees and their Bath City neighbours and, in our view, the failure of the Trustees to properly acknowledge or manage these problems and concerns.

The AGM is the only official chance the people of Bath get to publicly question the Trustees about their stewardship of the Rec or their decisions about how they pursue their charitable objectives.

Questions were raised about the basis of decisions about how charitable funds were being spent and the trustees priorities. We for instance questioned an apparent assumption that there was little or no poverty in the city centre either in absolute terms or in terms of access to sport and recreation.

However, many people had come to question the Trustees about their role as neighbours and custodians of one of the cities most inportant green recreational asset.

Responses to these question fell into roughly two catagories:

  1. Anodyne legalistic responses which often failed to ackowledge either the legal issue raised or the concern that the underpined them
  2. Assertions that such questions where not appropriate at the AGM.
This latter catagory raised further concerns about the constitutional arrangements. People naturally asked if their questions where not approprite to this meeting which meeting would be appropriate. The answer to this seems to be the AGM of the company that manages the charity. The catch here being that you can only attend that meeting if you are a member of the company and the only members of the company are the Trustees. 

How then do you become a Trustee? Well you apparently apply to the existing board of Trustees and then they and they alone decide if you are a suitable candidate.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

The impact of pollution on NHS services

Pollution has a major impact on NHS services in terms of costs and service demand but also in terms of patient outcomes.

We have been talking to the BANES Clinical Commissioning Group about the possibility of the becoming more proactive in campaigning for more funding for anti-pollution measures.

Following recent discussions we are now more helpful that they are shifting the view on this and will start gathering the financial and medical data they have to make the business case for increased funding to substantially reduce pollution in BANES.

Our discussions with BANES also suggest a willingness on their part to work with and encourage the NHS in this arena.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Response to the Licensing Policy Consultation

Broadly, and because we recognise the limitations imposed on the Licensing Authority by legislation, we are supportive of the Policy as drafted. 

We particularly welcome the emphasis on best practice and the incorporation of examples of best practice in the policy so that they can be taken into account in judging applications, enforcement activities and reviews. 

We would have liked to have seen more in that best practice about working with local residents and residents’ representatives. 

Where licensees have shown a willingness to engage with local residents we have seen a significant reduction in complaints and real reductions in public nuisance. Examples include pre-application consultations, acceptance of conditions to hold regular meetings with residents, giving residents contact telephone numbers and participation in Nightwatch.

We accept that the redrawing of the boundary of the cumulative impact boundary reflects the new situation on the ground, largely due to key premises closing or significantly changing their business models. 

We did have one suggestion that BANES might consider. While acknowledging that it would fall outside what was envisioned by Cumulative Impact Assessment in the Act. We would propose including the river bank outside the Rugby Stadium and relevant adjacent streets and areas on the grounds that there is soon to be a substantial planning application which includes several new licensable premises in this area and that this is likely to greatly increase the cumulative impact within the timeframe of the review.