This complaint is about the Highways department and concerns two issues.
- Failure to respond to a written enquiry
The relevant BANES policy is:
Respond to all written enquiries within 10 working days. This means either:
A full response to your enquiry, or;
If we need to take longer to give a fuller response, we’ll tell you why and what the next steps are, or;
Your emails or web-based requests to our team in-boxes are automatically acknowledged where possible and provide information about next steps
Write clearly and concisely, so that information is easy to read and understand
Include a named contact person and phone numbers in our correspondence”
- Failure to deal with a highways obstruction
The relevant BANES policy, which we understand is mandated by legislation, is:
“Encroachment of the Highway
Any obstruction on the public highway must be appropriately licenced by Bath & North East Somerset Council. Any unlicensed obstruction is an encroachment of the highway and should be reported to Council Connect for Highway Inspection.”
I and my residents’ association have been complaining about the trade waste dump on a pavement in George Street for some years. The dump is located next to at a very busy junction which is crossed daily at all time of the day or night by large numbers of pedestrians who are often forced into the traffic flow. The dump is often hit by passing HGV’s and buses.
The dump is located close to both residential and business premises and is poorly maintained and causes a number of environmental problems. Local businesses have also complained both to BANES and the BID on numerous occasions and we have had a number meetings in an attempt to resolve issues.
In February of 2018 I on behalf of local residents, the MD of Moles on behalf of local businesses and our ward councillor Peter Turner sent a letter to the highways department in an attempt to clarify the legal status of the dump. I have written on my own behalf a couple of years before but received no reply.
We had had no reply by the summer so we approached the cabinet member responsible for highways who sent two emails about a month apart to Highways requesting a response to our letter.
Since by August we had still not had a response from Highways I submitted an FOI request. This request was responded to in the required legal timescales with a two-word response on a copy of my request.
This response uncovered the fact that the dump was unlicensed and that Highways knew that it was and allowed it to continue to block the Highway without consulting neighbouring premises and without the required license. From the Bid, we have learned that this was a result of discussions they had had with Highways.
It is worthy of note that we have still not received a reply to our original letter.