Tuesday, 23 April 2013

BTP – City Centre Improvements – Phase 1

We broadly support the day time pedestrianisation of these streets which most pedestrians already treat as though they were already pedestrianised.

However, we are yet again being offered a piecemeal proposal with:

1.      No overall plan for  managing traffic in the city centre to give it context

2.      No explanation of what impact the council expect these proposals to have elsewhere in the city centre

3.      No explanation of how this is going to work with other city centre schemes and in particular the “experiments” on Bog Island and Dorchester Street which in concert with this scheme will potential create significant problems for those living around the Abbey.

It is to be hoped that those residents who had the time to visit the consultation day at the Guildhall were able to get some help with their particular issues and we are gathering feedback about that. 

However, it would be much better if BANES moved from having one off projects, packages and experiments to a properly articulated and researched plan for managing traffic in the city and reducing pollution levels.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Ivy Licencing Aplication

We object to this application on the grounds that we believe it will add to public nuisance and crime and disorder in the city centre.

Firstly we note that these new premises fall within the area covered by the Cumulative Impact Policy and are within a short walk of two pubs, a wine bar and a nightclub.

The proposal that alcohol be served up to 4am is a cause of great concern because almost without exception premises which trade beyond 1 am are a focus of complaints about public nuisance and disorder. This is partly because of the type of drinker attracted by very late night drinking, partly because of the relative lack of police, other enforcement agency and public protection personnel on the streets at these hours and partly because these are hours when residents and hotel guest are particularly sensitive to noise and disturbance.

We note that the applicant makes no reference to a dispersal policy in their proposed conditions.

We have drawn the licencing committee's attention to the fact that most premises proposing to trade this late have conditions requiring them to maintain CCTV equipment

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

George Street and the Night Time Economy

The night time economy in Bath brings both benefits and problems to residents and visitors alike. Nowhere is this more true than George Street, where, in a space of some 300 metres there are 14 licensed premises. Bath city centre is unusual because of the large number of people who chose to live there; you are rarely more than 20 metres from somebody’s home. The population of the George Street area is very socially and economically diverse, with a high level of owner occupation. There is also a large hotel and a number of B&B’s and holiday apartments.

In the early evening the night time economy is mainly focussed on restaurants and late night shopping. After about 22:30 it is driven by drinkers and clubbers. In George Street itself people come to drink at pubs early in the evening. As these close the flow is then towards the three main night clubs. When these close between 02.00 and 03.00 substantial numbers return down Broad Street and Milsom Street to the various transport hubs.

Between April 2012 and February 2013 28.1% of the violent crime and 28.1% of the anti-social behaviour reported in Bath happened in the George Street area

Following unceasing complaints from their members, the two Residents Associations for the area, CARA and TARA, decided to undertake a joint study of the impact of the night time economy. Its purpose was to identify the issues created for residents, and the causes of these problems, with a view to generating a discussion about how they might be resolved.

We recognise that little can be done without the help of the relevant agencies. In the next phase of our study we are hoping to engage officers from these in a discussion of our findings and observations and begin a process of seeking practical solutions to what is an increasingly unsatisfactory situation.

Some of the proposals that have arisen in the course of our enquiry which we believe should form the basis of these discussions are summarised below:

- BANES need to review the operation of the Cumulative Impact Policy with a view to either:
a. Finding ways to make the policy effective
b. Consider replacing the policy with Early Morning Alcohol Restriction Orders

- BANES need to make use of its new powers to instigate reviews of all licences with poor, unenforcable  conditions particularly those relating to noise

- BANES should be using its new position as an interested party to review conditions on premises which routinely attract complaints and are routinely observed to breach conditions

- BANES should be using its new position as an interested party to hold licenced premises to account for promises and assertions made at licencing committee hearings

- CARA and TARA should work with the police and BANES on a campaign to improve understanding of and confidence in reporting processes

- CARA and TARA should work with BANES to improve the effectiveness of CCTV coverage

- BANES should explore the potential for reviewing decisions about the toilet provision licensed premises are required to make particularly where current provision was established more than 10 years ago

The full text of our report is available on request