Bath & North East Somerset Council has released an independent study that highlights the impact of proposals to restrict vehicles in the centre of Bath as part of new security measures.
The report highlights a potential “detrimental effect” on the wellbeing of people who would be limited in accessing the city centre, such as those who are disabled or have accessibility needs, such as blue badge holders.
The council has also published the findings of a consultation on the proposed measures, which received 522 responses.
Much of the feedback focused on the concerns the proposals would have on people’s lives, especially residents with accessibility needs.
The proposed “ring of steel” security measures would see all parking, including for blue badge holders, removed from a secure zone and road access limited.
The changes would be introduced to reduce the risk of terrorist attacks in the city, and alongside road restrictions, would see the installation of purpose-designed street furniture and bollards to enhance public safety.
A B&NES Council cabinet meeting set for 23rd June will discuss the recommendations advised for the next steps for the proposed scheme.
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.
“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 1st 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, added: “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.”
Atkins, who put together the Accessibility Study, has suggested the implementation of a permit-based system to allow access to the secure zone or alternatively an electric shuttle between the city’s car parks and the centre.
To read the Accessibility Study and Consultation Feedback Report documents and to respond, visit: https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/bath-city-centre-security-consultation-update.
Information about the consultation is available on request in other languages, audio, Braille, large print or other formats.
To request another format, email [email protected] or call 01225 39 40 41.