It seems to have become fashionable to send you letters critiquing the performance of the council. We have joined this trend because we think it is important that you get a wider and more represented set of views than those expressed by the rather narrow range of special interest groups who have written so far.
Looking at the correspondence that you have received we were surprised to see that their principal criticism seems to be you and your colleagues lack of willingness to meet and discuss issues with residents. We were surprised at this both because our experience has been entirely different and because we have seen and heard many of these groups at a number of discussion forums organised by BANES and attended by yourself and members of your cabinet.
On the substantive issues raised by groups like Bath Deserves Better:
As you know we strongly support the development of an eastern park and ride. We are primarily concerned with the real and serious health threat to city residents created by pollution. A key part of any pollution reduction strategy is implementing the Bath Transport Strategy. This strategy has taken many years to create, cost considerable amounts of money and been developed in conjunction with some of the county leading experts and has always included an eastern park and ride. While it was entirely appropriate to hold a detailed discussion on the choice of site the time has come to stop talking and put peoples' health first.
We are delighted that at a time when many councils are withdrawing from the provision of professionally managed libraries BANES are investing in the city centre library service and in particular its increasingly important and popular IT facilities. We are particularly pleased to see that you are merging the management of the two important historic archives and upgrading the facilities for accessing them. We understand that people have an emotional attachment to the old premises and that some user groups might have specific concerns which need to be addressed and look forward to participating in further discussions about how various needs can be and perhaps should be met.
As you are aware we are keen to speed up progress on a number of issues affecting city centre residents and in particular:
• Improving the quality of formal consultations
• Creating a more consistently customer focussed organisation
• Removing unauthorised trade waste dumps
• An improved dialogue with Universities about their impact on the city
• Stalled traffic management projects
• Reviving the vital but moribund Public realm and Movement Strategy
• More effective measurement of the most dangerous components of city pollution
• Short term pollution reduction strategies
• Addressing the challenge of rough sleeping and begging
• Improving policing and enforcement
• The problems created by various forms of short term letting
• The better management of building projects in the city centre
We look forward to a continuing constructive dialogue with you and your colleagues about how this can be achieved.