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Monday, 22 February 2010

King Edward's School planning application

TARA, some of whose members attended King Edward School, would like to see this important building restored and and brought into productive use. However, with alcohol-fuelled disorder and noise, with littering, public vomiting and urination particularly on weekend nights still among our members principal concerns we would wish to see sufficient safeguards built into any consent to ensure that the applicant can be held to his undertaking to create a high class 'boutique hotel' in the centre of our city and not another large scale stand-up drinking venue of the kind that has been so damaging to the city centre in the past.

The applicant seeks a C1 (hotel) consent. It seems inconceivable to us, once the costs of restoration are taken into account, that the applicant could operate a viable business with so limited a number of rooms and that, consequently, substantial support will be required from non-resident use of the bar and dining facilities on the ground floor. It is our understanding that so long as rooms are on offer to the public the requirements of a C1 consent will be satisfied. We have calculated, however, that if furniture indicated on plans were to be excluded from the dining, bar and 'parlour' facilities on the ground floor, and the bar enlarged, from 300 to 400 additional drinkers could be accommodated in the building. This has the potential to be a disaster for an area of the city already overloaded with drinkers at weekends.

The applicant does make reference to the effect of the proposed change of use on existing residential amenity, citing inter alia BaNES Local Plan Policy D2 Para 6.3 (f)and acknowledges that there are people living in the immediate area. It is important to remember, however, that a premises offering alcohol for sale to the public can seriously harm the amenity not only of local residents but all those living in and visiting a much wider area.

We ask that if consent is granted conditions such as the following be attached to ensure that the applicant's stated intentions are realised

1. Substantial food shall be available to order from 12.00 noon each day until 22.00 hours Monday to Saturday and 21.30 hours on Sunday.
2. Alcohol shall be cleared away from consumption areas (with the exception of bedrooms/suites) by 23.30 hours Monday to Saturday and 23.00 hours on Sunday.
3. There shall be seating provided at all times for not less than 28 persons in the area marked 'bar' on the plans, not less than 60 persons in the area marked 'dining lounge' on the plans, not less than 8 in the area marked 'front parlour' (north) and not less than 12 in the area marked 'front parlour' (south) on the plans, and the courtyard area at the rear shall be predominantly seating.
4. There shall be only one bar servery, as shown on the plans, and this bar servery shall not be increased in size.
5. The Broad Street terraces shall not be used for the sale or consumption of alcohol or for smoking.
6. Consumption of alcohol in the rear courtyard area shall cease at 22.00 nightly.

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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

King Edward's School

A new attempt is being made to win planning permission for the conversion of the derelict King Edwards school in Broad Street into a hotel and bar.

TARA want to see this historic building being used once again and secured from the risk of further deterioration.

We have been reassured by previous discussions over the conditions likely to be imposed on any planning permission and licensing agreement relating to this important building.

We therefore support this project going ahead in principle; but will be closely monitoring the progress of the planning and licensing applications to ensure that the safegaurds discussed and promised previously are put in place in practice.

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Monday, 8 February 2010

Noise nuisance and the night time economy

Noise from late night drinking establishments in the City is regular cause of complains by both residents and visitors.

This noise nuisance derives from 3 main sources

1. People entering and leaving premises
2. People standing around outside premises
3. Music blaring from premises

People entering and leaving cause noise because:

• They are often in a noisy and boisterous mood and door staff do little to make them be quite
• The constant opening and shutting of the door lets the sound of music inside the building out onto the street and not infrequently on busy nights doors have been propped open; often in breach of licensing conditions

People stand around outside premises:
• To smoke
• To chat away from the noise inside the premises
• To get fresh air
• Because the have been refused entry or made to queue for entry

Door staffs rarely act to make these crowds of people behave and sometimes even add to the noise themselves. Police rarely intervene in these situations unless there is violence and sometimes not even then.

Music blares from premises:
• Because the music is too loud
• Because the type of music has being played has a heavy base line which transmits through and is amplified by the structure
• Because the doors are not kept shut

Most licensed premises have noise limiters fitted by environmental protection but walking the streets of Bath in the early hours provides evidence that limiters are ineffective. However, there is rarely anyone from the enforcement authorities out on the streets collecting this evidence.

TARA believes there is a need for the enforcement agencies to be much more proactive in all these areas to impact the noise issues associated nightclubs and late licensed bars.

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