B&NES councillors met recently to thrash out its growth strategy for the coming years – including how much of the green belt would have to be sacrificed to the new housing quota. However, it wasn’t all bricks and mortar as members were reminded to remedy the plight of the amenity they had neglected – running right through their city and Authority area.
The newly appointed Chairman of The River RegenerationTrust was there to address a packed meeting – delivering a hard-hitting plea for councillors and officers to act now to remedy the disconnect between the people living in the area and the River Avon.
Mr Geoff Dunford told members to remember the river that ran through their towns and cities.
‘Here in Bath and North East Somerset we have a river that flows through our towns and cities. However, over the years we have chosen to turn our backs on it, ignoring its potential, making it inaccessible to the general public and hidden it with industrial buildings and car parks.
Through the work of The River Regeneration Trust which will give more access to the public, clean up the river banks, encourage the leisure use of the river and look at the viability of water taxis, we can reconnect communities with the river Avon.’
Trust member Philip Challinor, an architect and Chartered Surveyor, who delivered the complex planning consent for the University of Bath Sports Village, added:
‘This is one of the most exciting periods in the development of Bath and its surroundings. As the interface between the people of Bath and North East Somerset and the council, The River Regeneration Trust will ensure that new river-based communities will be shaped by those that care about building inspirational places where we don’t just live, work and play, but where we thrive and prosper.’
B&NES Council was under pressure to vote through the area’s all-important planning guide which will steer developers and planning officers through new development for the next 16 years.
Cllr Dave Laming, the council’s River Champion concluded:
‘I am very excited with the outcome of the Core Strategy debate and the council’s unanimous support for the creation of The River Regeneration Trust with Geoff Dunford at its helm – the epic journey starts now.’