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Friday, 25 September 2009

Trial of Portable Toilets

There is to be a 12 week trial of portable toilets in Orange Grove on three days a week between 10pm and 3pm. The trial has the support of the police who argue that it is difficult to take effective enforcement action against street urination where there are so few public conveniences. The scheme also has the support of Fobra who are anxious see the council addressing the issue of public urination. The choice of location was, as we understand it, dictated by the need for the loos to be sited centrally and the need for some supervision which in Orange Grove can be provided by the late night taxi wardens.

TARA have a view that while the trial has value there is real concern that it will be unsuccessful as research has show we have now created a culture where vomiting and urinating in public carries little or no stigma among young late night drinkers and that they will urinate where it is most convenient for them; indeed you can see people leave licensed premises to urinate on the street before returning to the pub or club rather than queue for the pub toilet.

There is a need to create better permanent public facilities and reinstate some of the one that were closed and we will continue to lobby accordingly. There is however in addition an urgent need to counter the culture of public urination by a mixture of education about the damage and distress it causes and a much tougher enforcement regime.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Recent Developments at North Parade

Many of you will know that the OPA nightclub applied for a licence variation that would have enabled it the sell alcohol on a parcel of land it was planning to lease from BaNES in Parade Gardens. The applicant sought to argue that such a variation would reduce nuisance to neighbours by cutting back on the need for customers to gather at the club entrance.

TARA and a number of local residents objected to this proposal on the grounds that it would merely add a further source of night time disturbance to residents. On July 29th the Licensing Panel accepted these arguments and rejected the application.

An appeal by the owner of the Penny Lane party boat against conditions imposed by the Licensing Panel was heard by Bath magistrates on August 26th. TARA had provided written evidence to the court and offered to assist the defendant, Bath and North East Somerset District Council, with verbal evidence at the appeal hearing but in the event this was not necessary as the appellant elected not to dispute any of the evidence provided by the defendant and his witnesses.

The magistrates decided to tighten conditions relating to the closure of doors and windows, the loading and unloading of the vessel and the posting of signs requiring the operator to have regard to the needs of local residents. The ban on the playing of music outside the vessel after 22.00 when it is east of Churchill Bridge was replaced by a condition requiring that no music be played outside the vessel in any location after 22.30 each day.

In our view the magistrates afforded local residents at least the same or better protection than had been proposed by the Licensing Panel. It will be important, however, for residents to continue to monitor the operation of this vessel and its adherence to licence conditions.

Given time limits imposed previously by the Licensing Panel on the use of the riverside terraces, and assuming that the OPA owner is in compliance with these conditions, night time disturbances from this area should have been largely eliminated.

This leaves noise and disturbance caused by smokers and arriving and departing customers at the club entrance. We intend to call a meeting of residents in the next few weeks to review this and other issues of concern to see what further action needs to be taken. In the meantime resident should continue to monitor and log nuisances and disturbances in their area from whatever source.