Battle is renewed by Back to Bath group
By Bath Chronicle | Friday, November 02, 2012, 20:38
Campaigners wanting Bath to have its own council are stepping up their battle with the launch of a new website and Facebook page.
The Back to Bath group is keen to show the Government the level of support for its call for the city to be self-governing.
It says there is overwhelming backing for the idea of Bath and North east Somerset Council being broken up, with a new unitary authority covering just the city.
The pressure group says Bath – where income from the civic property portfolio was such that the old city council did not need to charge domestic rates – is subsidising the rest of the district.
It acknowledges that seven out of the eight members of B&NES' ruling cabinet are from the city, but says that the current regime allows decisions about Bath to be taken by politicians from places as far afield as the Chew Valley and Whitchurch.
The group, which collected nearly 13,000 signatures for a petition ten years ago, points out that other towns and cities of a similar size to Bath, such as Hartlepool, whose population of 90,000 is identical, have their own all-purpose authorities.
Back to Bath founder Anna Harper said: "Bath people must run Bath. We feel that we have lost our identity."
Her colleague, former city councillor Jill Attwood, added: "We have run our own affairs for centuries but we won't get this if we don't fight for it."
They have no fixed ideas on how the rest of B&NES could be broken up, but one idea would be for Keynsham to be part of Bristol, with Midsomer Norton and Radstock being swallowed up by an extended Somerset County Council and Mendip District Council.
The group says the strength of the city's civic property chest – B&NES is the biggest commercial landlord in Bath – means that the creation of a new local authority need not be expensive.
Ms Harper said: "I believe it could and should happen."
The website is at www.backtobath.co.uk, with the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/backtobath.