Places for our community
Since 2017, we've brought community spaces like Barton Farm and Sladesbrook Park under the wing of Bradford on Avon Town Council, replacing broken equipment and making them safer spaces to play. We've even added some features like re-wilded areas in Barton Farm Play area and bug hotels!
Our Councillors led the purchase of areas like Becky Addy Wood and adoption of other green spaces. These give our community more options to stay fit and healthy, enjoy our amazing countryside, and improve habitats and biodiversity.
More spaces are coming under Town Council control in the next months. Continuing to invest in them, and running them well, is what we have proved we know how to do – and what our community deserves.
Getting the skatepark replaced and investing in the Poulton area around it, and rebuilding the Culver Field pavilion (carbon off-set and applying eco standards as far as possible), will be major priority projects for us after the election.
Supporting vibrant businesses
Bradford on Avon is home to a wealth of independent businesses, which we've supported in many ways. The Town Council uses many local suppliers and, under our leadership, launched the ‘Explore BOA’ brand and #ShopLocal card to promote local traders. The town is also a tourist destination, and we've invested in programmes including the Great West Way and Visit Wiltshire.
As we emerge from the pandemic, we'll continue to sponsor schemes like the Kingfisher Trail and Slow Ways project to encourage visitors and residents alike to explore our wonderful town! With the Town Council taking on responsibility for the weekly market, we'll be looking at ways to re-shape it, so that it supports businesses and residents better.
We meet regularly with business representatives, and we'll host a conference in June 2021, to develop how the Town Council, businesses and community organisations can work together to keep our town an attractive and vibrant place for visitors and residents.
Getting around the town
Being able to get around town safely has never been more important. We’ve put pedestrian safety at the heart of our thinking on transport policy – both in terms of pathways and air quality.
Residents have consistently said that air quality and pedestrian safety are the most important issues to tackle. So, in 2019, we called on Wiltshire Council to model the major changes in our road network. We also launched 'Safer Pathways’ to improve footpaths and install handrails on the steeper slopes around town.
During the pandemic, we've had to change our focus in the short term. The social distancing scene designed and implemented by Wiltshire council has raised a number of issues that will need to be addressed as part of any permanent changes. Our Councillors continue to press Wiltshire Council to act on these current problems, especially those highlighted by residents in the New Road area'
In the long term, we'll continue to press for changes to tackle the impact of through-traffic on our town. We'll bring forward plans to improve air quality, and better protect people making their way around town - especially on foot and by bike.
Supporting our neighbours
It’s been a difficult twelve months for everyone, but one wonderful thing that has really shone through is how supportive our community is. Throughout the global pandemic, we’ve invested in the Community Emergency Volunteers, and given grants to dozens of community organisations including the Hub and Julian House.
During the pandemic, our Town Councillors set up and supported community projects like GrowBOA, and set up the Crowdfunder campaign that raised £5000 to support those most in need during the first lockdown. We used our experience to help build processes to support the Town Council team and more than 500 volunteers across the town.
While restrictions are being lifted, our focus is now on helping the town to recover, socially and economically.
We will keep creating social wellbeing programmes: working with groups like the Natural Theatre Company to provide community workshops, building projects like GrowBOA, and continuing to work closely with the town's fantastic community organisations
As part of our Youth Strategy, in 2018, we commissioned a new Youth Service for the town and surrounding area, which will be recommissioned in May this year. So far, the service has supported hundreds of young people through both the youth club and outreach work. In 2019, we provided more money to the Living Well project, funded jointly with Age UK and Wiltshire Council to help with social isolation and signpost vulnerable older residents into services. We also sponsored building new science laboratories at St. Laurence school.
In the coming years, we’ll need to continue investing in our community to help us all recover from the pandemic. Projects like the youth service, skatepark and pavilion provide the infrastructure, while vibrant community groups provide the environment. It’s our role, as Ideal Bradford and as Town Councillors, to support both.
Nurturing the environment
Protecting our town's habitats and environment has been a major focus. We led the 2017 campaign to adopt the Neighbourhood Plan, and have continued to defend green spaces like the Golf Course against the draft Local Plan.
We declared a Climate Emergency in 2019, and an Ecological Emergency in 2020. And actions have followed words: we've restricted the use of harmful chemicals and peat-based compost and banned culling on Town Council land. We also installed drinking water fountains as part of our ‘Plastic Free Community Status’ status.
The solar panels on St. Margaret's hall have generated more than 50 megawatt hours of solar energy since 2019 - enough to power the whole of Bradford on Avon for two weeks!
We've now committed 10% of the Town Council budget per year from 2021 - 2025 to tackling the Climate and Ecological emergencies, with steps like installing Electric Vehicle Charging points and looking at community energy generation projects.
Energising local democracy
One of our first jobs in 2017 was to look at how the Town Council interacted with residents, and we've made major changes to that, enabling residents to contribute to meetings more fully than ever before. Residents also get regular updates on the work of their council. through printed quarterly newsletters, and we've invested in the Town Council's online website and social media presence.
We've also saved paper and costs by sending documents to Councillors online rather than by post, and using IT tools to make everyone's life that little bit easier, especially while we've all been home-working!
We're going to find more ways to get resident's voices heard in decision-making, both in Council meetings and outside of them. This is your town – understanding what you want your Council to do is the democratic and the right thing to do.
Ideal Councillors have led a much greater number of projects an initiatives than Councillors from the national parties, and the current unaffiliated independent Councillors. Many of the projects we have worked on have been co-led by community groups. By working with motivated citizens, we achieve far more than we could as a Council alone.