Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Alcohol licence application Bath Fish And Chip Company Limited

We object to this licence being granted as we believe in its present for it will add to public nuisance and disorder.

These premises are in a very sensitive location at the epicentre of the cumulative impact zone of night-time economy; close to other licensed premises and a taxi rank and on the route from the clubs and pubs in the north of the city to trains, taxis and buses.
We have little objection to a restaurant in this location serving alcohol to customers sitting down and eating substantial meals.

However, given its location and the well established connection between pre-loading and public nuisance as well as the potential for already intoxicated persons getting access to further alcohol bought by members of their group at off sales premises we have considerable concern about a licence which allows off sales or even on-site sales not as part of a substantial meal.

The committee and licensing officers will be well aware of the disorder associated with other fast food takeaway premises in the city centre.

If the Licensing Authority is minded to grant this licence we would ask the conditions be added requiring alcohol only be served as part of a substantial meal.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Policing Bath: what should the priorities be?

We would like to see more resources given to policing the city centre.

However, we are concerned with the nature of the debate which is now taking place.

Firstly, the fear of crime still remains a greater problem than actual crime. The fear of crime has both economic and socially damaging effects on our community. The way in which the current debate is being conducted is in our view increasing the fear of crime.

Secondly, we need a much more serious debate about where any additional resources released by central government should be spent.

The main focus to-date has centred upon providing a new police station but should this really be the priority?

We would like to see more and better-equipped officers. While we wait for these to be provided better CCTV coverage is key to ensuring limited resources are effectively deployed to combat on-street crime and disorder.

However, what is really likely to make the biggest difference is proper investment in mental health and substance misuse services and programmes to tackle the mental illness issues which are the root cause of most crime and anti-social behaviour.

Indeed proper investment in mental health services would in itself free up police resources as the current poor provision in this area too often means that police become the default service responding to mental health crises for which they are ill equipt and ill-trained.

It is very important to residents that this debate is properly conducted and does not become just another political football.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

The Assembly Rooms

The press release from the National Trust about their plans for the Assembly Rooms raises a number of concerns.

They appear, on the face of it,  to be proposing to deprive residents of a well used and well-loved community asset and endanger the future of one of Bath's most important museum collections in order to create a sort of theme park attraction to be a cash cow for other National Trust properties.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Clean Air still not a priority

For many years we have been campaigning for a plan of action to address the scandal of high levels of pollution poisoning residents of, visitors and workers in the city centre. 

We were pleased when central government funding became available to create a clean air zone and actively participated in the discussions with officers and their specialist advisors in designing the best way to implement it. During the consultation that followed, we actively campaigned that the officers’ carefully consider recommendations should be implemented. 

Unfortunately, the CAZ became a political football where the voting intentions of North East Somerset took precedence over swift and effective action to stop city centre residents’ health being damaged. It also meant that the decision date was pushed back so close to the elections as to jeopardise the implementation of even the suboptimal proposal.

We now face the prospect of further delays and uncertainty as the new council plan to "have the evidence re-examined". 

How many people will have their health permanently damaged while politicians debate whether or not to take decisive action and will the central government funding still be available when they finally decide? 

Charging people £9 to bring highly polluting vehicles into the city we know will make a difference faster than anything else yet proposed so let's get on and do it and start saving lives.

Friday, 12 April 2019

The management of the streetscape

We are concerned about the management of the streetscape and in particular:

  • The management of cycling and cyclists in the city centre
  • What is going to replace the Public Realm and Movement Strategy which was designed to bring public infrastructure in the city centre up to international norms and appears to have been abandoned?
  • Pavement parking
  • The unregulated use of car and cycle parking bays by motorcyclists

Sunday, 7 April 2019

The Policing Debate

We continue to lobby for more resources to be given to policing the city centre. 

However, we are concerned about the nature of the debate which is now taking place. 

Firstly, the fear of crime still remains a greater problem than actual crime. The way in which the current debate is being conducted is in our view increasing the fear of crime. 

Secondly, we need a much more serious debate about where any additional resources should be spent. For instance, not just creating a new police station but spending on having more and or better-equipped officers, more CCTV coverage or perhaps properly funded programmes to tackle the drug dependence and mental illness that drives much of the theft and anti-social behaviour. 

It is very important to residents that this debate is properly conducted and does not become just another political football.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Formal Complaint to Banes

This complaint is about the Highways department and concerns two issues.
  1. Failure to respond to a written enquiry

The relevant BANES policy is:
“We will:
Respond to all written enquiries within 10 working days. This means either:
A full response to your enquiry, or;
If we need to take longer to give a fuller response, we’ll tell you why and what the next steps are, or;
Your emails or web-based requests to our team in-boxes are automatically acknowledged where possible and provide information about next steps
Write clearly and concisely, so that information is easy to read and understand
Include a named contact person and phone numbers in our correspondence”
  1. Failure to deal with a highways obstruction

The relevant BANES policy, which we understand is mandated by legislation, is:
“Encroachment of the Highway  
Any obstruction on the public highway must be appropriately licenced by Bath & North East Somerset Council. Any unlicensed obstruction is an encroachment of the highway and should be reported to Council Connect for Highway Inspection.”

I and my residents’ association have been complaining about the trade waste dump on a pavement in George Street for some years. The dump is located next to at a very busy junction which is crossed daily at all time of the day or night by large numbers of pedestrians who are often forced into the traffic flow.  The dump is often hit by passing HGV’s and buses.
The dump is located close to both residential and business premises and is poorly maintained and causes a number of environmental problems. Local businesses have also complained both to BANES and the BID on numerous occasions and we have had a number meetings in an attempt to resolve issues.
In February of 2018 I on behalf of local residents, the MD of Moles on behalf of local businesses and our ward councillor Peter Turner sent a letter to the highways department in an attempt to clarify the legal status of the dump. I have written on my own behalf a couple of years before but received no reply.
We had had no reply by the summer so we approached the cabinet member responsible for highways who sent two emails about a month apart to Highways requesting a response to our letter.
Since by August we had still not had a response from Highways I submitted an FOI request. This request was responded to in the required legal timescales with a two-word response on a copy of my request.
This response uncovered the fact that the dump was unlicensed and that Highways knew that it was and allowed it to continue to block the Highway without consulting neighbouring premises and without the required license. From the Bid, we have learned that this was a result of discussions they had had with Highways.

It is worthy of note that we have still not received a reply to our original letter.