Monday, July 04, 2005

Call In result for Bathwick Traffic Regulation Orders

Residents have lost their battle to prevent parking restrictions being introduced on two Bathwick roads. People living on St Catherine's Close and St Mary's Close reacted angrily earlier this year when Bath and North East Somerset Council said it would be introducing yellow lines along the streets. They claimed they had not been properly consulted.

The residents received the backing of a number of councillors and had the decision called in, meaning that it would be reviewed by the council.

However, at a meeting held earlier this month, the council's planning, transportation, economy and sustainability overview and scrutiny panel dismissed the call-in after hearing evidence from council officers, councillors and Bathwick residents.

Although the councillors on the panel agreed unanimously to reject the call-in, they made several recommendations to Cllr Sir Elgar Jenkins, the executive member for transport and highways, to help improve the consultation process in the future and make it more user-friendly for the public.

These included asking the executive member to review how much weight was placed on residents' views when considering the introduction of similar policies. They also asked for general leaflets to be drawn up for the public, explaining how the council reached its decisions.

In their ruling, the panel also said they would review the Bathwick decision in 12 months' time.

Resident Peter Try said: "While we are disappointed the panel rejected the call-in, we are pleased the panel made recommendations which will help improve the process in the future and make it more user-friendly for the public.

"In particular, we welcome the council's commitment to consider how much weight is placed on residents' wishes and to review this individual decision in a year.

"We are now looking forward to working with the parking team to explore how the scheme should be implemented and its performance monitored."

Cllr David Dixon, chair of the scrutiny panel, said: "Sometimes decisions are made that may not be popular with all residents and this is the case here.

"The panel could not, however, find any reason to uphold the call-in, as the current procedure has been followed, and we recognise that the council does more than is statutorily necessary.

"It is more important now than ever, that we consult more and help residents understand the process as the cost of public services are ever increasing. Residents, quite rightly, should be involved in our decision-making processes."

Cllr Jenkins first approved plans to implement the restrictions at the end of May.