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The battle for Bath & North East Somerset

Bath and North East Somerset Council is a unitary authority with a minority Conservative administration and all the seats up for election on May 5. Given that when last contested in 2007 the Conservatives had 13% lead over Labour in the results nationally that implies heavy losses. However in this council the main opposition  coems from the Lib Dems (with 27 Council seats) not Labour (just five).

Last October the Conservatives were boosted by a defection from the Lib Dems. If the Conservatives win the elections they will propose a reduction in the number of councillors by a fifth. This will reflect the apporach they have made in reducing the number of senior managers. Volunteering is being encouraged to help promote tourism (despite predictable opposition from the unions.) The Council has found savings without hitting frontline services

One local controversy involves the Council's proposed closureof Culverhay School. It has a large number of surplus places. Just 42 Year & pupils started last September although there were 102 places. But any plan to close a school is unpopular with the parents who send their children to it. The school is proposing to switch from being a boys school to going co-ed and to seek the chance to continue as a Free School. I suppose they would need to convince the Government that would be able to turn the school around. It is not viable to have a school more than half empty.



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