Bath – the UK’s most walkable city?

Bath & North East Somerset Council will discuss the draft transport strategy for Bath at its meeting on Thursday November 13.

Traffic congestion on the London Road
Traffic congestion on the London Road

Getting around Bath aims to reduce congestion and allow people to move around more easily to support the long-term economic strategy for the area.

The Council will hear that the strategy has been endorsed by Sir Peter Hendy, Commissioner of Transport for London and President of the International Union of Public Transport, who lives in Bath and chairs the Bath Transport Commission.

He says: “Bringing about transport improvements and ones which support the Council’s spatial and economic development plans will always be a challenge in an historic and beautiful city like Bath, so it is vital to have this blueprint for the future. In delivering this strategy, we can ensure that the city is a great place to live and work, and equally welcoming to all visitors, whether on foot, bike, public transport or in a car.

“I applaud the work which Members of all parties have put into this consensual strategy; because of this, it will stand the test of time and be capable of guiding the Council and supporting the City’s challenging and ambitious strategy for housing and job growth in its Core Strategy.

“I am delighted that in the consultation, a significant majority have endorsed the vision of reducing congestion and increasing walking and cycling in the city centre. You can see how in London we have made significant progress with this approach and I look forward to seeing Bath achieve similar success in the future.”

The transport strategy was commissioned by the Council in April 2013, following extensive research and discussion with stakeholders. In addition there was a period of public consultation in June/July this year.

Getting Around Bath aims to:

· Support and enable economic growth, competitiveness and jobs
· Promote sustainable mobility
· Widen travel choice
· Widen access to jobs / learning / training
· Improve air quality and health, reducing vehicle carbon emissions
· Safeguard and enhancing the unique historic environment and World Heritage Site status
· Improve the quality of life in the city

Key proposals include: developing a walking/cycling strategy to make Bath the UK’s most walkable city; better management of HGVs in the city; continued expansion of Park and Ride sites and a new location for coaches to park after dropping off visitors in the centre.next bike

Cllr Caroline Roberts (LibDem, Newbridge), Bath & North East Somerset’s Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed towards this draft strategy. It has been well received and supported by the majority of those who responded to our consultation.

“Bath is an important World Heritage City – it’s vital that we look after the environment of the city whilst ensuring it’s a great place to live and work. This is an exciting time for Bath as we develop plans for the Bath Riverside Enterprise Area which will bring significant housing and jobs. We must get the transport right to allow these developments to work.”

If adopted, the strategy will be delivered through a wide range of projects which will be funded from various sources, including the Integrated Transport Capital grant (received annually from Government) and bids for additional monies from the Single Growth Fund managed by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership. Having the agreed strategy will also enable the Council to target other funding opportunities.

You can see the strategy at http://www.bathnes.gov.uk