Work has begun to create a new south facing riverside park in Bath – as part of the Bath Quays Waterside flood mitigation scheme – providing an attractive natural area for the public to enjoy.
The north river bank between Churchill Bridge and Green Park is now undergoing works to create the riverside park and reconnect the city centre to the riverside, as part of the £6.22m Bath & North East Somerset Council and Environment Agency project, which will also reduce flood risk for more than 100 existing properties and allow Bath Quays to develop as a new home for businesses.
The recent permanent diversion of vehicles from Green Park Road onto a new road layout enables the adjacent river bank to be widened, providing a new open space for the public to enjoy that will include upper and lower level river promenades in a new natural landscape, with new and enhanced pedestrian and cycle routes. The widened river bank will also provide greater river capacity during times of flooding.
Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “This is the latest stage of works in our exciting vision to re-connect Bath to its riverside and develop Bath Quays as a new enterprise area. The new riverside park will provide an attractive and playful waterfront for Bath that can be used and enjoyed by thousands of people all year round, as well as mitigating flood risk for the area. We know these works will cause short-term disruption but they will deliver huge long-term benefits by providing a new natural area for the public to enjoy and helping to develop new space for home-grown and growing businesses.”
Councillor Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip) Leader of the Council, added: “I am delighted to see our vision for more connected and entrepreneurial riverside area in Bath coming to life with this next stage of work. The project will improve flood defences and make the area more resilient as well as helping to boost the district’s economy and create even greater prospects for local people.”
Around 150 trees will be planted as part of the scheme and the area will include a greater diversity of plant species and more fruiting species that will help to attract birds and insects. The trees will be planted at varying stages of maturity, including native species found elsewhere along the river corridor in Bath, such as willow, field maple, alder, birch and lime.
As well as the new park, the project opens up the opportunity to build a new business district along the river. The two sites, Bath Quays North and Bath Quays South will be connected by a brand new pedestrian and cyclist bridge, which has just received funding approval of £3.1m from the Department for Transport. Once completed, the sites have the potential to create more than 2,000 new jobs in the city.
Ed Lockington from the Environment Agency said: “We are pleased to work with Bath & North East Somerset Council on this project which will reduce existing flood risk in Bath and help provide exciting redevelopment opportunities.”
Temporary closures of the towpath and upper-level path between Green Park and Churchill Bridge will be required at times, but pedestrians and cyclists will only be diverted when necessary and signs will be in place.
Remaining phases of the project involve:
Installing new flood walls and raise existing river walls on the south side of the river between Churchill Bridge and Midland Bridge.
Improve flood defences on existing buildings fronting onto the river along the Lower Bristol Road
We anticipate that this first phase of flood works and riverside park will be completed by the end of 2016, with the final phase of Bath Quays Waterside flood defence works to be completed in 2017/2018.
For more information about this project visit, www.bathnes.gov.uk/bathquayswaterside.
For more information about Bath Quays development visit. www.investinbath.co.uk.