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Friday, 12 April 2019

The management of the streetscape

We are concerned about the management of the streetscape and in particular:

  • The management of cycling and cyclists in the city centre
  • What is going to replace the Public Realm and Movement Strategy which was designed to bring public infrastructure in the city centre up to international norms and appears to have been abandoned?
  • Pavement parking
  • The unregulated use of car and cycle parking bays by motorcyclists

Sunday, 7 April 2019

The Policing Debate

We continue to lobby for more resources to be given to policing the city centre. 

However, we are concerned about the nature of the debate which is now taking place. 

Firstly, the fear of crime still remains a greater problem than actual crime. The way in which the current debate is being conducted is in our view increasing the fear of crime. 

Secondly, we need a much more serious debate about where any additional resources should be spent. For instance, not just creating a new police station but spending on having more and or better-equipped officers, more CCTV coverage or perhaps properly funded programmes to tackle the drug dependence and mental illness that drives much of the theft and anti-social behaviour. 

It is very important to residents that this debate is properly conducted and does not become just another political football.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Formal Complaint to Banes

This complaint is about the Highways department and concerns two issues.
  1. Failure to respond to a written enquiry

The relevant BANES policy is:
“We will:
Respond to all written enquiries within 10 working days. This means either:
A full response to your enquiry, or;
If we need to take longer to give a fuller response, we’ll tell you why and what the next steps are, or;
Your emails or web-based requests to our team in-boxes are automatically acknowledged where possible and provide information about next steps
Write clearly and concisely, so that information is easy to read and understand
Include a named contact person and phone numbers in our correspondence”
  1. Failure to deal with a highways obstruction

The relevant BANES policy, which we understand is mandated by legislation, is:
“Encroachment of the Highway  
Any obstruction on the public highway must be appropriately licenced by Bath & North East Somerset Council. Any unlicensed obstruction is an encroachment of the highway and should be reported to Council Connect for Highway Inspection.”

I and my residents’ association have been complaining about the trade waste dump on a pavement in George Street for some years. The dump is located next to at a very busy junction which is crossed daily at all time of the day or night by large numbers of pedestrians who are often forced into the traffic flow.  The dump is often hit by passing HGV’s and buses.
The dump is located close to both residential and business premises and is poorly maintained and causes a number of environmental problems. Local businesses have also complained both to BANES and the BID on numerous occasions and we have had a number meetings in an attempt to resolve issues.
In February of 2018 I on behalf of local residents, the MD of Moles on behalf of local businesses and our ward councillor Peter Turner sent a letter to the highways department in an attempt to clarify the legal status of the dump. I have written on my own behalf a couple of years before but received no reply.
We had had no reply by the summer so we approached the cabinet member responsible for highways who sent two emails about a month apart to Highways requesting a response to our letter.
Since by August we had still not had a response from Highways I submitted an FOI request. This request was responded to in the required legal timescales with a two-word response on a copy of my request.
This response uncovered the fact that the dump was unlicensed and that Highways knew that it was and allowed it to continue to block the Highway without consulting neighbouring premises and without the required license. From the Bid, we have learned that this was a result of discussions they had had with Highways.

It is worthy of note that we have still not received a reply to our original letter.