Response from Conservative Group to Cllr Rigby’s Ring of Steel ‘fake news’ jibe

Cllr Vic Pritchard, Leader of the Conservative Group on Bath and North East Somerset Council, said: “Throughout this process, the Conservative Group has sought only to highlight the damaging effects the Ring of Steel could have on residents and businesses in Bath.

“The administration has taken an unnecessarily hostile approach to pursuing this policy. They have repeatedly dismissed the concerns of residents, failed to answer direct questions at public meetings and only released information after being subject to demands under the Freedom of Information Act.   

“I remind the administration that it was only after the findings of an independent accessibility study were published that some concessions were finally made for blue badge holders. That these concerns were not properly addressed at the start of this process has created unimaginable stress for people, and shows how little members of this Cabinet care about some of our most vulnerable residents.

“The Ring of Steel received Cabinet approval in July. At no point in the text of the accompanying report is it made clear that two separate ATTROs are being proposed, nor has it been made clear in any of the Council’s recent communications.

“In fact, there does not appear to be any documentary record of the Ring of Steel being formed of two separate ATTROs. This could give residents the impression that the second ATTRO referred to by Cllr Rigby is a recent addition.

“Furthermore, it has been implied from early 2020 that the policy was in response to a direct, written request from the police. The letter sent by the police to the council in 2020 does not reflect what was implied. Our criticism highlighted that disparity.

“It is disappointing to see the administration use the terrible events in Liverpool, which are still coming to light, to make a party political attack. It does a disservice to residents to indulge in this kind of behaviour.

“We urge the administration to listen more carefully to the very real concerns of residents, and we would be happy to work in a cross-party manner to find solutions which strike a better balance between security and equality for all residents.”