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Monday, 21 January 2019

Dary's change of use application

We are concerned that the applicant's plans do not incorporate areas to store and aid the collection of waste. The area already has considerable issues with badly managed collections of trade waste being stored on the street in both approved and unapproved locations. Rodents are regularly observed in the area.

This change of use increases both the amount and changes the nature, i.e. an increase in organic material, of the waste created by this business.

We believe it is unacceptable that no provision is being made to manage this.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Response to The Lilliput Court Cafe licencing application


We note that these premises are in the cumulative impact zone.



The premises are in a old building with all the sound proofing and sound transmission issues are created by Georgian building construction standards and techniques. Residents regularly report that the applicants have failed to address this challenge either through proper sound proofing or through proper management practices designed to reduce noise nuisance. Consequently all residents but particularly those directly above them, frequently report unacceptable noise in their premises.



These premises are very close to residential premises particularly the courtyard which is a source of both noise and smoke. One resident has windows less than 20 metres from the door from the courtyard to the interior. The design and construction of Lilliput Courtyard retains the noise generated by conversations and projects it upwards.



The proposed extension to hours in this application would considerably increase the already unsatisfactory levels of noise nuisance to which residents are currently subjected in an area which has already  been impacted by a failure to meet the spirit if not the letter of the cumulative impact policy.



We therefore call on the committee to reject this application.



However, if the committee is minded to grant the application we would ask for additional conditions to be imposed as follows.



  • All outdoor areas to be cleared within 15 minutes of closing
  • No noise generated from the premises to be audible at the nearest noise sensitive premises
  • Noise limiters to be fitted to all amplification systems set to levels agreed with environmental health.

Friday, 21 December 2018

City Centre clean air put on indefinite hold

Once again BANES have let down the majority of city centre residents in the face of noisy protests by self-interested minorities.

This time they have decided to effectively abandon measures that would have urgently addressed the scandal of Bath city centre residents being poisoned and having their health irreparably damaged.

Bath politicians, in general, have played politics with residents health and well being by simply using the issue as a series of sticks to beat the current Tory administration ahead of the election.

Our MP has largely sat on her hands on this issue and contented herself with organising talking shops which seem to have more to do with her personal promotion than any attempt to drive action. If conferences, working parties and brainstorming would address the problem Bath would already have the cleanest air in Europe!

The organisation that repeatedly claims, with little justification, to speak for Bath residents, namely FOBRA, has done its best to frustrate the CAZ in pursuit of its own amateur efforts at devising a "better" plan than that recommended by BANES officers and their highly qualified consultants.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Could a tourist tax fix Bath's dire public realm?


The Public Realm and Movement Strategy was created at considerable expense to improve the quality of environmental design and management, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists, on city centre streets.
This strategy was generally well received and made a promising start but seems to have run out of money and political support.
In consequence, our city centre still fails to meet standards which are commonplace among European peer cities and well short of what one would expect from one of the few cities in the world to have been awarded World Heritage Status.
Why has this been allowed to happen?
What is the Council proposing to do to stop further deterioration? Is the plan to simply hope that developers and the BID's piecemeal efforts will fill the gap. 

We are calling on BANES to develop a proper strategy and fund it by the sort of tourist tax which is becoming standard in most of the major destination cities of Europe.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

TARA’s official response to the CAZ consultation


For years now politicians of all stamps have done little or nothing to stop people in Bath being poisoned. Now that we finally have a well-researched plan it is really important that our local politicians don’t play politics with it but implement it and that it does not become hopelessly diluted by giving in to special pleading.

The plan has been consulted on for months now and certainly, all politicians and major pressure groups have had many months to make points and raise concerns and suggestions. It is a complex issue and there will always be room for disagreement about details such as boundaries, business impact and the need for exceptions and mitigations to protect the vulnerable but those have been extensively debated and the plan has undoubtedly evolved in response. However, too often in BANES perfect is made the enemy of good to serve political ends and we are concerned that this does not happen here,

Finally, we would ask everyone to remember that this project is, and should be, about reducing pollution sooner rather than later it is not about traffic management or congestion. This is particularly important when discussing the charging regime which is still too often referred to as a congestion charge rather than what it is a levy on polluting vehicles.

If people can make a good case for making the zone bigger and it will not delay the implementation of the CAZ it should be made bigger. A good candidate might be Pulteney Street.

The damage to peoples’ health in the city and incidentally to the historic buildings on which a substantial part of our economic prosperity depends, is substantial and has been allowed to go on for far too long. Fixing this problem should be BANES’s top priority. Charging people a substantial amount of money to bring high emission vehicles into Bath is the only viable way to remedy this with the urgency it deserves. It will incidentally have the minimum impact on commercial activity in the city of any of the proposed more complicated solutions. Our only concern is whether the proposed charge is high enough.

We would support and advocate a number of measures to mitigate the impact on individuals and companies in the short term:

·       Extended opening hours at the park and ride

·       Overnight secure parking at the park and ride

·       Financial support for residents and local businesses within the zone to upgrade from non-compliant cars

·       Financial support for local businesses within the zone  to upgrade from non-compliant commercial vehicles



Longer term we would support and advocate:

·       Public transport improvements on key routes into the city and within the zone

·       Smaller park and ride sites along existing bus routes

·       Support for local HGV owners to retrofit Euro 4 and 5 diesel vehicles

·       An eastern park and ride

·       An A36 A46 link

Friday, 2 November 2018

The CAZ


For years now politicians of all stamps have done little or nothing to stop people in Bath being poisoned. Now that we finally have a well-researched plan it is really important that our local politicians don’t play politics with it but implement it.
The plan has been consulted on for months now and certainly, all politicians and major pressure groups have had many months to make points and raise concerns and suggestions. It is a complex issue and there will always be room for disagreement about issues such as boundaries, business impact and the need for exceptions and mitigations to protect the vulnerable but those have been extensively debated and the plan has undoubtedly evolved in response. However, too often in BANES perfect is made the enemy of good to serve political ends and we are concerned that this does not happen here,
No of the main political parties can claim credit for the progress now being made all of them have effectively ignored this issue until the courts intervened. That why we now need action.

Finally, we would ask everyone to remember that this project is about reducing pollution sooner rather than later it is not about traffic management or congestion. This is particularly important when discussing the charging regime which is still too often referred to as a congestion charge rather than what it is a levy on polluting vehicles.

If your vehicle has low emissions you will not pay.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

BANES officers acting without proper process

We have seen two worrying example of BANES officers ignoring or circumventing licencing procedures and effectively denying residents the right to have their views heard and properly considered.

Highways officers have approved the obstruction of the pavement on George Street without using the licencing procedures which would have given residents and local businesses the right to have the concerns heard. More concerning still it took the use of the Freedom of Information Act to get them to tell us and elected members what they had done.

A recent application for a street trading licence was granted by officers before the end of the statutory consultation period. This caused considerable stress to the applicant and put the licensing committee in the invidious position of risking looking as if a decision to grant was influenced more by the need to mitigate the distress caused than the merits of the application or the objections before them.

These examples are concerning in their own right but lead us to worry whether how many examples have remained undiscovered and what this all says about officers attitudes to democratic accountability.