How Bath's anti-terrorism plans will limit car access to city centre

Cheap Street is one of those the council propose to close to most cars, except for blue badge holders and businesses. Credit: Bath and North East Somerset Council.

A public consultation has been launched into proposals for new anti-terror measures in Bath, which would see roads around Bath Abbey closed to most vehicles.

The plans, drafted by Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES), call for Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO) - which would allow the council to install "hostile vehicle mitigation measures."

These are intended to reduce the risk of a vehicle-based terror attack, such as a car mounting the curb - but the TRO would also stop most vehicles from accessing the city centre.

The proposals include vehicle access restrictions on streets defined as crowded places in and around Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths.

Shoppers in Bath city centre. Credit: PA

The council says to implement or enforce parking restrictions of any kind on a public road, a Traffic Regulation Order first needs to be introduced.

It is now inviting residents and businesses to have their say on the TROs.

Drop-in sessions are being run by the council on 28 September, 4 October and 12 October at the Commercial Hub and people wanting to attend can sign up here.

All blue badge holders in B&NES will also receive letters inviting them to take part in the consultation.

Road closures

A public consultation on the plans is being held (pictured: Bath).

The new proposals would see a number of roads closed to all cars, excluding blue badge holders and their carers, as well as taxis transporting those with a blue badge.

These streets would be:

  • Closed between 10am and 6pm: Cheap Street, Westgate Street, Saw Close and Upper Borough Walls

  • Closed between 10am and 10pm: York Street

The council say extra blue badge spaces and parking would be created, outside of the restricted zone.

'A legal process'

The plans were initially drawn up based on a counter-terrorism survey of Bath carried out in September 2016, which sought to identify areas that are potentially vulnerable to a vehicle attack.

The TRO was then recommended by Avon and Somerset Police last year.

But they have been adapted after a previous consultation ran from November 2020 to January 2021, which took into account public opinion and an independent Accessibility Study.

Councillor Kevin Guy, council leader, said: “Before we can progress with the city centre security scheme to prevent vehicle attacks as agreed at Cabinet on July 20, we have to follow a legal process to put TROs and TROs for anti-terrorism purposes into place.

“Once the orders have been agreed, we are keen to consult further with disability and community groups on how it will be best for people to arrive at the gates, what street seating is needed and where, and the best design that meets accessibility needs as well as protecting the public.”

The council says blue badge parking spaces will not be affected by the plans.

This means those with a blue badge will be able to park on Cheap Street, Westgate Street and Upper Borough Walls on double yellow lines for a period of three hours, using controlled access.

Additional seating would also be introduced in Cheap Street and Westgate Street, while fully accessible ‘Parklets’ would be interspersed at approximately 50m intervals.

Dropped kerbs and footway surface improvements will also be introduced to allow improved accessibility from existing city centre car parks and proposed additional blue badge bays.

Councillor Manda Rigby, cabinet member for Transport, added: “This scheme involves proportionate, preventative measures to protect public safety, based on police advice that such a scheme needs to be introduced.

“However, we also have to make sure local residents, businesses and people with accessibility issues have a say on the traffic orders."