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Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Police Resources and Visibility Working Group

TARA will be chairing a new working group focussed on city centre policing consisting of senior and frontline police officers and representatives of nearby residents associations and students. The terms of reference for the group are:

1. Make practical recommendations aimed at improving the effectiveness of policing in the centre of the city

2. Make practical recommendations as to how the police and other agencies can work together to improve the experience of people using the city centre

3. Support the development of a vision for the management of the night time environment in Bath which can be used to guide future planning

4. Suggest ways of improving public understanding of policing in the City

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Saturday, 22 May 2010

KOMEDIA

We support the police in calling for a review of the licence for these premises.

We have, as part of the planning process, raised resident’s concerns that the accumulated permissions and licences issued to this applicant would open the way, given the design of this building, to allowing the applicant to run late night events with very large numbers of young people and pointed to their advertising targeting students and vertical drinking. We understand the venue has regularly put out advertising promising cheap drink offers.

We have on previous occasions not opposed license applications because we were assured that this sort of event was not part of the venue’s business model. We understand that this assurance was offered to other interested parties.

In the event these assurances have proven empty and the venue is gradually turning into the sort of late night music and dance venue targeted at young people and fuelled by drink promotions that have become the focus of late night noise and anti social behaviour elsewhere in the city.

We do not need more venues of this type in the city. In particular these premises are close to a number of noise sensitive housing units and complaints of noise disturbance and anti-social behaviour have provided ample evidence of the need to review the conditions attached to this license to prevent them operating in this way in future.

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Sunday, 2 May 2010

A BID for Bath

TARA welcomes the news that efforts by our city centre manager, Andrew Cooper, to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) in the commercial heart of Bath seem likely to bear fruit.

In a BID the local business community agrees that a cleaner, brighter and safer environment is good for business and pools its resources so that more money can be spent on upgrading streets, pavements, lighting, signs and other infrastructure, on better street cleanliness and enhanced public safety. Obviously, though not subject to the BID levy on businesses, city centre residents and visitors can benefit significantly from the results.

The first BID was established in Canada more than thirty years ago and although the legislation to enable BIDs in the UK was not enacted until 2003 there are now close to 100 BIDs in operation in this country including thirty six in London alone.

Concerned at the meagre resources available to our city centre manager in Bath TARA carried out an on-line survey of similar operations in other parts of the country. This showed that the Bath public-private partnership, Future Bath Plus, is quite typical of similar organisations elsewhere, as is the role of our city centre manager which was described by one respondent as “a gadfly offering advice, pressure and encouragement where possible but living on wits rather than money.” This is fine but once administrative costs are taken care of there is typically little left for ‘projects’. To raise much needed funds many city centre managers across the country have BIDs or are actively preparing them.

In an era of impoverished councils a city centre BID in Bath offers perhaps the best hope of implementing the Council’s Public Realm and Movement Strategy, a complete transformation of the quality of our environment in the city centre of a kind which many comparable cities in the UK and, especially, on the continent completed many years ago. TARA supports the Public Realm and Movement Strategy (with qualifications) and, while it will be important to ensure that the particular concerns of residents are recognised, will do everything it can to encourage the city centre manager to persevere with the BID for Bath.

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