At the Bath Deserves Open meeting we promised to collate questions which would be passed to Tim Warren and the Council to answer.

Below you will find the questions and any answers we have received.

 

Questions from Bathampton Meadows Alliance

Why has it taken since 2013 and overall spend of £3.3m to realise that access to a park and ride on the Meadows is too dangerous? Why wasn’t it stopped earlier?

No answer as yet

Who are the Officers responsible for assembling appropriate evidence, overseeing the modelling and framing the decision-making process for complex infrastructure projects with multiple independent and highly uncertain impacts? Why are they not here tonight defending the way they did it for P&R East and learning how they might do it better for future transport projects?

No answer as yet

With 10,000 residents driving to work in Bath and 5,000 kids on the school run each way each day, what are you doing about these thousands of local car journeys?

No answer as yet

Will the council commit to Ward-level modal share targets and define policy appropriately i.e. % going by car/foot/bike?

No answer as yet

Please formalise the relationship between Wiltshire and the JWE Transport Strategy as Bath’s problems must include Wiltshire?

No answer as yet

Having spent millions since 2009 consulting on a P&R, will the council now invite front runners in public transport and traffic infrastructure to come and visit Bath to investigate and give advice e.g. Hasselt and Copenhagen?

No answer as yet

Will we now have comprehensive evidence used in decision-making for the future transport strategy?

No answer as yet

On behalf of the RUH patients and staff and residents of Newbridge and Weston, please can we have a park and ride dedicated bus to assess the reduction of congestion and commuter parking in the surrounding streets of the hospital?

No answer as yet

No-one can blame the Council for the number of cars coming in. Will they consider congestion charging?

No answer as yet

Can the vaults below the London Road continue to support the HGV traffic? Can this road be declassified under devolution?

No answer as yet

Are you going to invite some of these talented people to help with transport?

No answer as yet

Questions Asked On The Night & Response Received:

Is the Council willing to work to make the Meadows permanently safe from development?

I can’t give it away on behalf of Bath council, but during our administration nothing will be built on the meadows. I can say that today. We can’t there are safety issues.

Please undertake that any new transport proposals will have evidence behind them of a far higher analytical standard, including a focus on habits and behaviours?

We have to agree to disagree a little bit. I do feel we have evidence. We have the evidence from Mott McDonald. Evidence can be looked at in different ways. What I will say is that we have a transport commission and we will find a way for you to interact with them. Whether it’s with members of that commission I can’t promise because I’m not on the commission, but I will find a way to interact and that should help out.

Please commit to an overarching assessment of why people are in their cars and what it would take to get them out of them conducted by a neutral body, such as a university, rather than the Council’s private consultants?

Neutral body – I will look at that. We are working with Bath University – they are looking at Electric vehicles. They would love to take on something like this… Yes the school run, we’re going to look at the run. The school run’s a bit of a funny thing because it’s not the kids, it’s the fact that parents are away from work too (Ed note: average parent holiday 5 weeks vs state school holidays of 13 weeks!). But it’s in the list of things we resleased today in the press release.

Will Tim Warren commit to focus with cabinet and senior officers on the Nolan principles in everything that they do at all times?

I genuinely believe every Councillor sets out to do a good job. I’ve never met one that hasn’t. Or officers to be honest with you so I believe we work to those principles.

Last March we were told there was no magic money tree. Since then the council has been found to have spent £3.3m on the EP&R feasibility and the Conservative government has spent £1bn securing a working majority in parliament. Which does TW think is best value for money for B&NES hard-working family taxpayers?

We haven’t spent £3.3m. There then ensued a discussion about what was spent on and when. For example in the Libdem administration there was the purchase of the farmhouse. £794k had been spent by the current administration. Some of it went on internal fees. Much of that was used on traffic modelling that can be used again. In the previous administration between 2007 and 2011 there was £1.3m spent under the Bath Transport Package. It’s still money, but I’m putting forward why it isn’t £3.3m. (Member of public putting forward question challenged if this is really true and if money is really tight then this project has been a whole waste of money). TW was happy to show the figures afterwards. Christine Boyd asks to speak as this data was the subject of her FOI. She put forward that the spends cited by Tim are right up until this administration in her view but in this administration the January 2017 cabinet report said money already allocated had been spent and another £500k was needed. Money allocated in this administration includes one tranche of £500k and two further tranches of £300k, a total of £1.1m. Christine adds the total cited by Tim for this administration is external consultant fees, not the total amount. TW happy to share that proves what the money is. CB says if the council has changed it’s mind since the FOI then she would like an updated FOI response please.

In the press release from today, the only statistics in there are about the A36/46 link road. They say that such a proposal would take 4% of through traffic off the road. That data is based on 2013 data. It is old data. The question is – why does Tim not challenge our council to produce documentation that is properly sourced with up to date and relevant information, because otherwise the transparency just goes? Had you done that in 2015, we wouldn’t be here now.

On the A36/A46 link road we are going to do a feasibility study. The reality is, the evidence is on the London Road and if we can’t do a park and ride and we can’t do a link road then we have to do something (Ed Note: if we knew reasons for travel across the city then we would start to know what the right solutions were). Strategically transport moves to the West of England and they are looking for high quality transport engineers.

Firstly on the 2005 report mentioned in the presentation, two facts not mentioned about it were that the author was a trustee of the BPT who after a distinguished military career became a planning inspector and chaired public inquiries into the channel tunnel so he knew what he was talking about. That report also makes reference to the A36/A46 link road something that before gathering evidence, he had been quite in favor of, but having looked at the evidence, he recognised that the only way to start was by looking at the A350 as the North-South route. I would like to hear guarantees that before spending money on public inquiry into A36/46 route there will be serious consideration and pressure and working with Wiltshire Council to look at resurrecting the Westbury bypass by another route and properly dualling aspects of the A350.

We are in conversations with Wiltshire Council and Highways England and it is already being looked at.

On the B&NES website there is a statement about the necessity of P&R and I have done some research on traffic on the London Road on the Dept for Transport website and on the London Road between 2000 and 2015,traffic flows have gone down every year bar one. Started at 30,000 cars/day and by 2015 it was 20,000 cars/day. If traffic is going down, can we think about a policy that would discourage more people from travelling into Bath? Can we publish this data on the website as well?

We are doing our best. We are working with MetroWest now that should help. It is difficult – people use and like their cars. If you live in the country and there isn’t a bus then you struggle. One of the ways is to have P&R if only they got used. We get 2 million users a year. If you took those users away it would make it even busier. We are progressing MetroWest, we are looking at the feasibility of Trams. The core strategy has thousands of new jobs and houses. (see final question below where TW was asked again to publish data and he agreed)

We have 3 buses into Batheaston – isn’t it about time the council looked at subsidising some of these bus services? If we did this we would probably have less traffic on the London Road

If buses are used they don’t need to be subsidised. They only thing is if they aren’t used. We can’t afford to subsidise buses any more as a council. 76p in every £1 goes on adult social care and childrens’ services so it doesn’t leave a lot. With the West of England mayor, we can now franchise buses where we can bundle together good and bad routes and that is the only way we can subsidise.

You said re the second of the presentation’s questions that you disagreed – that there was evidence for a park and ride. I would ask that you publish this so that we can see it. That is evidence of park and ride and movement of people and how park and ride will fix this.

Re evidence and the website, yes I can make that happen