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Saturday, 26 February 2011

Problems of the Night Time Economy - Rowdy crowds

Rowdy crowds cause broadly two types of problems at night in the city centre:

1. They create noise which is a problem if they are near residential premises or other noise sensitive locations such as the hospital
2. They can, often without intending to. intimidate other users of the city centre.

Crowd tend to form:
-Outside pubs and clubs because they cannot smoke inside
-Outside pubs and clubs because they are just loitering prior to going home
-Outside pubs and clubs because they have been ejected or refused entry
-Outside fast food outlets
-In queues for buses and taxis

Sometime crowds are just wandering the streets with no real aim.

Crowds are particularly a concern because they are often the breeding ground for fighting and threats of violence

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Lord Clement-Jones “Live Music” Private Members Bill

Should this Bill become law public performance of live amplified music, between 08:00-24:00, would no longer require a licence in premises such as pubs or clubs provided that, at the time that the music is being performed, alcohol is being supplied for consumption on the premises and the performance takes place before an audience of no more than 200 people.The exception to this would only be where a specific condition about music is included following a review of the licence or club premises certificate.

The Bill provides that live music in any place that qualifies as a workplace (including schools,hospitals, restaurants and cafes) not otherwise licensed under the Licensing Act does not require a licence, provided it takes place between 08:00-24:00 before an audience of no more than 200 people.

Unregulated live amplified music in a place like Bath has a potential to cause enormous problems. One-off events are one thing, but regular and continuous amplified live music can wreck a neighbourhood.

Presumably the Bill proposer Lord Clement-Jones lives on a country estate or in a flat in Westminster far away from any likely venue!

Check the Bill at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201011/ldbills/012/11012.1-i.html.

On March 4 2011 we may find out whether the government supports this Bill, but it might be helpful if letters are sent to John Penrose, Minister for Licensing, at the DCMS -

address:

2-4 Cockspur Street
London
SW1Y 5DH -

pointing out your concerns before 4 March

Thursday, 17 February 2011

The Night Time Economy - Key concerns

Key issues which concern city centre residents in relation to the operation of the night time economy can be summarised as follows:

-Rowdy Crowds
-Street Drinkers
-Litter
-Poorly managed licensed premises
-Individual anti-social behaviour

Residents are of course concerned with the more "serious" issues of crime such as violent and sexual assaults. However, these are rare in Bath and so the focus inevitably falls on these lesser forms of crime, disorder and nuisance.

Bath city centre residents recognise that the many benefits of living in the centre of a beautiful and vibrant city are inevitably attended by the need to be tolerant of a wide range of other users of the city's amenities.

City centre residents are on the whole very tolerant of the inevitably lively atmosphere in Bath at night. However, the issues listed above if not kept under review and managed can make living in the centre intolerable and Bath would be a very different and poorer place if residents voted with their feet as has sadly happen in so many other cities.

It is for this reason that TARA devotes much of its time and resources to working with the police, council, responsible licensees and other agencies concerned with the management of Bath at night.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Proposals to restrict traffic in the Circus area

TARA is concerned about the Circus Residents’ Association’s proposals for traffic management in their area.

Firstly, we are concerned about the research that underpins these proposals which consists, as we understand it, of a traffic count and an assumption that the majority of traffic is using the Circus as a rat run from Gay street to Lansdown. By our own observations there are a number of reasons why vehicles are in this area e.g.looking for places to park, delivering to local business and residents, dropping off at the Assembly room etc. We need to understand why people are in the Circus before making decisions about managing them.

We also need a proper impact assessment for neighbouring roads before we put more vehicles on the already congested Lower Lansdown, George Street, Gay Street south and Queen Square. The CARA proposals for ameliorating this impact seem inadequate. The proposal to make the single yellow lines in George Street double yellow lines will create considerable problems for both residents and their commercial neighbours.

These kind of piecemeal proposals which tinker with the problem of traffic management in Bath by shifting the problem from one area to another within the city seem symptomatic of a systemic failure by BANES and the other public authorities involved to come up with an overall plan or even vision for managing the problems of traffic congestion and associated rising levels of pollution in the city.

Even the part of the CARA proposal which might win wider support, i.e. preventing coaches from cruising the city’s historic landmarks, lacks the necessary context of a city wide plan for managing tourist coaches except at one off events like the Xmas Market.

Complaints about 'rat running' often betray a misunderstanding about how a city road system functions. It is essentially a self adjusting network that, by giving drivers a choice of routes from A to B, should automatically reduce overall journey times, congestion and harmful emissions if it is working efficiently. In this context the idea that traffic should not enter an area unless it has destination business there is misplaced and attempts to limit traffic flow anywhere on the network should not be undertaken unless the consequences for overall performance and risk of increased problems on other network links have been assessed.

This is not to say that limiting 'through' traffic in, for example, what are plainly residential areas should never be attempted, they should and often are and the Circus may be a case in point, but this should not be done until the local benefits have been systematically evaluated against effects on other localities and on the overall performance of the network.

Bus Stops

There is now an increasing emphasis on improving public transport provision in Bath which we broadly support. We are also seeing the immergence, particularly as the election looms, of ad-hoc traffic management schemes which in the absence of an overall scheme for Bath or proper impact assessment we do not.

One of the often unrecognised effects of these two activities is the effect it has on the siting of and level of usage of bus stops. For instance the proposals for closure of Pulteney Bridge to various types of traffic have led to an increased use of bus stops on North Parade outside noise sensitive residential accommodation at times when it impacts the amenity of those residents.

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Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The BANES Core Strategy

Broadly we are not unhappy with the draft strategy there are however some general point we would make.

The strategic issues do not explicitly acknowledge the issue of balancing the legitimate but competing needs of visitors, residents and people working in the city centre. This issue becomes particularly acute in relationship to the management of the night time economy.

The document does not acknowledge to existence of the BID.

The document mentions assisting the creation of a Rugby Stadium but the section on traffic and transport does not seem to take this into account.

It is not quite clear what the traffic scheme for Bath is should the BTP not get funding

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