Next to CAZ and the on-going Cleveland Bridge repairs the proposed city centre security scheme – which opponents like to call ‘the ring of steel’ – are going out for public consultation.
Bath & North East Somerset Council’s proposals would involve installing hostile vehicle mitigation measures as a protective method to reduce risks associated with vehicle borne threats posed by terrorists and criminals, whilst maintaining access to the city centre for residents, businesses and blue badge holders.
The proposals include vehicle access restrictions on streets defined as crowded places in and around Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths.
They were initially based on a counter-terrorism security survey on Bath city centre in September 2016 which identified the areas as being vulnerable to a potential hostile vehicle attack.
The council has continued to work alongside the counter-terrorism advisors to protect these areas, through both physical measures and training for front line staff, both from public and private sector.
Avon & Somerset Police recommended in 2020 that a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) for anti-terrorism purposes should be put in place as part of preventative measures.
To implement or enforce parking restrictions of any kind on a public road, a Traffic Regulation Order first needs to be introduced. The city centre security scheme will use a combination of TROs and Traffic Regulation Orders for anti-terrorism purposes and it is these the council is inviting residents and businesses to have their say on. The consultation runs until October 14.
There will also be drop-in sessions for people who wish to discuss the orders at the Commercial Hub at 15 New Bond St Bath on September 28, October 4 and October 12. Sign up here
The proposed orders have been amended from the proposals first laid out by the council after listening to feedback from residents in its previous consultation, which ran from November 2020 to January 2021. They have also been informed by an independent Accessibility Study.
Blue badge parking spaces will not be affected and once the traffic regulation orders are confirmed, the council will work with community and disability groups to further inform the final design of the scheme.
Councillor Kevin Guy, Council Leader, said: “Before we can progress with the city centre security scheme to prevent vehicle attacks as agreed at Cabinet on July 20, we have to follow a legal process to put TROs and TROs for anti-terrorism purposes into place. I’d like to emphasise that there will be no loss of blue badge spaces as a result of the orders.
“Once the orders have been agreed, we are keen to consult further with disability and community groups on how it will be best for people to arrive at the gates, what street seating is needed and where, and the best design that meets accessibility needs as well as protecting the public.”
Blue badge holders will be permitted to park on Cheap Street, Westgate Street and Upper Borough Walls on double yellow lines for a period of three hours, subject to space being available, via controlled access.
As part of the scheme additional seating would be provided along Cheap Street and Westgate Street to ensure adequate resting space. The proposed fully accessible ‘Parklets’ would be interspersed with existing street furniture as close to 50m intervals as possible.
Dropped kerbs and footway surface improvements would also be introduced to allow improved accessibility from existing city centre car parks and proposed additional Blue Badge bays.
All Blue Badge holders in B&NES and properties in the restricted area will receive letters inviting them to take part in the consultation.
Councillor Manda Rigby, cabinet member for Transport, said: “This scheme involves proportionate, preventative measures to protect public safety, based on police advice that such a scheme needs to be introduced. To reduce the risk to our city we have to act on this advice and the findings of the counter-terrorism survey that this area of Bath is vulnerable.
“However, we also have to make sure local residents, businesses and people with accessibility issues have a say on the traffic orders. We acted on the feedback received in our previous consultation and have amended the scheme accordingly, so this consultation will ensure we get the traffic orders right.”
The proposed changes to the scheme, without compromising security, are:
- Cheap Street, Westgate Street, Saw Close and Upper Borough Walls: vehicle access restrictions from 10am to 6pm, with controlled access permitted for Blue Badge holders and carers, or taxis carrying Blue Badge holders as a passenger.
- York Street: extend restricted access operating hours to 10am to 10pm, to support the increased footfall which is anticipated from Terrace Walk to the new Clore Learning and World Heritage Centres.
- Extra Blue Badge and resident permit parking and loading spaces nearby, but outside of the restricted area.
Information about this consultation is available on request in other languages, audio, Braille, large print or other formats. If you don’t have internet access, you can request printed copies of the consultation and survey.
To request another format, or for an advocate to assist you with accessing this information, please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling us on 01225 39 40 41.
View the details here:
Visit the project webpage