Friday, 23 December 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

We would like to wish all our members and friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2017 and thank you for your support in 2016 which has allowed us to:

  • Fight for better provision for city residents' parking
  • Support people whose lives are blighted by party houses and licenced premises
  • Fight to get measures to reduce pollution in the city centre in the short term
  • Fight to get unauthorised trade waste dumps removed
  • Fight to get better resources and policies to reduce anti-social behaviour
  • Support people whose quality of life is being affected by building works
  • Fight for better management of major development projects in the city
  • Support people fighting to oppose planning proposals which will damage their quality of life
  • Monitor plans and proposals that will impact residents
  • Work with agencies to get better resources and policies to reduce the problem of begging and street drinking
  • Counter the arguments of organisation who want their interests placed above those of residents
  • Make representations to national politicians to get legal changes
  • Respond to local consultations to ensure city centre residents voices are heard when policy is made
  • Have routine meetings with senior politicians and senior officers to share city centre residents' concerns
  • Stop members being unfairly evicted

Saturday, 17 December 2016

The BANES parking survey

We are very disappointed with the BANES parking survey which is very poorly designed and fails to address many of the key issues. Some of the problems are:

  1. You get asked the same question irrespective of your personal circumstances or where you live or whether you are responding on behalf of an organisation this means that:
  2. Many of the questions are ambiguous and will give results which are misleading
  3. Many issues are not addressed at all for instance the question about motorcycle parking seems to assume all respondents are motorcyclist; so will fail to pick up residents' concerns about the widespread use of car parking spaces by motorcyclist in the city centre.
We think the council needs to:
  1. Withdraw the current survey
  2. Consult more widely about what data need to be collected
  3. Design and circulate a better survey

Monday, 5 December 2016

Party houses

We are once again seeing a rise in problems of noise nuisance and antisocial behaviour associated with flats and houses being let out as party venues and in particular for stag and hen dos.

We are pressing the council to review the legal advice to their planning officers in the light of Appeal Court Judgements which allow them to view this type of letting a “change of use” requiring planning permission and opening the owner to a more stringent set of fire safety regulation and potential a requirement to pay business rates.

We are also asking the police and local authority rigorously apply the provisions of the Antisocial  Behaviour, Crime and Police Act 2014.

In the longer term we are asking BANEs to look at the licensing regimes that have been put in place by other authorities to judge their success and evaluate their applicability to the situation in Bath.

In the meantime we are urging affected residents’ to complain regularly to BANES Environmental Protection Team who can be reached via Council Connect. It is really important that there is a body of officially recorded complains that can be referred to in any enforcement proceedings

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Pollution and Parking

Our concern is tackling pollution in the city centre which is damaging peoples health now. So we support measures which will make a difference in the short term and confront the issues of the here and now.

We strongly support the need for Park-and-Ride facilities to the east of the City. It has been part of the expensively created transport strategy for some time and indeed figured in many previous strategies. Its time to put the strategy into action.

The selected site should operate for 7 days a week until late, with secure overnight parking, to enable its use by evening visitors and those staying overnight in Bath. The public transport to and from the city centre should use low emission vehicles, and be inexpensive to use.

Our concern is pollution and its reduction in the short term. One of the factors that increases pollution in the city centre is people driving around the city seeking somewhere to park. While we applaud the plans to build more out of town parking, we also recognise that people need to and, for the foreseeable future, will want to drive their cars into the city.

We therefore believe that it is important to have better planning for what to do with vehicles coming into the city that need to park. We would therefore like to see:
  • More parking capacity in the city centre, perhaps by adding another layer above or below Charlotte Street
  • An end to giving planning consent to hotel developments which have no parking provision
  • A firm principle that parking spaces cannot be removed without a plan to provide additional capacity elsewhere
  • That on street parking should be primarily for residents' use but with clear allocation of bays that businesses can use for their customer loading and collecting
  • A proper plan for managing coaches coming into Bath and in particular putting in place deterrents against coaches that merely drive round the city's major attraction without allowing passengers to disembark 
Our research also shows that a key factor in reducing pollution from vehicles in the city centre is reducing the amount of stop start driving they do. This means removing unnecessary obstructions, for instance, reducing the number of traffic lights, and ensuring traffic lights are better coordinated to avoid the build-up of queues.