Sunday, 24 April 2016

Beautiful Bath

In the heart of a conservation area!

Passed by tens of thousands of visitors a year!

Next to several grade 1 and grade 2 listed buildings!

At the heart of the World Heritage Site!

Approved by BANES?

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

BANES new property company

Bath & North East Somerset Council has set up a property company, which will allow it to operate as a commercial landlord and rent flats above council-owned shops. In future, it will also be able to look at potential housing developments on land it owns across the area.

This may be a good idea for getting better value out of under-used assets and providing more housing.

However, the processes has started off in a very inauspicious way with social housing tenants currently living above shops in the city centre receiving notices to quit often with little in the way explanation or offers of support.

This seems both insensitive and is some cases callous but it also adds to a worrying tendency for more and more social tenants to be pushed out of the city which both damages the character of the city in terms of its social makeup and displaces workers from the city adding to the city's transport issues.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The proposed extension to the Christmas market

We want to see a vibrant and economically successful  city and recognise that events like the Christmas market have a contribution to make.

The proposed extension is being promoted, as we understand it because research has suggested that such an extension will generate significant additional trade. It has also been suggested that an extended timescale will allow organisers to smooth out demand better and avoid peaks in congestion.

Ignoring for a moment the inherent tension in these two justifications we hope that should this extension go ahead there will be published research showing whether the extension has in fact delivered either of these results.

There is very little in the way of direct benefits to city centre resident's from the market and we feel that BTP does not do enough to acknowledge or compensate for the disruption caused. Specifically, The event stewards could and should do more to help city centre residents experiencing difficulty or disruption.

The Christmas market is organised for and in many ways by the business community. However, our members are continually reporting businesses who complain to them about the damage they claim the market does to their trading. This seems to us an issue that BTP and the business community need to address with some urgency before implementing any extension.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Social housing policy and the City Centre

Bath is unique in the number of people who choose to live in the city centre and in the social and economic diversity of those who live there.

This latter appears to be being changed by those entrusted with creating and managing social housing and other low-cost accommodation. We are increasingly seeing these organisation appearing to be pursuing policies which are displacing social housing tenants from the city centre and developing the resulting vacant properties for commercial gain by selling them, renting them out at commercial rents or even turning them into holiday accommodation.

These policies too often appear to be causing distress to tenants, threatening the nature of the city centre and displacing key city centre workers and turning them into commuters thus adding to their living costs and increasing the pressures on the city's fragile transport network.

We are concerned that this is happening at all but we are particularly concerned that this appears to being done by unelected people sitting on the boards of organisations who seem to operate largely free of any regulatory or democratic oversight.