Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Mark Durnford  01225 394458

No. Item




The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.




The Chairman will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 6.



The Chairman drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.





There were no apologies.



At this point in the meeting declarations of interest are received from Members in any of the agenda items under consideration at the meeting. Members are asked to indicate:

(a) The agenda item number in which they have an interest to declare.

(b) The nature of their interest.

(c) Whether their interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an other interest,  (as defined in Part 2, A and B of the Code of Conduct and Rules for Registration of Interests)

Any Member who needs to clarify any matters relating to the declaration of interests is recommended to seek advice from the Council’s Monitoring Officer or a member of his staff before the meeting to expedite dealing with the item during the meeting.


There were none.




There was none.



At the time of publication, one member of the public has registered to speak.


Three members of the public made statements to the Panel as follows:


Dr David Dunlop spoke about the importance of learning from the floods that have affected the UK in recent years.  He represented the fears and concerns of those living on the east of Bath who suffered from flooding at Christmas in 2013.  He stated that it was acknowledged that sea level will increase by 17% in the next 35 years and having tested the flow of the River Avon there is a 1% chance of flooding in any given year likely to be 25% greater in scale due to climate change.  He gave the record figures for river flow in Cumbria, Tyneside and Northumberland as a result of storm Desmond in December 2015.  These rivers all normally have a flow similar to the River Avon. He also made reference to obstruction at the bridges.


A copy of the statement can be found on the Panel’s Minute Book.


Alan Aldous spoke about his position on the Strategic Flood Board that brought together partners to discuss flooding in the River Avon catchment area which went from Marlborough to the Mendips to Bristol and out to the Severn, which had a huge tidal range.  He showed the Panel a map of the catchment and stated that all the water in Bath came from Wiltshire so there was a need to coordinate with Wiltshire. 


He queried a reference to EA marina on page 32 in the Water Space Study which was confirmed as an error.


He went on to discuss land ownership and stated that much of the river was privately owned and BANES was the planning authority.


Ian Herve (Member of Abbey Ward Flood Group and speaks for the Federation of Bath Residents Association on flooding).  He referred to the River Avon options appraisal report of September 2016 and stated that none of the schemes will reduce the flood risk for residents upstream of Churchill Bridge.  He urged not to direct attention to the changes to the Radial Gate and Weir at Pulteney Bridge as this was a distraction from more important matters.  He stated that the Environment Agency were bound by Treasury spending rules and could not justify funding the flood reduction plans laid out in the study.  They called for a moratorium on the work at Twerton and Pulteney Weir until a realistic cost analysis of a flood in Bath could be made with an allowance for climate change and a long term scheme for flood risk reduction for all of Bath.


A copy of the statement can be found on the Panel’s Minute Book.


MINUTES - 10th January 2017 pdf icon PDF 101 KB


The Panel confirmed the minutes of the previous meeting as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chairman.


Cabinet Member Update

The Cabinet Member(s) will update the Panel on any relevant issues. Panel members may ask questions on the update(s) provided.



The Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones addressed the Panel, see the summary below.


He started off in reference to a point made by Councillor Blackburn at a previous meeting regarding the lack of support for businesses locally.  He had discussed this point with Economic Development Officers and informed the Panel that a new officer had been recruited to support businesses in the area.  There was a Business Assist Target of 65 per quarter and in the last quarter 83 businesses had been supported.


He went on to inform the Panel about some of the meetings he attended: the Independent Traders and Council Officers where further liaison was planned; a Bath Preservation event where there was a very good exhibition at Royal Crescent; Kingsmead Square and the Public Realm where it was hoped to create a piazza environment to improve the quality of the area during business hours; he had met with his fellow Bristol City Council Cabinet Member to discuss shared interests like tourism and devolution, the arts and the Arts Council; he had visited the Old Mill site which he believed would be a huge asset to the Council; Bath Quays South where the recent planning application had been heavily criticised by English Heritage and needed reworking; and the waterside and Quays Bridge development which was going to the Development Management Committee the following day.


Following the update there were questions.


Councillor Cherry Beath queried the modification to the development and did not want the employment space affected?  Councillor Anketell-Jones responded that the modifications were to the atrium space.


Councillor Cherry Beath spoke of the importance of the Cultural Forum which was a ‘not for profit’ group and queried whether the group was folding due to lack of funds?  Councillor Anketell-Jones replied that the future of the group was under discussion.


Councillor Barry Macrae stated with reference to the recent meetings the Cabinet Member had attended, that they were all in Bath and queried what was happening in Midsomer Norton and the Somer Valley where there was a lack of footfall?  There had been a meeting with Bath Tourism and there were no boundaries for tourism in the area and retail.  He spoke about local competitors – Southgate and Cribbs Causeway.  The Cabinet Member reassured Councillor Macrae that he was thinking of the Somer Valley as well and would welcome an invitation to the local Chamber of Commerce.


The Cabinet Member for Homes and Planning, Councillor Liz Richardson also addressed the Panel, see the summary below.


With regard to the catchment area referred to in the Water Space Study she sat on the Wessex Regional Flood Committee which covered an area including Bournemouth, Poole and South Gloucestershire.  She explained with regard to land that local owners put forward land and potential development was put into the plan. 


In relation to Housing Services there was a successful bid for £450,000 for housing and technology for people with learning disabilities. There had been another successful  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.


Flood Risk Management pdf icon PDF 115 KB

As part of a Scrutiny Panel update on Flood Risk Management, the Chairman, Councillor Will Sandry submitted a number of specific questions in relation to flood risk management. This report has been written as a reply to those questions.

Additional documents:


The Chair, having consulted the Panel, stated that discussion on the Pulteney and Twerton gates would be deferred until the next item.


