Campaigning for the positive and sustainable development of Radstock

What's next 4 Radstock?

Radstock Action Group is planning a series of events around the regeneration and future of the town and is inviting groups and individuals to get involved. To get ideas flowing, each event will feature one or more guest speakers who will talk about their own successes in regenerating their towns, covering aspects of regeneration which are 'in the frame' for Radstock.

These events will be on Saturdays.

Event No.4: Saturday 21 January 2012 - Save the Victoria Hall

This event has now taken place.

News from the Event

Saving the Victoria Hall event opened by two experts on Historic Buildings

On Saturday 21 January, 35+ people took part in Radstock Action Group's day of discussions on the topic of Saving the Victoria Hall. Ian Lund, B&NES Historic Environment Team leader and Varian Tye, B&NES Senior Conservation Officer opened the event, with a presentation entitled Uncertain Times for a Heritage Asset. Their detailed, exceptionally informative, professional look at central issues related to caring for and safeguarding precious buildings set the tone for a wide ranging discussion and we were very pleased that they were able to stay for much of the day to contribute to the ongoing debate.

Variety of speakers set the scene for lively debate

Cllr Eleanor Jackson gave an overview of how earlier plans to safeguard the Victoria Hall had been put together and what had happened since people last gathered to discuss the future of this key civic building. She was followed by Chris Dando, the deputy chair of Radstock Town Council, who made lots of positive suggestions about ways of moving forward in the search for an acceptable solution to the problems faced. RAG Secretary, Amanda Leon, presented examples of how other local communities were in the process of breathing new life into precious old buildings with civic roles and then people got down in earnest to discussing the next steps.

Everyone determined that the Victoria Hall will carry on functioning as a community resource

The dominant issue was how to stop the hall being boarded up and neglected when Radstock Town Council moves out at the end of February. Everyone was agreed that the current users of the hall should be enabled to continue their activities and that there was a need to encourage others. At the very end of the meeting, an interim Management Group was created. It will be meeting this week, under the acting chairmanship of Rupert Bevan, to plan the next steps and put activities on a more formal footing.

The meeting also welcomed local MP Jacob Rees-Mogg who took time out from his Saturday schedule to drop into the event, catch up on the lively debate and pledge his support for efforts to save the Victoria Hall for the community.

People who couldn't make it on Saturday can still get involved - everyone will get a chance to take part in looking after the Victoria Hall and making it a landmark building to be even more proud of.

Saving the Victoria Hall is the first 2012 event in Radstock Action Group's series 'What's next for Radstock?'

Radstock Action Group wants to see the Victoria Hall continue as a community building. But before the future of the Hall can be guaranteed a lot of work has to be done on the building and on discussing the best uses for the Hall as it falls vacant when Radstock Town council finally leaves at the end of February.

A civic building with a proud history

The Victoria Hall was given to the town of Radstock and has witnessed the industrial history and social and economic development of the town since Victorian times. It is now in urgent need of our support and attention. Radstock Action Group wants to ensure that it can play an equally positive part in the town's future and believes that it is important that it remains the major community facility that it has always been.

The town needs a top quality community venue

Already people have been making suggestions about the sort of roles the hall could have in a regenerated Radstock: accommodation for a tourist and information office; a café; properly equipped meeting spaces for groups and businesses; a venue for weddings, parties and other big celebrations; library; snooker facilities; a place to show films; classes; a place to exhibit art; office spaces with state of the art IT resources - the list is amazingly varied and exciting. And with proper building restoration and possible extension, it is likely that all of these activities could be a part of the renewal of this, the key civic building in the town.

Getting involved, joining the discussions

The day will include speakers and discussion groups and will be the chance for more people to get involved in all aspects of saving the Victoria Hall. Time is short and rumours continue to fly around Radstock. The day will provide a chance for everyone who thinks that the hall is worth saving for the community. It was originally given to the community and provides the only major civic building in the town.

Click here to download the programme (81Kb pdf)


B&NES has long known that Radstock Action Group, amongst many others, wishes to see the Victoria Hall put to positive use for the community. You will find a note of our attempts to promote a dialogue with them at the end of this document.

Click here to download the document (87Kb pdf)

Event No.3: Saturday 9 July 2011 - Radstock Works

This event has now taken place.

Radstock Economic Profile - a presentation by Duncan Kerr, BANES

Click here to download the document (3.5Mb pdf)

Radstock Action Group's RADSTOCK WORKS will kick off at ten o'clock on Saturday 9 July at the Working Men's Club with an opening welcome from local MP Jacob Rees-Mogg. He will be followed by a range of speakers who will set the ball rolling for what promises to be a busy day of debate about identifying priorities for the future of the town, particularly how we can encourage more jobs and businesses - this in the absence of the Masterplan which had been promised by BANES about two years ago and which they have failed to produce.

