We’ve got used to seeing the concrete block barriers on many of our inner city streets – put there several years ago to provide a higher quality of protection from terrorism.
But now it’s proposed to replace them with a series of static and moveable bollards and city centre users are being asked for their views on action to permanently strengthen and improve on-street security within Bath’s busiest streets and spaces by 2021.
Bath & North East Somerset Council and Avon & Somerset Police, have been working together to ensure Bath city centre is safe, secure and welcoming for the people who live, work and visit here.
Since 2016, the council has successfully helped maintain the city’s safety by putting in place various temporary security measures to provide a higher quality of protection from terrorism around Bath Abbey, the Roman Baths and Pump Room, as well as the retail core of the city centre.
In June temporary vehicle access restriction measures were put in place from 10am to 6pm to enable social distancing as the government eased Covid-19 restrictions. These are helping to protect public health and safety thanks to residents, businesses and service providers adapting to and supporting these measures at such short notice.
Prior to the pandemic, in conjunction with the police, proposals were already under way to permanently strengthen and improve city centre security and public safety in parts of Bath’s historic city centre by 2021.
The proposals set out a series of measures that will begin to replace existing concrete barriers with a series of static and moving bollards that aim to fit within the character of the city. This is alongside restrictions that will permanently manage vehicle access 24 hours every day of the year within the most crowded parts of the city centre.
It proposes to place permanent static bollards on streets such as Burton Street and Old Bond Street, Barton Street, Westgate Buildings, Beau Street and Southgate Street. Sliding bollards are proposed on York Street, Cheap Street, Upper Borough Walls, Lower Borough Walls and Hot Bath Street.
As is currently in place for social distancing from 10am to 6pm access would be provided via the council’s CCTV control room for authorised vehicles only, such as emergency access, major construction or road workers, removal companies, and bank cash lorries. To maintain safety through the night it will be necessary to maintain limited access restrictions from 6pm to 10am. Access will need to be granted again by CCTV, for business deliveries, market traders and waste collection. Pedestrians, cyclists and emergency vehicles will have access at all times.
Councillor Dine Romero, leader of the council, said: “With emergency temporary measures in place we are now working with businesses and the police on a coordinated package of permanent security improvements. The council is committed to enabling the on-going recovery of Bath, and the need for security and safety remains a significant factor in re-building Bath’s vitality. We appreciate how important vehicle access within the city is for our local businesses, residents and visitors, particularly people with restricted mobility. We also know that Covid-19 has had a big effect on the footfall within the city. However, the threat from terrorism within the UK is still significant. We’ve been working closely with Avon & Somerset Police to shape proportionate measures to improve security and safety within the city centre to an appropriate level we think will be a big factor in supporting the city’s recovery and future success.”
Andy Marsh, Chief Constable, Avon & Somerset Police, said: “While there is no specific intelligence relating to any threat to the South West region, including to Bath, we know there is a national threat to the United Kingdom from terrorism and that crowded places are attractive targets.
“Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site visited by many hundreds of thousands of people every year and like with all the iconic places in the Avon and Somerset Police force area, we’re committed to working with our local authority and business partners to ensure both residents and tourists are safe.
“Our Counter Terrorism Security Advisors have been working with Bath and North East Somerset Council on ways to keep the city centre secure and protected and have given their support to a scheme which limits vehicle access during the busiest times.
“This is part of a package of measures that is designed to improve overall public safety and further strengthen protection in areas of high footfall.”
You will be able to view the proposed city security improvements and provide feedback online from 16 November until 15 January 2021 at www.bathnes.gov.uk/citycentresecurity . Due to Covid-19 restrictions the council has adapted its consultation to online methods, so you can see proposals and provide feedback on proposals safely. The consultation period has also been extended to allow extra time over the festive period.
Allison Herbert, CEO, Bath Business Improvement District said: “We have seen great results from the new opportunities for outdoor seating in the city centre during the temporary road closures this summer. Bath achieved good footfall in comparison with other cities and the public appeared to enjoy the newly pedestrianised areas. This proposal for fixed safety barriers will make those changes permanent. Please make sure that you take this opportunity to share your feedback so that we achieve the best possible solutions by working together.”
Your feedback will be used to inform potential refinements to the draft proposals, before the Council formally advertises the traffic regulation orders, which would enable the access restrictions to be enforced.
Information about this consultation is available on request in other languages, audio, Braille, large print or other formats. To request another format please contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01225 39 40 41.
A coordinated package of security and public realm improvements can be expected over the next year. Together they will make a significant contribution to city centre safety and security and the quality of its streets and spaces. Along with the city centre security proposals each will be progressed with a sequence of consultations in the coming months.
Kingsmead Square: Access Restrictions and Improvements
Kingsmead Square is an important focus of the city’s leisure and evening economy. Proposals aim to make it a safer car free space throughout the day and into the evening. The existing temporary access restriction is to continue, with new street furniture recently installed. Consultation on further public realm improvements and proposals for a permanent access restriction- early 2021.
Milsom Street: Permanent Bus Gate and Access Restrictions
Milsom Street is the heart of the top of the town. The council will be working hard with partners to build a new successful future for the quarter. The existing temporary bus gate will remain in place whilst consultation is undertaken on whether this should become permanent. It is now operated by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera. Business and public consultation – early 2021.