Notices

Connecting Devon and Somerset, broadband voucher scheme

Voucher Scheme Update

The Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) Programme has been running a voucher scheme as part of its commitment to ensuring all premises have access to at least 2 Mbps. The scheme was launched in March 2016 and it offers anyone with a broadband speed of less than 2Mbps a voucher worth up to £500 towards the cost of a new broadband connection.

The scheme will close to applications on the 30th of November 2016, though voucher holders can still use their vouchers up until March 2017. Anybody who applies before this date will have the voucher processed and will be part of the system. We are receiving a large volume of applications at present and we expect this to only increase towards the end of the month; it may take us a few weeks to process all the vouchers after the 30th deadline.

Working with 18 registered suppliers voucher holders can choose between a range of solutions such as fixed wireless, mobile 4G and satellite as well as some fibre operators. These solutions will offer at least 10Mbps though some can deliver superfast speeds of 30 – 80Mbps.

How the scheme works

Residents and businesses who have slower speeds can apply through the Connecting Devon and Somerset website. Those with speeds that are confirmed as below the 2Mbps threshold and have no access to faster networks will be issued with a voucher. In some cases where there is a programme underway to connect an area the applicant will be informed that they may be able to access improved broadband through another scheme. If residents do not have sufficient internet access to apply online, paper copies of the application form can be sent. Alternatively arrangements can be made to take applications over the phone.

Once issued with a voucher code, residents and businesses are able to choose from the range of 18 suppliers registered on the scheme; in some areas, where suppliers can identify sufficient demand a whole community solution can be delivered. CDS are not able to arbitrate or be involved in any of the decisions taken by the voucher holders in their choice of supplier or engagement in a community scheme. CDS will honour the invoiced value of an individual installation up to the value of £500 and this is supplied by the providers on a monthly basis.

All applications must be completed by 30th November 2016. This will allow installations to be carried out and invoices returned and approved before the end of the financial year in March 2017.

How to access the scheme

Further details can be found on the CDS website at: www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk/cds-broadband-voucher-scheme

Residents may also email broadbandvoucher-mailbox@devon.gov.uk for information.

Digital access to ancestral records in Bath and North East Somerset

Residents, or those with family or historic ancestral connections to the area, are now able to go online to access burial and cremation records managed and held by Bath & North East Somerset Council.
The Council, in partnership with Deceased Online, www.deceasedonline.com, has scanned and created digital versions of all burial and cremation records going back to the early 1850s to enable easy and fast searching for family and ancestors’ records.

Under statutory legislation, burial and cremation records need to be managed and preserved by all local authorities. Until now, anyone searching for these records would have needed to apply to the Council or visit the Bereavement Services offices. The availability of the online records means that individuals are able to search the data themselves 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This will improve accessibility for the users, reduce the demand on Council resources and provide far easier and faster access to the records by the public. The online records will also be available to global users and visiting tourists who have an interest in the region and local family connections .

Deceased Online already has records for 150+ UK councils and other archives in its database; users can search the website free of charge and digital copies of records can be downloaded for a small fee per document.
Cllr Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “We are embracing digital technology to ensure these vital records are safeguarded and made easier to access and at a lower cost than before. This project will also provide local, national and even international researchers access to the fascinating history of the area at the click of a button from anywhere in the world.”

The digital records available are as follows:

  • Bathwick Cemetery, 1862-1998
  • Harptree Cemetery, 1884-2011
  • Haycombe Cemetery, 1937-1990
  • Locksbrook Cemetery, 1864-2010
  • St James’s Cemetery (formerly Lyn Wid & St James), 1861-2011
  • St Michael’s Cemetery, 1851-2008
  • Twerton/Bellots Road Cemetery, 1882-2003
  • Haycombe Crematorium, 1961-1996

People searching the website will be able to find:

  • Scans of original registers
  • Grave details indicating all those buried within each grave
  • Maps indicating the section within the cemeteries where each grave is located (available for Haycombe, St James’s and Twerton cemeteries only)

Housing needed for Syrian refugees

Back in July and September of last year, B&NES Council discussed the Syrian refugee crisis and explored avenues through which it might be able to help in resettling individuals and families who have been forced to flee their homes. As a result of this 25 individuals have now been resettled here, which represents half of the figure of 50 that Citizens UK has asked all Local Authorities to welcome as a minimum.

