St Mark’s Community Centre Update

Parking and Pavement Repairs

As you will have noticed, the parking and pavement area around the for the Community centre has been fenced off for several weeks and scaffolding has been erected along the south façade. On one of our regular building checks, we noticed that part of the ageing architecture needs securing and that has now happened. Whilst we hoped to undertake most of this work within the half-term holiday, the stone repairs proved more extensive than anticipated, and new stone can not be hurried! St Mark’s is a lovely old building, but does need a fair amount of care and maintenance, so thanks very much to all our neighbours and tenants for their forbearance; particularly the Acorns team and the Curtis Dance Academy and their members/users for their understanding and patience during this time.

Call for Trustees

We’re currently looking for more volunteers from the local Widcombe and user group communities who might be interested in becoming a trustee for the Community Centre. We meet every few months and share out a range of responsibilities, from finance to building care, publicity and legal queries. If you would like to know more – without any obligation – please contact Chris Jones at We are especially under-represented by dance class attendees/parents, and we’d love to have some new enthusiasts to join the team.

Our Next FilmNight – Sunday 28 February!


GREASE is the Word!

Sunday 28 February
St Mark’s Community Centre

Come and watch this classic movie with friends, family and neighbours…

Sing along to “You’re the One That I Want”, “Greased Lightning”, “Summer Nights” and all the other great tracks

Bring your own drinks to wash down the free popcorn

Get in the 50s groove by dressing up in period gear

Just £2 per person to cover costs

Doors open at 6.00pm, programme begins at 6.30pm

Don’t be Sandra Dee – just be there!

Wine Tasting Evening

Thursday 11th February at Ring O Bells Pub 7.30 pm 

Join us for an evening of wine tasting with food at our very own award winning gastropub Ring O Bells in Widcombe Parade. An apéritif will be followed by a 5 course taster menu of delicious food paired with carefully selected wines. (see menu below)

Price per head for food and wine £43.50

Payment can be made by to the Ring O Bells either by card in advance or on the night.

This should be a popular social event with limited availability, so if you think you might like to attend please Liz Hughes (no 4 St Mark’s Road) now to reserve your place. Please note: final numbers required by Monday the 8th of February.

Wine Tasting Menu 11th February 2016

Each course will be accompanied by a carefully selected wine

Apéritif Sparkling

Red mullet & Saffron soup with rouille

Black pudding & chorizo stew, poached quails egg

Pan roasted bream fillet, fumet braised leek, salsa romesco, shallot crisps

Choucroute Alsacienne; home fermented cabbage, smoked pork belly, pork tenderloin, garlic sausage, truffle pommes purée, grain mustard dressing

Crème caramel au raisin sec

Ring O Bells, 10 Widcombe Parade, Bath BA2 4JT, Phone 01225 448870

Your support for Beechen Cliff Local Green Space

We’ve been asked to share the email below:

A year ago, supported by over 400 people, by the local councillors for Lyncombe and Widcombe, and by several relevant organisations*, we submitted a proposal for the Council to designate the lower playing field at Beechen Cliff School a Local Green Space – a new classification where there is a presumption against development. The field makes a remarkable open space, a fantastic amenity for games and exercise on one of the few flatter areas in the neighbourhood, well used and valued by the local community, school youngsters and visitors. It’s also a key piece of the extensive green areas on this Bath hilltop, whose historical importance goes back to Jane Austen and beyond.

The Council have turned down our proposal – but apparently on a technical misunderstanding, thinking wrongly that a school site cannot be designated, and omitting it from the Placemaking Plan (now under consultation). We are objecting to this, and have asked our MP and councillors for Lyncombe and Widcombe to support us.  The field will only become a Local Green Space if it is in the Placemaking Plan, which will then go to public inquiry when a Government Inspector will make the decision.

Email the Council on (model letter attached, but do vary if you wish), urging that the Inspector set aside this part of the Plan and that the Beechen Cliff Local Green Space be designated (cc your councillor and opengreenspace).  Your email/letter must arrive with the Council by 5 pm on Wed 3 February.

