Now the Christmas Market sheds are being cleared away, two Bath city centre roads will temporarily close as work gets under way to install anti-terrorism security measures aimed at protecting the public.
A temporary traffic regulation order notice (TTRO) has been published for temporary closure of York Street and Terrace Walk in order for the work to begin in the first week of January.
While the duration on these notices states eight months it is not anticipated that the roads will be closed for the whole of the TTRO period but only for so long as is necessary to execute the works.
Pedestrian access will be maintained throughout and the council is keeping residents and businesses who are affected by the temporary closure regularly updated. Information can also be found on the council’s website https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/citycentresecurityworks.Hoardings are also planned to go up on the site
Bath & North East Somerset Council is introducing its proportionate, preventative measures to protect public safety, based on police advice, following extensive consultations, talks with businesses, residents and accessibility groups.
The security proposals include vehicle access restrictions on streets defined as crowded places in and around Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths while maintaining managed access to the city centre for residents, businesses and blue badge holders.
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.
In February 2020 Avon & Somerset Police Chief Constable asked Bath & North East Somerset Council to consider an ATTRO covering the wider city centre of Bath which would be used in the event of a heightened threat, specific intelligence, as a result of an incident or if there are events taking place that create crowded places.
Following consultation with Counter Terrorism security advisors and the council, which centred around the crowded places indicated within the National Counter Terrorism Security Office report, it was considered proportionate to introduce permanent restrictions covering a smaller area in the city centre resulting in the current measures, which the Chief Constable supported.
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.
Councillor Manda Rigby, cabinet member for Transport, said: “It is encouraging to see work starting on the scheme and the first phase of our permanent anti-terrorism measures going in. We are working closely with residents and businesses. We held back on the work because we didn’t want it to impact on the Christmas Market – which had the temporary security barriers in place – and we hope that by starting this work in the quieter winter months it won’t have such an adverse impact on businesses. We are grateful to them for their patience.”
The city centre security scheme:
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.
Lower Borough Walls, Stall Street, Abbeygate St, Abbey Green, Swallow Street (south), Bath Street, and Hot Bath Street; vehicle access restrictions from 10am- 6pm
York Street: extend restricted access operating hours to 10am to 10pm, to support the increased footfall which is anticipated from Terrace Walk to the Clore Learning and World Heritage Centres. Extra Blue Badge and resident permit parking and loading spaces nearby, but outside of the restricted area.
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 proposed uses a combination of TROs and Traffic Regulation Orders for anti-terrorism purposes.
The proposed orders were 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.