Anti terrorist measures closing the city centre? Here’s what you had to say.

Bath seems split down the middle – when it comes to those who responded to proposed measure to restrict vehicles in the city centre – while online consultation responses were 60% against the proposals as they stood.

That’s also considered by an independent Accessibility Study on the impact of proposals to restrict vehicular access to reduce the risk of terrorist attacks – which has now been made publicly available by Bath & North East Somerset Council.

It’s a long read but worthwhile as it seems to recommend some sort of access facility for blue badge holders and maybe even an electric shuttle service!

The council is also publishing the findings of a consultation on the proposed measures, which received 522 responses. Much of this feedback focused on the concerns the proposals would have on people’s lives, especially residents with accessibility needs, including blue badge holders. 

The move comes ahead of a cabinet meeting set for June 23rd which will discuss recommendations on next steps for the proposed scheme. It gives people the opportunity to examine the extensive work carried out to address access concerns raised and develop mitigations – all well in advance of the cabinet discussion.

Council leader Councillor Kevin Guy said: “We are a listening council. That means we need to give people time to properly look at what we have gathered from our consultation and the work of the independent advisor which many residents have contributed to. So instead of just appending this important information to the June cabinet papers in the usual way we have taken the step of making it available openly and transparently well in advance of the meeting.” 

The proposed city centre scheme would see measures introduced to reduce the risk of terrorist attacks in the city, including vehicle access restrictions on streets with the highest footfall and purpose-designed street furniture and bollards to enhance public safety.

Councillor Guy added: “We take the safety and security of our 190,000 residents, and also of the millions of visitors we welcome to the area every year, extremely seriously.  However, we know from listening to residents that these changes would have impacts on people’s everyday lives, in particular people with disabilities. We appointed the independent adviser to gather views and examine how we can mitigate these impacts.’

“Now we have that report it is right that we publish it. Therefore, we are placing this and the consultation report online and I very much hope that people who have responded so far will see their views and concerns reflected. However, if people, having read the report, wish to add further comments for consideration by the cabinet on June 23rd , they can do so by Tuesday 1 June. 

“However, people should not feel they have to respond if their views are reflected in the reports as the cabinet will of course consider these directly.”

Councillor Manda Rigby, cabinet member for Transport, said: “The council has worked closely with Avon and Somerset Police on the proposed scheme and the force’s Counter Terrorism Security Advisers asked the council to put in proportionate measures to protect areas of the city which attract high footfall during peak times. We recognise, however, that under the proposed restrictions, no vehicle access or on-street car parking would be allowed within the protected area at any time and that this clearly reduces access to drop-off and parking for blue badge holders. That’s why we appointed an independent advisor to listen to local views and recommend on how to mitigate these concerns and it is right that we publish these findings now, well in advance of the cabinet meeting in June. When we consider the recommendations at cabinet we will need to balance all these issues.”

To read the Accessibility Study and Consultation Feedback Report documents and to respond please follow this link https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/bath-city-centre-security-consultation-update. 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 citycentresecurity@bathnes.gov.uk or by telephone on 01225 39 40 41.

Visit the project webpage

2 Comments

  1. What seems to be missing from this is any question about the sense of the scheme given that (a) the risk of terrorism is tiny, (b) most recent terrorist incidents have not involved the use of vehicles and (c) any potential terrorists will adapt their methods accordingly. I’m all for pedestrianising the city centre but do people think terrorists are stupid or so lacking in motivation that they will be deterred by a bollard?

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  2. P.S.

    I recommend reading section 8.1 of the Independent Report, ‘Risk Perspectives’, which questions the need for the measures and suggests that they will themselves be harmful to many people’s welfare:

    • What will the proposed measures do to prevent terrorist attacks that do not involve
    vehicles?
    • If someone was wanting to introduce a bomb; would they not use other means of
    entering the areas other than a vehicle?
    • Is footfall the only criteria that terrorists look for, and are not local concentrations of
    people, such as outside pubs, clubs, places of worship and waiting for busses outside
    the security area/zone just as likely to also attract hostile vehicles?
    • Is allowing Blue Badge holder access to the security area, any more likely to present
    a risk than any of the above and if not, then why consider that excluding Blue Badge
    holders limits the risk if, like water, the risk can be more easily directed elsewhere?

    (Bath City Centre Accessibility Study, page 49)

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