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Open Letter to Mark Shelford

by Richard Samuel on 16 May, 2018

Here is the text of a letter I wrote to Cllr Mark Shelford on 3rd May 2018. In it I detail the action I believe he should take to redress the mess left by the Council when it uprooted trees in 5 of the planters in February.

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Letter to Cllr Mark Shelford

3rd May 2018

Dear Mark

Thank you for coming to the Riverside meeting a few weeks ago to explain the position to local residents concerning the works on London Road and the particular issue of the planters.

I am sure you will have noted the strong concern from local residents at the meeting from London Road about the peremptory action by the Council in removing the trees from a number of the planters and a desire to return to the status quo of properly planted and maintained planters in their current positions.

At the meeting you told residents that you were considering options and would make a decision in due course. To aid your decision I am writing to set out what action I, as ward councillor, would like to see happen.

Firstly I would like you to establish once and for all whether there is indeed any form of risk posed by the current siting of the planters. The 2015 safety audit made minimal reference to this problem which I consider requires a better study. The point was made at the meeting by one resident that a tree was removed at the planter on the left hand side of Weymouth Street where there cannot possibly be a sight-line issue as the road is a dual carriageway. There is also ambiguity as to whether the latest audit contradicts previous highway sign offs as no-one has been able to produce any documents.

Second you committed to the meeting to consider the question of the obscuring of sight lines by advertising on the second inbound bus shelter near to Morrisons. I wrote to you on the 22nd January 2018 concerning the fact that 2 bus stops are sited within 100m of each other. You replied that you would look into the question. To date I have received no substantive answer.

On 22nd January I also wrote to you concerning the paving at Anglo Terrace which the Council has yet to finish from the 2014 scheme. I understand the pavers are stored awaiting laying. It is essential that these long outstanding works are now completed. It also essential that the section of paving near Ripples,  recently removed by utilities contractors is reinstated. This has been reported by me to officers.

Third I would like to see published for public consultation, as soon as possible, your plans for the planters. These have remained neglected now for too long and you need to move to a decision about what to do, which cannot be endlessly delayed. It is clear that residents would prefer to see the planters moved within London Road if this is necessary and not relocated to a city centre site as you alluded to at the meeting.

Finally I believe local residents would be prepared to take on maintenance of these planters and would probably do a better job than has been managed so far.

The cost in moving these planters at a time of public expenditure constraint cannot in my view be justified nor can action that degrades London Road in the way that has happened. I am therefore calling on you to halt this pointless exercise and ensure that this important gateway to the city from the east is a credit to the council and residents.

Yours sincerely

Richard Samuel

Councillor for Walcot Ward

Bath and North East Somerset Council

 

 

Councillor Shelford has acknowledged my letter but has not replied to the points raised in it.

So yesterday I helped members of the London Road and Snow Hill Partnership (LRSHP) to weed three of the planters and put back one of the trees. The planters were full of invasive weeds and clearly had not been looked after by the Parks Department staff since responsibility was returned to the Council in September 2017.

It is a disgrace that members of the public should have to take such direct action because the Council appears to care so little about their neighbourhood. However it was good fun working with the LRSHP and we had many positive comments from passing members of the public. Thank you also to Hobsons Choice for supplying much needed tea.

   1 Comment

One Response

  1. Ann Dunlop says:

    It is also worth pointing out the absence of accidents at these side road junctions since the planters arrived compared with the frequent accidents at the entrances to Kensington Place and Grosvenor Place over the last ten years.

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