Please forward this email to your friends and neighbours and encourage them to take part: we need all the support we can get!

*Supporting organisations: The Widcombe Association, the Bath Preservation Trust, the National Trust, the Bath branch of the Ramblers’ Association, the Federation of Bath Residents’ Associations, the Cotswolds Conservation Board (within whose setting the green space is situated) and the Somerset Playing Fields Association.

Email addresses you may need: (to respond formally to the consultation: be sure to include your name and address, which are needed for the response to be valid)

Ben Howlett (MP):

Jasper Becker (Cllr):

Michael Norton (Cllr):

Mark Shelford (Cllr):

Ian Gilchrist (Cllr):

Open Green Space:

I also attach below a copy of the main parts of last year’s application, so that you can see the case that we made to the Council.

M Dolan

Model Letter

Local Green Space Application

Update on Parking Services 7 January 2016

A message was emailed from Andy Dunn in Parking Services on January 7th which included the following:

I also owe you, the other residents of St Marks Road and Cllr Gilchrist an apology for the further delays regarding the outcome of the informal consultation regarding your ongoing parking issues.  I can confirm that I have reviewed the results today and will be drafting a response for approval within the next 10 days and this will then be circulated to all respondents.

As previously discussed, the results of this informal consultation will then feed into Traffic Regulation Order review work which will include Perrymead and Lyncombe Vale for formal consultation and which is being led by the Council’s Traffic Management team.  This is anticipated to be undertaken during the beginning of the new financial year.

Pinnacle Peril Leads to Pavement Closure

At the end of November, the St Marks Community Centre underwent a ‘quinquennial survey’ – that is an inspection of the building fabric that is scheduled to happen every five years. This survey identified that the building was generally in good shape, but that some of the decorative stone ‘pinnacles’ on the roof had deteriorated and showed signs of cracking. The trustees moved quickly to obtain quotes from stonemasons to undertake the necessary repair works, and in the course of these further specialist inspections, additional problems with some of the pinnacles on the south side of the building were identified. This led us to alert the Council to the potential risk, whilst the Centre proceeds with appointing a suitably qualified stonemason to undertake removal/necessary repairs. As a precaution, the Council have chosen to close the pavement immediately below the south façade, together with the adjacent parking bays. The centre aims to get the works done as quickly as possible, although this may necessitate listed buildings approval and the erection of a scaffold along the pavement in order to safely undertake the works.

Disabled Parking Bay St Mark’s Road

There is an advisory disabled bay situated at the very end of the suspended permit bays in St Marks Rd almost in the turning circle. This is used by a resident of no. 25 who is unable to walk more than 10 metres and is in possession of a blue badge.

After discussing with Building Control, the location of this bay is such that it is safe to allow vehicles to park here. To ensure that this remaining advisory disabled bay is available for this resident so that they can continue to remain mobile during this suspension the suspension signage will be modified to allow for this residents vehicle only to park in this location.

From Andrew Dunn
Team Manager – Parking Services
Environmental Services
Bath & North East Somerset Council

The future of our community groups

We recently sent out a mail to gauge opinion among residents as to the future organisation of our neighbourhood groups. Many thanks to all those of you who have taken the trouble to reply so far – more opinions welcome! We are posting this proposal on the website in case you missed the email.

As you know, we currently have two main neighbourhood groups in this part of Widcombe:

  1.  ARCH (Action for Calton & Holloway), which was set up in 2010 with a formal constitution and accounts
  2. An informal group in St Mark’s Road, including many of the residents who co-ordinated the Jubilee Street Party for the road.

In practice these two groups have worked increasingly closely together.We’ve jointly organised social events like the annual Community Christmas Lunch and summer barbeques, as well as occasional local history talks, walks, film nights and the like, donating proceeds from many of these events to charities. We’ve also provided joint community input to the running of the St Mark’s Community Centre and have worked together on some local issues. And recently we have even joined together our communications under the banner of “widcombewest” with a joint website at, which also includes the Lower Wells Road Group.