We believe there’s no better way to plan than by hearing hard facts and figures, the experiences of other community groups and places with similar issues, and those who are already talking about how to get jobs and business growing in the town. But jobs and business do not come without proper housing, transport infrastructure and the creation of a positive environment in which to live and work.

In addition to speakers from Paulton, Shepton Mallet and Radstock Small Business Focus, we look forward to meeting Duncan Kerr, BANES' newly appointed Principal Economy, Enterprise & Business Officer, who has been busily researching the latest facts and figures on the state of business and employment in the town. But the main emphasis of the day is on getting everyone involved in discussions on how we move forward and what the major priorities are.

This is the third in RAG's series, 'What's Next for Radstock?' - the first two aired major ideas on key issues, now the time is ripe to look at how we can get some action on regeneration. We have also scheduled in as a last minute addition at the end of the event, a quick update on the road situation.

Download Introduction (78Kb pdf) | Download Programme (51Kb pdf)

Brief Notes on Some of the Speakers (31Kb pdf)

Event No.2: Saturday 5 March 2011 - Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

This event has now taken place.

Lively and productive day at Radstock Action Group's Energy and Environment Event leads to new ideas for action and working together

Radstock Action Group's second event in their series 'What's Next for Radstock?' looked at the two issues of renewable energy and natural environment.

Over 30 people attended the event at the Working Men's Club on March 5. It was great to welcome people from a range of places, and not just Radstock. These included Bathampton, Bristol, Camerton, Frome, Midsomer Norton, Peasdown St John, Trowbridge and Wells. We were treated to a series of informative and encouraging talks from the Centre for Sustainable Energy, The Converging World, BANES Sustainability, Cam Valley Wildlife Group, Camerton Batch Group and Buglife.

A businesslike day soon got cracking with everyone getting involved, sharing experiences and making links with other similarly-minded people from all round the area. The speakers all fielded detailed questions both during their presentations and during the brief intervals. There quite simply wasn't enough time.

The question of sustainable energy was introduced by Simon Lewin who got everyone talking around the CSE model which illustrates the range of options open to any settlement seeking to improve their carbon reduction credentials. This was followed by more practical information and suggestions from Matt Wood (The Converging World) and Kathy Tate (BANES' Community Sustainability Officer).

People were able to get links to organizations and programmes which support efforts both locally and globally to reduce carbon emissions. Hopefully, the wide geographical representation will enable us to talk, in the future, in a more joined up way about combining initiatives.

In the afternoon session, Deborah Porter (CVWG) talked about the challenges, riches and diversity of wildlife on brownfield sites, Tony Fry introduced us to the amazing efforts of local people which have resulted in Camerton Batch being a wildlife haven and much more, and finally, Sue Walton, from Buglife, spoke about campaigning to protect biodiversity and encouraged everyone to value and campaign for the protection of the very valuable species which inhabit the Radstock rail land.

The message was loud and clear – people can get involved in many ways, and there are many small actions and activities which anyone can participate in and make a difference. You don’t have to be an expert and you can seek help and advice from the real experts like our speakers on the day.

Radstock Action Group is looking forward to using this expertise and the ideas shared on the day. Links to all the organisations can be found on our website in the section dealing with March 5:

March 5 Event Poster

Following on from our very successful event in November, Radstock Action Group is please to announce that the next event in this series will concentrate on:

  • Energy, including the possibility of Radstock being part of an energy action area to promote sustainable energy and zero carbon targets
  • The environment paying particular attention to the wealth of the local natural environment, how brownfield sites, which abound in Radstock, can be amongst the most important for wildlife, offering unique and positive habitats and looking at how these natural assets can be used to enhance the lives of people living and working in Radstock as well as contributing to the growth of tourism which is a key aspect of the town's future.

This event has now taken place.

Radstock Action Group's event on March 5 is shaping up to be a really good day, with excellent speakers and plenty of opportunities to find out how individuals and organisations can get involved in championing renewable energy and looking after the natural environment.

Click here to download the introduction (195Kb pdf) | Click here to download the programme (125Kb pdf)

Simon Lewin of The Centre for Sustainable Energy will talk us through the whole picture using the Centre's brilliant model showing how the different systems work. Lots of time for questions and discussions.

Deborah Porter of Cam Valley Wildlife Group introduces the wildlife and biodiversity of the area and current conservation activities.

Kathy Tate will tell us how BANES can help (

Sue M. Walton of Buglife, will talk about the importance of Brownfield Habitats for invertebrates, and why they are under threat. Plus interesting 'bugs' on Radstock Railway line and ways of protecting them.

Matt Wood from The Converging World will be highlighting practical steps which communities and individuals can take to become more sustainable.

But this is not just an event for Radstock. We are hoping that people from all over the Somer Valley will attend and that the day will contribute to the declared aim of the Somer Valley becoming a Renewable Energy Action Area (as proposed in the Draft Core Strategy).

You may already be convinced that as Climate Change is with us, we need to take action, or perhaps you don't know where to start, or maybe you're an out and out sceptic. Whatever your views you are welcome and we know that you'll find lots to get you thinking.

