As events really begin to hot up regarding air quality in Bath the Camden Residents Association is beginning to align itself with other bodies who:
- are suggesting the same sort of direction for Bath and its air quality and congestion problems as we are, and
- already have an influence on the main decision making authorities.
My postbag has the latest report on transport issues from Patrick Rotheram, Transport Lead at FoBRA for their next Committee Meeting. FoBRA is the Federation of Bath Residents Associations – there are currently 29 associations as members – and they do get a seat around important tables and seem to be at the main public meetings. They are worth the £50 membership fee.
I’ll draw out a few relevant points from his report:
- The council have approved their changes to inner city parking arrangements but FoBRA believe that the recently approved changes to inner city parking prices and durations will achieve very little, which is a softer but similar line to the protests I made to these measures. Key amongst these is that parking in the city will often be cheaper than using the Park and Ride.
- Sunday parking will remain unrestricted, despite the city centre being very full on what many regard to be a special day. This remains at odds with parking zones 15 and 16, in Camden and Walcot, which continues to be restricted on Sundays. This does seem anomalous and means our week-end visitors pay for parking whereas others in Bath don’t, but at least our residents and their visitors do get priority for parking space on Sundays. Why not the rest of Bath?
- FoBRA and the CRA were well represented at the first two of a series of ‘transport events’ involving Wera Hobhouse, and these have been covered by this blog, In Patrick’s summing up he has pulled out the main agreed aims:
- less traffic and pollution
- more pedestrianisation
- more P&R
- better public transport
- He observes that there is nothing new here as these were virtually unanimously agreed in the Council’s last Transport Strategy in 2014, but, four years later, where is the plan of action? The inertia requires real visionary leadership to shift, in my view. There are some big ideas ‘out there’ and there really has to be some concerted effort to work these up into something we can all buy into.I, for one, am glad to live in Bath but feel it could be so much better for all who use it if we improved its amenity value rather than having to preserve the accessibility of its centre to private traffic.
- The small bits of progressive news are threefold:
- Bath’s air quality is so poor that the High Court has been directed central government and the council to come up with an air quality plan in initial form by the end of this month which make loud and clear on this blog’s home page. This will surely have some element of traffic reduction as most pollution comes from vehicles. The CRA has to ensure that restricted traffic does not leak through the Larkhall and Camden road systems.
- Bus routes 6 and 7 will get cleaner burning Euro6 buses from July this year
- The collective will for a Bath-wide long term solution is increasing and hopefully this will include compromise too for the collective good.
Finally a repeat of thanks to Larkhall Transition and their hosting of their event on snowy Saturday. A mountain of output has arisen from that which we’ll sift through and summarise on this blog soon.
As an addendum to this the Chair of CRA brought up points 1-3 above at the FoBRA meeting on 20/03.
- P&R costs more than driving in – universal agreement that this looks illogical. Apparently it might be due to the council wanting to gain parking data from a phone app they are expecting B&NES residents to use to claim the discount. There was not much sympathy for this and it looked more like a perverse measure.
- Parking on Sunday – interest from committee that if the Zone 11 and 15 Sunday restrictions are generally liked by their residents then this was strong evidence for FoBRA to use.
- Vision – There did seem to be an agreement that a grand vision of amenity value over car-usership, which would then influence every planning decision, might well capture the imaginations of the majority in Bath as well as its visitors and start getting change to happen. This needs a very strong ‘guardian of the vision’ to stop deviation.