As a result of this closer working we’re now considering whether in constitutional terms it would make sense to make “widcombewest” the single representative resident group for the area. This would mean:

  • having the ability to offer a combined, legitimately representative voice on event planning and issues for the whole of the area under the widcombewest title
  • one set of elected officers – Chair, Secretary and Treasurer – drawn from all the participating areas (which, amongst other things, would hopefully make it easier to find sufficient people willing to take on these duties)
  • holding a single set of meetings for local people to share their views and ideas
  • maximising the time available to focus on events and issues by only needing to maintain one set of accounts etc.

In practice, therefore, we would have a joined-up group where all residents are able to represent their views and to work together for the greater good of the local community. At the same time none of this would prevent us still being able to have local reps looking after day-to-day matters in each of the Calton/Holloway, St Mark’s Road and Lower Wells Road areas when that is most appropriate.

We want to know what you think about this proposal. It’s your neighbourhood, so please have your say either by replying to this email or by speaking to Ruth (483106) or Keith (284598). Please also let us know if you have any thoughts and ideas on things that our local community could do in the future.

Widcombe Welcomes Christmas

A5 Christmas final HRnewFollowing the success of the Widcombe Parade Street Party in June, the Widcombe Welcomes Christmas social event will be held on Thursday December 3rd 6-8pm. Join us on Widcombe Parade for music and entertainment and lots of other goodies.

Performers include: The St Matts Band, Natural Young Peoples Company, the Widcombe Choir, The Bellini Girls and Bath Vintage Brass.

And don’t miss the Grand Christmas Raffle at 7.00pm. See you all there!

This event is organised by the Widcombe Association.

Widcombe Craft Fair

Saturday 21 November 10.30am-5.00pm

St Matthew’s, Widcombe, Bath BA2 6AA

WCF 2015 flier frontWidcombe’s Christmas Craft Fair is now in its 9th year and has a growing reputation for quality gifts by local artists. 40 stallholders take part, offering a wide range of work – a real opportunity to find that special present directly from the maker!
St Matthew’s is a prominent feature on the Widcombe’s skyline and can be seen from Widcombe Parade and only a few minute’s walk from central Bath.
Coffee, tea and cakes, or a light lunch are served. All funds raised  go towards St Matthew’s refurbishment.

Also featuring short performances by the Widcombe Choir on Saturday at 11.15 and 11.45am.


Both the Widcombe Craft Fair and the Widcombe Art Trail are organised by the Widcombe Association.

RHS ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ Award 2015

On the evening of Thursday October 22nd ARCH Chairs Sylvia and Stewart attended the award ceremony of the RHS Britain in Bloom ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ (IYN) scheme. This national campaign is an inclusive, non-competitive scheme that promotes volunteer groups making their neighbourhoods cleaner, greener and safer to live in, all working with the local community for the benefit of the community.

IYN 2015 certificate

IYN 2015 certificate

The activities of ARCH supporters during 2014-15 were assessed by Barry Cruse, the retiring chairman of the ‘Bath in Bloom’ Committee, in terms of Community Participation, Environmental Responsibility and Gardening Achievement (see Assessment Form).

Last year, the first year of our entering the scheme under the ‘Beechen Bees’ banner, we were delighted to gain a level 4 award of ‘Thriving’.

This year, our range of activities and community involvement surpassed all our expectations and resulted in ‘More Beechen Bees’ being awarded the highest level score of ‘Outstanding’.

Our award was presented by the Mayor of Bath, Cllr. Will Sandry, in the relaxed atmosphere of the Restaurant in the Park, where all the Bath participating groups had assembled.

The residents of Bath owe a huge debt of gratitude to Barry Cruse and his wife Carol for their work over the years improving and promoting the beauty and attractiveness of Bath.

For details of the judging criteria and information about other groups and their achievements in this year’s competition, click here: IYN assessment criteria for 2015