1. Liveable Neighbourhoods
The Liveable Neighbourhoods strategies were adopted at a Cabinet Meeting in December. It appears only minor amendments were made if any, though FoBRA and others had raised concerns about the impact on distributor roads. These strategies have been formally adopted as policy. For LTNs, the next stage is inviting very structured, evidence based bids from areas which have to be submitted through ward councillors. We are not yet aware of a confirmed start date.
The process is set out in a LTN Request Proforma which is currently here on the B&NES website
2. City Centre Security Measures
A consultation on this closes on 15 January 2021. The proportionality and justification for the changes (terrorism risk/protection from hostile vehicles) has been questioned in some quarters, with certain streets proposed for closure having much lower pedestrian footfall than other nearby streets that are not included. Much detail is lacking not least on the provisions relating to access for the disabled to homes, shops and services. Whilst the Council says it is commissioning "an independent pan-disability study in relation to the city centre access restrictions currently proposed", it seems unfortunate that access for those with limited mobility wasn't addressed at an earlier stage when there was greater scope for adjusting the proposals. The proposed measures will have most impact on those living in the restricted area due to the elimination of vehicle access and restrictions on delivery arrangements, and we are mindful that TARA, whose area includes the proposed secure zone, have submitted comments raising many questions and concerns about impacts on residents' day-to-day lives: http://tarabath.blogspot.com/2020/11/bath-city-centre-security-proposals.html
In all the circumstances it would seem appropriate to give high priority to making the arrangements compatible with maintaining or increasing residential levels within the city centre rather than contributing to it being further hollowed out; and to avoiding displacement of traffic into neighbouring residential areas
3. Cleveland Bridge
With multiple ongoing changes to traffic routes within the city, it is disappointing the Planning Committee failed to take the opportunity to make the Cleveland Bridge weight limit permanent, which would have helped to "ease in" some of the other changes by freeing up some road capacity. The Road Investment Strategy 2: 2020-2025 (at page 118) provides for a strategic review of the M4 to Dorset Coast route with potential for long-term improvement. Wera Hobhouse raised the matter of the Bridge in an adjournment debate in Parliament in November, highlighting the relatively short extra usable life likely to be secured by the repairs and pressing for acceleration of progress on re-routing. We propose
An application for the construction management phase is expected imminently. This will be very relevant for people who live close to the Bridge and those who live on or near potential alternative routes north and south of the river when the bridge is shut to traffic.
4. Clean Air Zone and Air Quality monitoring
The Council has been testing the Clean Air Zone infrastructure and the CAZ is due to go live in March. The Council's commitment to this clean air project is to be commended given that some proposed CAZs have been abandoned or deferred.
CAZ modelling showed that areas within the CAZ would be barely compliant, whilst a number of locations outside the CAZ were expected to have nitrogen oxide levels above 40μg/m3 for a number of years. This makes it really important to continue and improve AQ monitoring in the city. Other cities including London are setting precedents for new ways of real-time monitoring of air quality at key locations including schools. Additional real-time monitoring would be particularly useful where schools or the walking routes to them are on busy roads, such as Widcombe and Bathwick St Mary.
In December, a landmark decision was issued on a fresh inquest into the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah, a 9-year old girl who lived near part of the South Circular, a residential main road in South London. The publicity surrounding the case highlighted recognition of air pollution as a contributory factor in her death, but the case was much wider and will have implications for AQ monitoring and public information within Local Authorities. A welcome start within B&NES would be acceptance of the principle that, where displacement of traffic is likely to be caused by proposals and may adversely affect a significant number of homes or other key locations such as schools, meaningful monitoring of the impact on air quality and traffic should be carried out, with mitigation of adverse effects where possible. It ought not be necessary to fight for this in each case individually as in relation to the Queen Square changes.
5. Upper Bristol Road/North Road(City centre - University)/Combe Down-University consultations
Brief information about proposals for the above was published on the B&NES website a few weeks ago. A private consultation on these proposals was held for (unnamed) groups representing the disabled, cyclists and walkers. The very limited public information is at