We are pleased that what we have been calling for in terms of a committee to coordinate the major developments in and around the Roman Baths and the Abbey and the efforts that have been made to communicate with and address the conserns of residents and businesses being impacted. We are also pleased with the attempts being made to minimise the impact of the development work on the aesthetics of the area.
However, we are facing over the next few years unprecedented numbers of development projects in the city centre and it is vital that BANEs gets better and managing them in a way which minimises disruption to communities and ensures that they are fully informed about what is going on.
The development of the Indigo Hotel on South Parade is a classic example of what can go wrong if there is no proactive management by the local authorities.
In granting planning permission much more attention needs to be paid to the likely impact on the local community and conditions and guidelines put in place to minimise them.
BANEs needs to be much more proactive in monitoring and enforcing conditions and BANEs officers should routinely be talking to neighbours about their experiences and encouraging developers to do the same not just waiting for them to register complaints.
The development at this site had overrun on an almost unbelievable scale which can only be down to poor planning, preparation and risk analysis.
Meanwhile the local community has suffered problems with:
- Access to property
- Loss of parking
- Unnecessary obstruction of the highway
- Anti-social behaviour
- Noise and dust
- Early and late working on the site
- Loss of trade
- A complete inability to plan because of constantly slipping dates
- Site traffic management
- Lack of information
In addition to all this this site has always been an eyesore which the developer has done little or nothing to mitigate.
This development highlights systemic problems in the way permission for significant development in the city centre is given and the way in which compliance is monitored and enforced.