Editor : David Kernek (kernekdavid@gmail.com)

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.’

1 comment for Bath centre anti-terror plan … publish feedback, council told

  1. Jack Lomond says:

    This is Bath in the ‘20s. Not Belfast in the ‘70s. If there was a genuine terrorist threat, any terrorist would be just as likely be a pedestrian: the IRA bomb in Bath in 1974 was in The Corridor (which has no vehicle access); more recently, terrorists in the UK travelled on foot to bomb Manchester Arena, and the Tube and the buses in London.

    If there was a genuine terrorist threat, the council would therefore be building fortified observation posts at each entrance to the city centre, like the Downpatrick sangar in Belfast, now demolished); shoppers would have to pass through security gates to get on to Milsom Street and other central areas; people would be routinely frisked and bags would be searched for explosives by police; sniffer dogs would be brought.

    If there was a genuine terrorist threat, thecouncil would be building those structures and bringing in that infrastructure immediately to protect us from that alleged terrorist threat. But the council isn’t doing any of that. In these circumstances, I respectfully suggest that it is intellectually disingenuous to suggest that there is a genuine “terrorist threat” on the basis of which Blue Badge holders are to be discriminated against and denied access to the city centre … and I am very concerned that that discrimination may be in breach of the Equality Act.

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