B&NES Council have now hit a very real stumbling block in the path towards bringing more refugees to safety, in that there is no housing available in which they can accommodate any more families. The council has done some brilliant work in supporting the existing families to resettle and rebuild their lives, but they cannot hope to bring more people to safety unless we overcome the problem of where to house them.

Perhaps you know landlords in the area already, or people who know landlords, or are one yourself.

In order to help, landlords must:

* Own a family-sized rental property
* Be willing to rent out their property for the Local Housing Allowance Rate. The first 12 months of the rent will be paid for by the EU via a scheme for placing vulnerable refugees and subsequent months either through housing benefit or the family’s own earnings
* Be prepared to offer their property as a home for a Syrian refugee family
* Be able to offer a 2 year tenancy (ideally, or 14 months as an absolute minimum) to enable the family to have some stability when they arrive in the UK

If they (or you) have queries or would like further information, please contact @BathRefugees’ on Twitter or ‘@Bath Welcomes Refugees’ on Facebook. Alternatively, email B&NES councillor Alison Millar.

Details of new bus service

Following a competitive tender, BANES council have awarded a contract for the bus service to Bathampton to Wessex Bus, starting 5 September 2016. It will run as service 12, every 40 minutes during the daytime on Mondays to Saturdays, to the city centre and on to Oldfield Park and Haycombe Cemetery.

The route between Bathampton and the city centre will be the same as current route 4.

The timetable is published on Traveline.

Public consultation on the creation of a new West of England Mayoral Combined Authority

Bath & North East Somerset Council, along with Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils, have decided to move forward with a £1 billion devolution deal from Government.

The Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) would manage new powers, funding and responsibilities that would be handed from central Government to the region as part of the deal. As a result, more decisions could be made locally, rather than nationally, about spending on regional transport, housing, adult education and skills.

The consultation will run from Monday 4 July 2016 until 15 August 2016 and is being run jointly by Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, and South Gloucestershire councils – meaning residents from all three geographic areas will be invited to take part.

How to have your say:

  • Online: www.westofenglanddevolution.co.uk
  • Paper copies of the survey will be available from local libraries, Customer Service Points and One Stop Shops from 14 July – or by calling 0117 922 2848.
  • Other formats such as braille are also available by calling 0117 922 2848.
  • An audio version is available now on the website above.

There will also be a number of ‘roadshow’ events held throughout the area at which residents can find out more and give their feedback:

  • Tuesday 19th July, 4.00-6.00pm – Kaposvar Room, The Guildhall, Bath
  • Saturday 13th August, Drop in (11-4pm) – Old Bond Street / Milsom Street Junction , Bath City Centre

For more information, including updates on other events, visit www.westofenglanddevolution.co.uk or follow @WofEDevo on Twitter.

Information on the number 4 bus service

It has been brought to our attention that some passengers have been informed by their driver that the number 4 bus service is being withdrawn from 1 September.

Our chairman has spoken to Andy Strong, from the Bath & Northeast Somerset Council public transport team, and he has confirmed that the number 4 will no longer run to Bathampton. He went on to say that it will be replaced by a daytime service to the bus station provided by Wessex running every 40 minutes.

He confirmed that pensioner passes will still be accepted, but not First passes. Passengers will instead have to buy the Bath Rider pass if they want to use non Wessex services for their onward journey or Wessex passes.

To avoid confusion about the current service, there will not be any official communication until August, we have asked Mr Strong to provide content for the August Parish newsletter.

Playground improvements

We are delighted to announce that an inclusive swing has been installed which will enable all children to enjoy the playground. Thank you to Geoff Ward, one of our Bathavon North councillors for arranging a generous contribution towards the cost.

We are looking at ways to improve the village playground, and recently invited members of the community to fill in a questionnaire. The results from this have given us a good indication of what you think is important. Making the playground a place that all children can enjoy is an important first step, but there’s much more that we want to do. We’re always looking for volunteers to join the playground improvement group, especially if you have experience in fundraising. Please contact Jan if you would like to get involved!