We would like to propose two additional priorities:
1. Pollution and air quality – current levels of pollution exceed WHO guidelines in several areas. Pollution impacts the health, comfort of both residents and visitors and damages the history structures which caused the city to be selected as a WHS.
2. Protecting communities - Bath is unique in the number of people who choose to live in the city centre and in the social and economic diversity of those who live there. Your own report talks about Bath as a thriving 21st-century community. Venice demonstrates what happens if a WHS loses its community structures.
It will be very important to have proper coordination of the many major, and some of the minor, development projects to avoid disruption and damage to the WHS in the short to medium time and to minimise costs.
The action “Monitor & engage with the delivery of the Transport Strategy (2014) objectives in so far as they relate to the WHS & seek to ensure that they have no unacceptable impact on the OUV of the WHS & its setting” begs the question who will decide on acceptability and what criteria will they use.
It is not clear why cycling has been pulled out of the Transport Strategies and accorded special consideration ahead of other issues such as parking. The assumption seems to be that cycling has an entirely positive impact on the city a contention that many residents would dispute.
There are a number of issues impacting the public realm which do not get mentioned here including street drinking, street living, busking, begging and litter.
In addition, the quality of public realm infrastructure, particularly in the city centre, continues to fall way below the standard achieved by many peer cities which do not have the benefit of World Heritage Site status. Funding of the city’s own Public Realm and Movement Strategy, which would have remedied many of these deficiencies, has ceased after a promising start and should be restored.
The stakeholders in the WHS referenced in this report and the list of those to be used in initiating actions seems to have been selected from a rather narrow pool which may well reflect the situation at the time the last plan was prepared.
There is a need to create an effective database both of the assets of the WHS in terms of historical and archaeological records and artefacts but also the key stakeholders and gatekeepers who need to be engaged if the objectives of this plan are to be realised.