The night time economy in Bath brings both benefits and problems to residents and visitors alike. Nowhere is this more true than George Street, where, in a space of some 300 metres there are 14 licensed premises. Bath city centre is unusual because of the large number of people who chose to live there; you are rarely more than 20 metres from somebody’s home. The population of the George Street area is very socially and economically diverse, with a high level of owner occupation. There is also a large hotel and a number of B&B’s and holiday apartments.
In the early evening the night time economy is mainly focussed on restaurants and late night shopping. After about 22:30 it is driven by drinkers and clubbers. In George Street itself people come to drink at pubs early in the evening. As these close the flow is then towards the three main night clubs. When these close between 02.00 and 03.00 substantial numbers return down Broad Street and Milsom Street to the various transport hubs.
Between April 2012 and February 2013 28.1% of the violent crime and 28.1% of the anti-social behaviour reported in Bath happened in the George Street area
Following unceasing complaints from their members, the two Residents Associations for the area, CARA and TARA, decided to undertake a joint study of the impact of the night time economy. Its purpose was to identify the issues created for residents, and the causes of these problems, with a view to generating a discussion about how they might be resolved.
We recognise that little can be done without the help of the relevant agencies. In the next phase of our study we are hoping to engage officers from these in a discussion of our findings and observations and begin a process of seeking practical solutions to what is an increasingly unsatisfactory situation.
Some of the proposals that have arisen in the course of our enquiry which we believe should form the basis of these discussions are summarised below:
- BANES need to review the operation of the Cumulative Impact Policy with a view to either:
a. Finding ways to make the policy effective
b. Consider replacing the policy with Early Morning Alcohol Restriction Orders
- BANES need to make use of its new powers to instigate reviews of all licences with poor, unenforcable conditions particularly those relating to noise
- BANES should be using its new position as an interested party to review conditions on premises which routinely attract complaints and are routinely observed to breach conditions
- BANES should be using its new position as an interested party to hold licenced premises to account for promises and assertions made at licencing committee hearings
- CARA and TARA should work with the police and BANES on a campaign to improve understanding of and confidence in reporting processes
- CARA and TARA should work with BANES to improve the effectiveness of CCTV coverage
- BANES should explore the potential for reviewing decisions about the toilet provision licensed premises are required to make particularly where current provision was established more than 10 years ago
The full text of our report is available on request