Calling out this misinformation on the Walcot Ward Liveable Neighbourhood bid
This is the second of two leaflets circulated recently by a Mr Scofield from Twerton. Perhaps his lack of local knowledge explains his inaccuracies? He has strung together a set of misleading assertions that seem intended to create division between communities rather than contribute to the general debate. At no stage has he made any attempt to test his assertions with this organisation, consequently we are compelled to do it for him below. There’s also plenty on our website, which he has not used, to show how we have tried to consider all the potential consequences were Camden to get some form of LTN. We fully understand that how it is implemented will be crucial to its success and that any negative effects on other areas would need mitigation and modifications. We would welcome advice and help from our local communities, even Mr Scofield if he is willing to work with us in good faith and constructiveness.
Firstly the ‘bigger picture’ is ignored by him. This picture explains that a large change is required in how we travel in Bath for us all to be healthier and safer. This is best explained in this CRA post from last October which draws information from a Council webinar held the previous day. It would be helpful to understand what his answer to the man Bath issues of traffic congestion and air quality are if he is unprepared to back the Council’s Liveable Neighbourhood strategy. At the moment it strikes us as Bath’s best hope.
Taking his assertions in the order made:
- The CRA did not put in a bid – our ward councillors did, which we understand included measures for areas outside ‘Camden’ itself including lower Walcot, Snow Hill and London Road. This was in accordance with stage 1 of five stage the process outlined in the Council’s ‘consultation summary brochure’ from last summer (page 19).
- As per the instructions, we were guided not to request any particular solutions, such as bus gates, but to describe the problems faced – consequently there were no solutions proffered. We have have worked up potential solution ideas ourselves for discussion with neighbouring groups but according to the Council’s five step process these would only be considered at stages 3 and 4.
- Then stating that the CRA ‘know’ the consequence of ‘such a scheme’, whatever it might be, without providing genuine evidence is invalid and tendentious. Had Mr Scofield actually been at the AGM to hear as well as see the Chair’s report he, like the rest of the audience, would have appreciated that the quote came from a Camden resident, not the CRA itself, and was used by the Chair to illustrate the difficulty of not dealing with the larger situation and the possibility of unintended consequences. Quite the opposite of how Mr Scofield has portrayed it.
- The 7,000 figure was not a CRA figure but a council estimate from before 2017 and this is made clear. Of greater relevance and accuracy is the CRA’a analysis published from a council-run exercise in May 2019 which is just over half that. The report also goes on to contrast the safety aspects of walking on and alongside roads not designed for the traffic levels and speeds now experienced.
- The originators of the LTN concept identified that, if well designed, an LTN need not cause significant displacement elsewhere but will certainly cause ‘modal shift’ away from vehicle journeys to active travel. We would de delighted to see many more ‘active travellers’ along our neighbourhood streets. According to the Council’s process any solutions will be subject to experimental traffic orders which intrinsically have full safeguards in place, before, during and after implementation. See here for a short description of the relevant legislation. This should reduce the heat and fumes Mr Scofield appears to be stoking up.
- The CRA is an apolitical organisation and the Committee was satisfied that its views on the problems local to Camden were reflected fairly in the local councillors’ bid, so Mr Scofield’s understanding of the bid process is the the wrong way round. Consequently the CRA has no outstanding questions about how our local councillors operated. They were representing the whole of Walcot ward, did as they were instructed by the Council project team in this exercise and acted as the centre for neighbourhoods in their ward who could see potential opportunities that the Liveable Neighbourhoods Strategy offered.
- The bidding process has not given us any ‘heads up’ on the decisions made – we are waiting like everyone else for the Council to pronounce on the first candidate wards to be considered to go forward.
In summary, seven assertions, none of which stand up to scrutiny, but left unchallenged do support a highly misleading and tendentious narrative.
if Walcot gets through stage 1, the CRA fully expect to participate in the next stages of the process with all other representative groups in the local area.
Finally, Mr Scofield is encouraged to use the means of reply this blogpost offers. This is somewhat more open, magnanimous and fair than his dealings appear thus far.