Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Change of use application 10 York Street

This type of application is always difficult to assess as it provides inadequate relevant information in many areas of most concern to residents.

To take the first of the two purposes proposed if change of use is granted. Restaurant use raises concerns about smells and noise from kitchens. These premises are very close to peoples’ homes and sleeping areas. A further concern raise by food outlets is the arrangements for the disposal of waste and in particular food waste both in terms of where and how it is stored on the premises and where and for how long it is placed outside for collection.

Use as a bar raises much greater concern for residents. The creation of a new substantial bar is at odds with the councils frequently cited but rarely invoked policies and position statements on the cumulative impact of more licensed premises in the city centre. Bars of the size this applicant appears to be proposing in our experience will cause a number of problems the most common being noise, anti-social behavior and litter.

Again it is difficult to assess the likely impact of this particular bar proposal. All applicants in our experience assert that their bar will:

·        Operate reasonable hours
·        Be primarily food based
·        Be targeted at the sort of upmarket customers who don’t get drunk or behave badly
·        Be very high quality
·        Be very well supervised
·        Be operated in such a way that neighbours are not disturbed by noise or smells from the building

Most do not deliver against their promises and the planning authority does and perhaps can do little about that.

We also see a pattern of applicants following up initial planning applications with successive applications which erode and undermine their original reassurances.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Gull Workshop

In November we ran a workshop on the problem of urban gulls, in collaboration with CARA. We invited both gull experts and major property owners. The principle conclusions we took from the meeting where:

  1. That there was a need to gather much more information about the cost of urban gull both in terms of the cost of deterrents and the cost associated with the damage they caused.
  2. That there is a need for much more effective coordination of the use of deterrent measures because all current methods have the effect of redistributing populations and the implications of that need to be thought through.
  3. That there are currently only two effective methods for keeping gulls off buildings those are netting and egg oiling. Both are expensive to deploy and maintain and need to be kept up over a long period of time. Netting has the additional problem that if it is not done well it can lead to much unnecessary suffering as birds can become trapped.
  4. We need to work more effectively with others to lobby Government to take the problem more seriously
  5. We will be setting up a network of residents to identify problems where food waste is being left on the street and exploited by gulls; to get a quicker resolution of those problems
  6. We will be continuing to work closely with Bath's major property owners on this problem including BANES
  7. We need BANES to play a more active leadership role in:
  • Coordinating the collection of data about costs
  • Coordinating the deployment of anti-gull measures
  • Responding to reports of food waste being exploited by gulls
  • Lobbying government more effectively