Bath’s York Street will close under Traffic Regulation Orders from Thursday August 4.
These orders are the final part of a process to close the road following a public inquiry held in April and approval from the Secretary of State for Transport.
The road will close between 10am-6pm for the purpose of anti-terrorism and between 6pm and 10pm for the purpose of preventing danger and avoiding danger to persons or other traffic using the road or damage to the road.
The public inquiry was heard after one person upheld their right to object but the Inspector appointed to conduct the inquiry said he found a clear and compelling case for the making of the traffic order and he complimented the council on the way the consultation had been conducted.
The Inspector considered it to be a proportionate response after hearing statements from the police and counter-terrorism advisors confirming that the restriction was requested by the police and was necessary, and while for less time than they would like, was still proportionate.
Bath & North East Somerset Council will now write to residents and businesses to explain the process of closing the road permanently and alternative access arrangements. Details of alternative access can also be found on the access webpage.
Initial fibre ducting work, as part of the council scheme to install security measures, started in June and is progressing well with works now complete ahead of schedule in Burton Street and Terrace Walk
The contractor carrying out the work has now moved to Lower Borough Walls and Hot Bath Street to complete the final stage of ducting works, these are expected to be complete by mid September.
The first stage of installing the permanent measures are the advance works required for ducting and the movement of utilities prior to the installation of the hostile vehicle mitigation sliding and static bollards.
Utility works are expected to start in the autumn and Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders (TTROs) will be used to enable road closures In York street to cover the contractors 8-5pm hours. The road closures will only be in place during the works and when signs and marshals are in position.
Due to the unique nature of the city and highway construction, there are a number of challenges within the programme. These include working above existing vaults and cellars, working in close proximity to utility apparatus and maintaining access to the restricted streets for exempt vehicles.
The council has carried out investigative works but until contractors get on site the construction timeline is estimated and completion dates can’t be guaranteed. Any residents or businesses wishing to receive regular e:newsletters on the scheme can visit the project webpage.
In February 2020 Avon & Somerset Police Chief Constable asked the council to consider an ATTRO covering the wider city centre of Bath which would be used in the event of a heightened threat, specific intelligence, as a result of an incident or if there are events taking place that create crowded places.
Following consultation with Counter Terrorism security advisors and the council, which centred around the crowded places indicated within the National Counter Terrorism Security Office report, it was considered proportionate to introduce permanent restrictions covering a smaller area in the city centre resulting in the current measures, which the Chief Constable supported.
The council has continued to work alongside the Counter Terrorism advisors to protect these areas, through both physical measures and training for front line staff, both from public and private sector.
A recent public inquiry into the closure of York Street found the council had a ’clear and compelling case’ to close the street that this was a ‘proportionate response’. It also found that the council had carried out an ‘extensive consultation exercise’.