Bath centre anti-terror plan … publish feedback, council told
Little if anything has been heard recently of the council’s controversial so-called anti-terrorist scheme for the town’s historic centre. This is the proposal that would see static and sliding bollards blocking traffic access 24/7, the removal of on-street parking for disabled drivers, and a ban on delivery services – including food, parcels and other goods – in the security zone. The defence measures proposed would not, clearly, be any sort of obstacle for terrorists planning attacks on foot or on cycles and e-scooters.
What is known is that more than 500 consultation responses have been sent to the council, which says the comments made by residents and businesses ‘will be taken into account, along with the recommendations from an accessibility adviser. These results and any proposed modifications and mitigations to the original consultation proposals will be progressed in accordance with the council’s decision-making process’.
Publishing consultation responses, however, does not yet appear to be a feature of the council’s decision-making process, which is why several Freedom of Information (FoI) requests asking for the feedback to be published have been sent by residents and businesses to Bath & NE Somerset Council. To date, no replies to these requests have been received.
The Freedom of Information Act requires authorities to reply within 20 working days, but environmental information regulations say that if a public body needs more time – if the information requested is particularly complex – the time limit can be extended by a further 20 working days as long as it responds within the initial 20-day time limit stating when it believes it will be able to reply in full.
It’s reasonable to assume that many of those 500+ responses will fall more than somewhat short of unmitigated support. Some might even suggest that the scheme uses the terrorism threat – one that is faced every day in every street in every town in the land – as an excuse to further the council’s anti-car crusade.
The plan has been described by critics as ‘draconian’ and ‘deeply unfair’.
‘Anyone living in this area’ says the Abbey Residents’ Association, ‘will be essentially trapped unless they are able to walk, cycle or use mobility vehicles to reach shops and other facilities including blue badge and general-purpose parking areas.’