The focus will then shift to the Environment and we'll be looking at the biodiversity and special aspects of brown field sites and other areas in Radstock which contribute to a complex and positive ecology in the town. And how we can safeguard it.

Also at the event:

  • Lots of displays
  • Refreshments
  • Opportunities to meet new people and find out about organisations that you might like to get involved in

The event is free, but we will be nudging everyone to contribute to the costs of organisating the day, if possible.

Participants will have plenty of opportunities to ask questions and comment.

Anyone wishing to put up a display can contact RAG via the website.

Event No.1: Saturday 6 November - What people said on the Post-It notes

RAG should form a committee to co-ordinate railway reinstatement ideas.

I think we will have this same meeting in another ten years time – as there seems to be no moving on in any of the agenda concerns.

Look at our strengths:

  • Built
  • Personal
  • Heritage
  • History

Work with them. Use experience from the past to benefit the present and both for development of the future.

Small projects first to gain confidence and credibility; ie. Landowners/volunteers to bring some buildings into use.

Identity – Who is Radstock or what is Radstock? Maximize what you have – heritage. Look for existing good practice eg. Martock - Twin with Martock?

RAG needs to make itself a more publicly prominent organization and become more representative of majority views.

Need to pull together local groups etc or start finding funding and manpower to canvas and develop local plan, possibly as per Martock.

Wider community consultation and involvement > identity> community planning > strong vision > identity

Radstock Future:

  • Establish own identity
  • Set up volunteer working party to secure Victoria Hall
  • Stop diversion of Frome Road and limit number of houses
  • Long term plans for railway

Identity – What is Radstock? Iron Age Settlement; Mining Community; Railway > conservation/volunteers, cycle track

New Council – needs councillors with real skills that are useful to the future of Radstock district; needs equal representation from each area – equal men and women too; needs to promote zero tolerance to domestic violence and child abuse.

Radstock needs to be called Radstock District Council and have inclusive imagery and promotional information

Tourist potential – Iron Age settlement, geology, nature conservation, industrial heritage, cycle paths, heritage railway.

We have lived here since 1985 and I am sure that more people will be interested when they can see something actually happening!!

There has been talk on extending Somerset and Dorset from Midsomer Norton to Radstock via a bridge over Silver Street. Any comments on this?

Event No.1: Saturday 6 November - A preliminary report

Between 55 and 60 people participated in 'What's Next For Radstock?' organised by Radstock Action Group at the Working Men's Club last Saturday. It turned out to be a lively and positive day.

First to speak was Roger Powell, chair of Martock Parish Council, who gave a vivid and detailed account of how the people of Martock took the initiative and constructed a plan for the whole town – a plan which is still being acted on and developed. He focussed on how they had transformed the Market House from a dilapidated old building to a vibrant information centre with a beautifully refurbished council chamber which is in great demand as a venue for meetings and other gatherings. Supporters of Radstock Youth Club, currently under threat from local cuts, were particularly interested in Roger’s account of how, not only had they saved their youth services, but they’d enhanced them by working alongside young people and the general public.

The second part of the event concentrated on the reinstatement of the rail link between Radstock and Frome. Bernard Lane, chair of Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways, outlined the ways that local network connections can be grown and must be protected. Graham Ellis of the Trans Wiltshire Community Rail Partnership and Melksham Chamber of Commerce, underlined the need for detailed planning and determination. They were then joined by Olly Wise, First Great Western, and David Redgewell, South West Transport Network for a panel discussion. There was even a film featuring a poem celebrating a local railway service.

Against the background of displays about local organisations, continuous showing of the Museum and RAG Community Chroniclers films, and a slide show on the biodiversity of brown field sites, people took advantage of the intervals to browse and ‘network’, sustained by tea, coffee and sandwiches.

The message from the day? If you want to do something, get on with it as no-one will do it for you, identify your aims, communicate them clearly to everyone, assemble maximum supporting evidence, work with all the groups who share some or all of your interests, listen to what the community wants, persevere and expect to have to work hard. RAG will now be putting the discussions into context and encouraging people to get involved.

A big thank you to everyone who made the day such a success, in particular:

  • Radstock Working Men's Club for their welcome, their hospitality and their flexibility
  • Our guest speakers
  • Organisations who brought their displays
  • Cottles for delicious sandwiches
  • Radstock traders who displayed posters and leaflets
  • Linda Marson of Virtual Tapestry for, as always, constantly managing and updating our website and making everything clear
  • People who distributed leaflets round the households of Radstock
  • Radstock Methodist Church for being our home base
  • St Nicholas Church for the loan of a projector
  • All our supporters for their encouragement and enthusiasm
  • Everyone who contributed to the collection which raised just over £100

The second event in this series is on Saturday 5 March and will concentrate on Energy, Sustainability and the Environment.

Can you help?
Would you like to put up a display?
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