There’s going to be plenty of activity to watch – construction and excavation-wise – on the down river side of Churchill Bridge in Bath this year – and it’s all getting underway very soon.
Be prepared for some diversions and inconvenience while the roads and footpaths are re-aligned. There’s more information on that in the story below.
In a report to the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel (why, oh why couldn’t they have come up with a shorter name) – meeting on Tuesday, March 1st – councillors will be getting updates on various schemes within the Council’s ‘Bath Enterprise’ areas.
High on the agenda is the work due to start shortly on remodelling the river bank next to Churchill Bridge.
Here the shape of the bank is being altered and new walls constructed to tackle flooding and improve the city’s connection with the River Avon.
A progress report on this states:
“Bath Quays Waterside is a strategic flood alleviation project, jointly promoted by both Bath and North East Somerset Council and the Environment Agency. The project seeks to address flood risk posed by the River Avon to the central area of the city.
The flood alleviation works will deliver improved flood conveyance, remove flood risk posed to key central development sites and deliver a new riverside park adjacent to the river.
The Bath Quays Waterside project team has secured the required consents to enable the commencement of the project and the works contractor has been appointed.
The contractor is currently in its enablement phase and is undertaking enablement works. Formal construction works will begin in spring and will be complete by the end of 2016.”
In the meantime B&NES has announced that improvements to the riverside path in this area have already got underway.
In a press release issued today – Thursday, February 25th – a spokesperson says:
‘The next stage of the Bath Quays Waterside project started this week with riverside path improvements alongside the River Avon.
The £6.22m Bath & North East Somerset Council and Environment Agency project will reduce flood risk for more than 100 existing properties, reconnect the city centre to the riverside with a new waterside park, and allow Bath Quays to develop as a new home for businesses.
Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “This investment will help us realise an exciting vision to re-connect Bath to its riverside, create new office space and a new riverside park. We apologise for inconvenience caused during the highway and footway improvements but all of this work will help to open up the city centre to the riverside and ultimately lead to the development of new space for home-grown and growing businesses.”
Bath Quays will feature new developments on both sides of the river, linked by a brand new pedestrian and cyclist bridge. New offices will be at the heart of a bustling south-facing riverside park called Bath Quays Waterside. This imaginative landscape project combines flood mitigation measures with a beautiful and adaptable south facing riverside environment.
The redevelopment of Bath Quays North will provide up to 30,000 sq m of high-quality commercial space for new and developing enterprises providing inspiring and ambitious employment opportunities for future generations.
The Local Sustainable Transport Fund backed work to improve the riverside path started on Monday 22 February. It is being resurfaced and widened between Green Park and Nelson Villas, at Nelson Place West, with the addition of new fencing to improve public safety.
A new pedestrian and cycle link in Green Park is also being created, providing an alternative to the riverside path alongside the Broad Quays moorings during times of flooding when it becomes inaccessible. It is expected that the work will be completed in the Spring.
This improvement work and other riverside work to be undertaken later this year, will require the riverside path between Nelson Villas and Broad Quay to be closed on occasions; pedestrians and cyclists will only be diverted when necessary and signs will be in place.
With work currently underway to replace the Destructor Bridge at Midland Road, this means the towpath will be closed at times from Windsor Bridge to Broad Quay. It is expected the Destructor Bridge will be completed and open by this Summer.
Traffic Management/Road realignment
The Council’s contractor, Alun Griffiths Contractors Ltd, is currently changing the one-way system around Avon Street car park into a two-way system, with a new road constructed through Riverside Coach Park.
Once completed, traffic will be diverted from Green Park Road, allowing the widening of the river bank opposite Broad Quays moorings, which will improve the River Avon’s ability to convey flood water, and establishing a new riverside public open space.
At the same time, essential highway maintenance work is underway on St James Parade., which has required the closure of Ambury and the junction of St James Parade/Corn Street, with a diversion in operation via Avon St and James St West. Access to Avon Street car park and businesses is still available via Corn Street throughout the closure. The roads are expected to re-open to through traffic by mid-March.’
Meanwhile, there will be news on continuing negotiations to do something with the Newark Works – the former site of engineering giant Stothert and Pitt.
A report to councillors will state:
‘The Council is engaged in ongoing dialogue with an existing bath business (BMT) with a view to acquiring the former Newark Works site (Bath Quays South.)
TCN have announced their intention to refurbish the Newark Works building fronting Lower Bristol Road to form creative workspace of around 30,000 sq ft.
(Look up that company at http://www.tcnpp.co.uk/tcncorp/en/contact/country_offices/uk)
TCN are an existing operator of creative workspace and successfully operate several other buildings throughout the UK, including a building adjacent to Bristol Temple Meads.
A pre-application submission has been received from BMT and their development partner and a detailed planning application is anticipated during 2016.’
Meanwhile on Bath Riverside:
‘The Crest Nicholson Western Riverside scheme continues to progress well. The next phase of works will see the delivery of the Studio Egret West residential blocks adjacent to the river and the erection of the replacement to the Destructor Bridge.
The bridge is currently expected to be landed in the week preceding the Easter bank holiday.’
Away from the river, there’s plenty of behind-the-scenes-action regarding the Cattlemarket site.
‘Development interest in the Cattlemarket site remains and the Council has received approaches from parties interested in acquiring and developing the site.
The site is a sensitive and complex redevelopment proposition and the Council is keen to see the comprehensive redevelopment of the wider Cattlemarket/Hilton site.
Work is ongoing to consider how best to realise this ambition in an appropriate timeframe and in the context of other redevelopment proposals within the city.’
Could be quite a year!