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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The OPA License Review

This part of the city centre is primarily residential. The block on which OPA is located bounded by North and South Parades and Duke Street is entirely residential containing 65 apartments in 7 apartment buildings as well as ASE (Advanced Studies in England) a residential hostel for foreign students which has operated on North Parade above the subject premises since the late 1980’s

For some time, and on many occasions, local residents and local businesses have complained about the late night noise created by OPA’s operation; indeed they have been the subject of noise abatement enforcement by Environmental Protection officers. We understand that local residents will be providing testimony for the Licensing committee to consider. The noise complained of derives from extensive noise leakage from OPA’s premises and noise created by, often rowdy and intoxicated, revellers entering and leaving the building and gathering outside on the pavement.

OPA is the focus of much anti-social behaviour and again we understand that resident's will be providing detailed testimony about the crime and disorder they are routinely subjected to including threatening behaviour, street urination, vomit and littering

OPA has effectively become a nightclub by stealth and indeed recently applied to have this new use endorsed by the planning committee.

The premises were operated as a restaurant between 1983 and 2007 without adversely affecting the amenity of local residents and we believe that the conditions on the licence should be amended to be more appropriate to use as a restaurant and restrict the licensees ability to operate as a nightclub as this activity runs counter to both the spirit and letter of the cumulative impact policy

TARA has no objection to OPA operating as a traditional well managed restaurant similar to many others in residential areas of the city centre. Our objection is to OPA as a bar and nightclub. We therefore would ask the committee to consider imposing conditions or modifying existing conditions to constrain the licensee's ability to operate their premises as a bar and nightclub. This should include consideration of the hours of operation, the conditions under which alcohol can be served, the provision of live dancing and the playing of music other than as a background to the serving of food.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

A BID FOR BATH - 2

Earlier we reported on efforts by the city centre manager, Andrew Cooper, to get a Business Improvement District established in our city centre. We now learn that detailed proposals will go to council leaders and business owners in the next few weeks. If voted through and fully subscribed these proposals would include a permanent team of five focussing on the cleanliness and management of city centre streets, an award scheme for businesses reaching exemplary standards in the management of their premises and their surroundings, an organisation which would help to manage the night time economy, a marketing drive which would include festivals and cultural events and improving access to the city centre.

Yes, this is a business-led initiative and it will be important to ensure that residents’ interests are not overlooked and that the BID creates real additional resources, not just more lobbyists, but TARA believes, on balance, that the Bath BID represents a real prospect of channelling the additional funding in the city centre to make real the many improvements in our surroundings we would like to see.

These are important proposals and we urge the council, Future Bath Plus and the city centre business community to get behind them. Anyone who would like to see what can be achieved should visit Northumberland Place where local businesses have already acted together to make a colourful and vibrant street out of what was becoming a grimy and unkempt backwater. Congratulations to the Northumberland Place community and to FBP’s Environment Panel chaired by Graham Webb of St Johns.


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