The Chair introduced Ed Lockington and Deborah Steadman from the Environment Agency and Daniel Noad, Emergency Management Team Leader and Stephen Bell, Communications Hub Manager.


Jim Collings (Flood Authority Manager) presented the report and welcomed discussion and comments.  He went on to explain that the Strategic Flood Board was an organisation that looked at risk management and the authorities involved had to co-operate and work together as part of a statutory function from the Flood and Water Management Act (2010). 


The Strategic River Group had a tight remit to develop schemes along the River Avon relating to surface water and drainage.  Councillor Cherry Beath suggested a report from this group would be useful.


Jim McEwen (Drainage Engineer) explained that they were statutory consultees on all major planning applications and any application needed to demonstrate there was no increased flood risk to the site or surrounding area.  With climate change DEFRA (the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) stated there was a variable % increase effect on rainfall between 20-40% which is used in the assessment of consequent surface run-off from the site whereas a different climate change factor(s) are used for river flooding assessments.


Councillor Fiona Darey stated that in her experience of working with the South Gloucestershire planners this work was a struggle with small developments and was too much asked for?  Jim Collings explained that the Council had been confused by the lack of Government guidance initially but now had developed one regional guide that was to be used for all of the West of England (West of England Sustainable Drainage Developer Guide).  Jim McEwen added that the team worked hard to promote drainage standards, for example the team have attended the Planning Forum and they were receiving 50 applications per month.


Councillor Fiona Darey went on to ask about the flow of water from Wiltshire?  Jim Collings responded that managing flooding on a catchment scale was the job of the Environment Agency (EA) as they looked at the larger scale and main river systems.  Councillor Fiona Darey went on to ask about the flow of water from Wiltshire?  Jim Collings responded that passing flow was the job of the Environment Agency (EA) as they looked at the larger scale.  Councillor Darey came back and stated that was the issue BANES dealt with surface flow and the EA the larger scale main rivers.  Jim McEwen explained that data was collected from properties and if it was surface water they would investigate and give it a score and find the cause and impact.  The Drainage and Flooding Team have been working with the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group recently and there were different incentives for farmers.


Councillor Cherry Beath asked what was seen as successful progress in the area and what was the main difficulty?  Jim Collings explained that work in Chew Magna had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.


Water Space Study and Twerton and Pulteney Gates Project pdf icon PDF 122 KB

This report covers two issues, the first is the draft WaterSpace Study which is currently being finalised for public consultation which the Panel are asked to comment on. The second is an update on the Strategic Flood Management project in Bath, specifically the proposal to focus efforts to secure investment to replace/refurbish Bath’s city water level control gates at Twerton & Pulteney.

Additional documents:


Tim Hewitt, Regeneration Team Manager, gave a presentation on the Strategic Flood Project a joint project to prioritise funding bids and develop a business case to replace or refurbish Bath’s water level control gates at Twerton and Pulteney.  He explained there was partnership between BANES and the Environment Agency (EA).  The gates needed investment to avoid future failure putting 500 properties at risk.


He gave a detailed explanation of the different proposals and recommended option 2 as it had the biggest benefit within a cost which could be achieved through grant funding without significant Council support.  It would maintain the current performance of Twerton gate, and enable some improvements to the Pulteney gate.  This option did not preclude further works in the future should funding become available.


Councillor Fiona Darey asked what the timescale for the programme was?  Deborah Steadman (EA) stated that the business case would be next year with a solution in approximately two years, depending on which option there would need to be public engagement and a cost assessment nearer the time.


Councillor Cherry Beath asked about the extent of the aesthetic improvements to Pulteney as part of the work?  Tim Hewitt said that Pulteney Bridge was Grade 1 listed along with the buildings and the Radial Gate could do with some work to help improve the surroundings and the public realm.  He indicated there was the potential for redevelopment of the rugby ground at the same time as large machinery would be needed for the work and combining the two might be sensible.


Councillor Colin Blackburn asked about the gate condition survey results?  Ed Lockington (EA) stated that the results of the condition assessment were not yet available so the exact issues were not yet known.  The results of diving and samples taken to assess the condition would be known by the end of the month.  Dr David Dunlop asked about the funding if the UK was still in Europe. 


Councillor Barry Macrae queried the logic in looking at this when realistically money was tight?  He said the priority was lives not the buildings.  Councillor Fiona Darey followed by asking if the gate failed now could there be an immediate solution?  Ed Lockington (EA) replied that there are contingencies in place and emergency works would require a large crane.  Councillor David Veale said that with tons of water coming down it would seem to be more urgent and followed by talking about Italy and the recent earthquakes where there were so many unknowns?  Ed Lockington responded again that it was a high priority and the EA was looking at the optimum way forward.  With the condition survey results ready at the end of the month we should find out if it was more or less urgent.  Bath had a good level of flood alleviation in place which was why there was no more frequent flooding.  He believed the baseline position was good but further assessment was needed and he acknowledged there were not huge amounts  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.


Panel Workplan pdf icon PDF 110 KB

This report presents the latest workplan for the Panel. Any suggestions for further items or amendments to the current programme will be logged and scheduled in consultation with the Panel’s Chairman and supporting officers.



The Chairman introduced this item to the Panel.  He explained that at the next meeting the Chair of the City of Bath World Heritage Site Steering Group would be reporting.  He would be finishing in his role after four years and it was felt appropriate to bring the report to this panel.


Councillor Barry Macrae suggested a future item on the future of retailing in district centres.


Councillor Lisa O’Brien suggested two items – the economic development aspect of tourism and how communites can be supported to enhance their environments and a future update item on the Mulberry Development.


RESOLVED that items for the Workplan be noted.