Sunday, 24 June 2012

Proposed traffic regulation orders

The proposed traffic regulation order to close Pierrepont street, Dorchester Street and Manvers Street to all motor vehicles excluding buses, taxis, motorcycles and for access is yet another example of the failed piecemeal approach to the complex problems of traffic management in Bath. Solving one problem without a plan to address the new problems it will cause.

For a significant number of residents this closure will mean that they will only have one practical exit route out of the city centre over North Parade Bridge and its junctions with roads at each end which are always chaotic, often heavily congested and regularly completely gridlocked.

Traffic merges on to the bridge from two car parks and the local courts;  there are bus stops;  coaches park by the swimming baths waiting for school parties and often delivery vehicles block one lane while delivering to the clubs and restaurants.  The traffic lights at the junction with Pulteney Road let out very few vehicles at a time and often into traffic which is gridlocked. The few spaces created when the lights change are often filled by the cars emerging from the car parks and so no-one further back moves  – and the queue backs up into the city centre.

In addition, as part of the Public Realm and Movement Project, coaches are to be relocated from Orange Grove to drop-off points in Terrace Walk.  This means they will be stopping very close to the exit of the road over North Parade Bridge and this is bound to cause additional congestion in the immediate area as the coach drivers  jockey for the limited space available.  It is not clear whether coaches are to be included in the vehicles permitted to use Pierrepont Street/Manvers Street/Dorchester street.   If not,  this will mean a huge increase in coaches crossing North Parade Bridge.

It is high time that the responsible authorities stopped just tinkering with Bath's real and complex traffic management problems and developed a comprehensive management plan to address them.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Slug and Lettuce

The Slug and Lettuce have applied to extend the hours of use of their rear garden terrace.

This application is typical of a pattern of planning and licencing applications from premises in the area seeking to extend their operation beyond the scope of their present permissions. Each of these applications whatever its immediate effect on the premises concerned is having a detrimental cumulative effect on an area which is a recognised hot spot for drink fuelled noise and anti-social behaviour.

George Street is at the heart of a conservation area and is home to a considerable number of residents. Noise and nuisance generated in George street impacts a number of other residential areas.

Noise generated by outside drinking areas is inevitably more intrusive and difficult to manage and control. Noise generated behind buildings in George Street inevitably widens the footprint of the area of people affected.

The applicants may well have a policy of running these premises as a food based establishment with a broadly based clientele. They may even be successful at achieving their aim in the daytime and even in the early evening. However, at night this is just another vertical drinking venue attracting the predominantly youthful crowd drawn by the areas nightclubs.