A formal consultation has begun on plans to fully pedestrian Bath’s historic Pulteney Bridge. Bath and North East Somerset Council has published the necessary Traffic Regulation Order proposing that all traffic, except emergency vehicles and cycles, be banned from using the bridge. Although the bridge has been closed to cars for ten years, currently buses and taxis are still permitted to cross the bridge.
The plans to pedestrianise the bridge come following a long campaign by local residents and Conservative Councillors in the centre of Bath. Campaigners fighting for the bridge to be pedestrianised have argued that the 18th century structure should be protected from the weight of modern traffic and be preserved for future generations. Pedestrianistion should improve safety for pedestrians and allow the historic landmark to be better enjoyed by tourists and residents walking over the bridge.
Shop owners on the bridge have supported the calls for the bridge to be pedestrianised and have said they hope it could help boost trade, with the possibility of greater use of the outside space by traders. Some have also said they have noticed ornaments fall from shelves due to vibrations from buses crossing the bridge.
City-centre councillor Terry Gazzard (Cons, Abbey), who has led calls for the bridge to be pedestrianised, said:
“It’s great news that the council is moving ahead with these plans, which are backed by almost all the local residents and shop owners I’ve spoken with. Pulteney Bridge is an important part of Bath’s heritage and must be preserved and protected for local residents and visitors to enjoy. Pedestrianising the bridge will make the bridge the showcase it deserves to be. The plan to remove all traffic from the bridge also fits alongside the council’s wider plans to make the city centre more pedestrian-friendly.
“I know some people have expressed concerns about the re-routing of buses and taxis away from the bridge, and I have spoken with some residents to hopefully address these concerns. I’d like to thank the bus companies and tax drivers for engaging with the council on these plans.”
The proposals will also prevent lorries from loading and unloading on the bridge, but will allow for deliveries next to the bridge on Argyle Street. Representations about the proposal, together with the grounds on which they are made, must be sent by 26th August 2010 either in writing to the Traffic and Safety Team at Floor 2, Riverside,
Temple Street, Keynsham, Bristol ,BS31 1LA, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.