Sunday, 30 May 2021

TARAs response to the Atkins City Centre Security Access Report

Comments by TARA:

It seems to us that Atkins have done a reasonable job with the limited brief they were given and while we might quibble with the details and limitations of their recommendations the council has provided an inadequate forum for doing this.

We would however, like to highlight two observations they report:

1. "It seems like this is just tinkering with traffic management without any overall plans for the City Centre - What is the vision for what kind of City Centre we want?" 

This for us seems to be a key observation and should form a starting point for a new consultation.

2. The state of the pavements and the muddle of street furniture are a constraint on any access and mobile plans for the city centre. 

We note that there are large sums of proposed expenditure for "active" travel schemes most of which is planned to be spent of specialist cycling infra-structure. We would contend that much of this expenditure would be better directed at improving the ability of pedestrians and disabled people to move around the city.

Finally, reading officers analysis of the consultations responses make it clear that there is a bias in designing consultations to making them easy for officers to analyse at the expense of offering residents the widest range of options for participation. This is a bias which, in our view, should be corrected. 

Saturday, 22 May 2021

TARA’s Response to the Parking permits consultation

Parking is a considerable problem for people living in the city centre as many do not have access on-site parking.

Successive administrations have failed to provide spaces consistent with the number of permits issued. These spaces have been further eroded by “temporary” pedestrianisation, pavement widening and parklets as well as a policy which allows unfettered free use of on street parking by motorcycles. Proposed LTNs, the security zone and electric charging points etc will all potentially make the problem worse.

In the past handing out large numbers of permits to hotels, guest houses and holiday lets has eaten into the already inadequate provision in the city centre so we welcome the proposal to restrict the use of these to off street carparks.

We oppose the proposed emissions based charges for residents permits because it is inequitable to penalise residents when you allow private cars to drive into the CAZ without charge irrespective of their level of emissions.

Residents in the heart of the city have never had the benefit of visitors permits.

The arrangements for traders in the city are already a mess. Some companies will not service city centre addresses and the proposed security zones and LTN’s will make this worse. Charging traders more and continuing with the high level of bureaucracy will increase the number of these and increase the number of those who park in residential streets in outer zones to avoid charges.

Overall these proposal are likely to make very little difference they are just tinkering with the problem of parking in Bath. What is required is a root and branch reappraisal of parking policy supported by research and proper consultation.

This is yet another questionnaire, filled with leading questions masquerading as a consultation. It also discriminates against the digitally excluded. The inability to submit responses outside this online mechanism is unreasonable and unfair. The online mechanism itself barely acknowledges  the existence of representative organisations it has forced us for instance to declare whether TARA considers itself disabled.

Saturday, 8 May 2021


The applicant seeks consent for change of use from hospital (D1) to a 160 bedroom hotel (C1) with ancillary uses including a restaurant/café (A3).  The proposal appears in general to be consistent with the Council’s Core Strategy Plan (2014) and Placemaking Plan (2017) and we have no objection in principle to the change of use.

We acknowledge that the applicant has made a serious attempt to address issues relating to the proposed extension to the south of the west block of the existing building which were the principal cause of the refusal of the previous application.  In broad terms these issues were consistent with matters raised by this association in its submission during the consultation stage.  These included concerns over the bulk and mass of the building in its context and the potential loss of amenity by local residents caused by overlooking and light deprivation and noise disturbance from south facing bedrooms.  We concede that the proposal to place the extension somewhat further north, the stepped profile, mansard roof and absence of south facing windows provide a reasonably convincing solution to these problems.

There are two outstanding matters, however, that in or view remain at issue

  1. Benefit to the community.  Although efforts have been made to make historical artefacts and references in the building accessible to the public the opportunity to incorporate a publicly accessible open space in development on the south side of the existing building has been missed.  The ‘glimpse’ of the proposed garden from Bridewell Lane and to a lesser extent from Parsonage Lane, is not good enough for Bath with its world-wide reputation for excellence in urban design.  There should be a small urban park for general use incorporating a pedestrian link between Parsonage Lane and Bridewell Lane with a new entrance from Bridewell Lane open to the public at least during daylight hours.  In addition, there should be increased emphasis on planting and bio diversity in this space and less on hard surfaces.

  1. Accessibility.  It is no fault of the applicant but in the context of the Council’s proposed city centre security zone whose detailed workings are, as we understand it, still unresolved proposed arrangements for access by guests and others to the building by car and taxi appear unworkable.  As things stand, access to the building from a dropping off point a minimum of 100 meters from the entrance or specific permission on a case-by -case basis seem unsustainable even as a temporary arrangement.

We therefor ask that a decision on the application be DELAYED until satisfactory arrangements are in place to create a publicly accessible space and pedestrian link at the rear of the existing building and there are workable arrangements for providing access to the hotel.