Bath ‘Public Realm’ strategy receives broad support

A wide-ranging long-term strategy to improve the streets and public spaces in the centre of Bath over the coming years has been given final approval after receiving broad support from Bath residents and local organisations.

B&NES Council’s Public Realm and Movement Strategy, entitled ‘Creating the Canvas for Public Life in Bath’, has been the subject of an extensive consultation exercise over the past year. The Cabinet endorsed the Strategy in May 2009, with final approval to proceed with the strategy required after detailed consultation comments had been carefully considered.

Following the publication of a report from Council Officers detailing responses to key points raised during the consultation, B&NES Cabinet Councillors Terry Gazzard and Charles Gerrish, responsible for Major Projects and Customer Services, have now given the strategy the green-light.

The plans for the city centre received a warm welcome from a range of organisations including the Federation of Bath Residents Associations, the Campaign for Better Transport, the University of Bath, English Heritage, and local businesses. In particular, support was received for plans to create a more pedestrian-friendly city centre with more attractive and useable public spaces. Plans to develop new spaces in locations such as Saw Close and to ban all traffic from Pulteney Bridge were also welcomed.

Improving public spaces in Bath is one of the top priorities of the Conservative Cabinet on B&NES Council, and the Public Realm and Movement strategy links with overall plans to improve public transport and increase Park and Ride spaces to reduce traffic in the city centre.

Cllr Terry Gazzard (Cons, Abbey) said:

“It’s extremely good news that these plans have received such wide support, it’s clear that residents view improving the appearance of the city centre and making life easier for pedestrians as extremely important.

“The Public Realm and Movement Strategy gives us a clear and exciting vision for how public spaces can be improved in Bath in the coming years. It is a long-term strategy which centres on improving the appearance and use of the city centre, with better street furniture, improved signage and a more walkable environment. This is intended to increase footfall, benefit the economy and increase the wellbeing of residents and visitors alike.

“Comments and suggestions made as part of the consultation have been carefully listened to and incorporated into the plans, such as highlighting the importance of cycling as well as walking to the strategy, and ensuring the strategy is closely linked to plans to regenerate Bath’s River Corridor.”

Councillors Gazzard and Gerrish are free to give his sign-off for the Public Realm and Movement Strategy from the 27th February.