What future for Pulteney Bridge flood gate?

The future of the flood gates at Twerton and Pulteney Bridge could be a short one as a newly funded £50,000 B&NES  flood management project with the Environment Agency will be looking at all the options as the structures reach the end of their life.

Pulteney flood gate

The local authority is proposing to allocate up to £150,000 to support projects to improve the river corridor in Bath over the next year.

This will  includes developing options and a business case for the two gates, both of which, constructed as part of Bath’s flood alleviation scheme in the early 1970s, are now getting a little old.

It may be art but is the flood gate still useful?

The Twerton flood gates continue to protect around 200 Bath properties from flood risk.

This is the second part of a phased city-wide flood management strategy, in partnership with the Environment Agency. The phase one flood alleviation scheme is now under construction at Bath Quays Waterside; the design includes upper and lower level river promenades, natural landscaping and a new large riverside public space. The new environment will provide an attractive waterfront for Bath that can be used and enjoyed by thousands of people all year round. 

How the river bank will be re-shaped.
Work underway on re-shaping river bank.

A detailed business case will now be prepared with the Environment Agency, to unlock up to £5 million funding to deliver this phase 2 project. For an updates see www.bathnes.gov.uk/riverandcanal

Cllr Liz Richardson, Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Homes and Planning, said “The Council is working in close partnership with the Environment Agency to put together a business case aimed at accessing £5 million of Government funding to help manage flood risk in Bath. 

Ed Lockington from the Environment Agency said: “Building upon the successful partnership developed through the Bath Quays Waterside project, it’s great to be progressing further work to manage flood risk in Bath”.

River Avon at Bath Quays Waterside site

The Council has also agreed to develop a business case to re-open the Pulteney moorings, between Pulteney Bridge and North Parade Bridge, which it is hoped, will lead to an £80,000 investment in River Avon moorings on Council-owned land. This would include the additional safety improvements needed before the Pulteney moorings can be re-opened for boaters.

The Council has already spent over £150,000 on safety works in accordance with an independent Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) assessment, including putting in new railings, access gates and river safety cabinets. In addition there will be considerable investment from the Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency.

river avon
Looking up the River Avon towards Pulteney Bridge and Weir.

£20,000 has also been earmarked by the Council to contribute towards a Bat Habitat Strategy for development sites within the Enterprise Area. This will help to meet the planning requirements from Natural England, the Government body responsible for looking after biodiversity and nature. 

Alongside this, a Water Space Study, looking at new ways to use the river and canal system around Bath, is underway. Bath & North East Somerset Council, the Canal & River Trust, the Environment Agency, and Wessex Water are working together in the jointly-funded study, to identify projects to transform and revitalise the waterways along the River Avon between Bath and Keynsham, and along the Kennet and Avon Canal between Deep Lock and Dundas Aqueduct 

The study will not focus on strategic flood projects, but will instead look at all other aspects impacting on the river and canal, including boat moorings, river navigation by boats, leisure and recreation opportunities and wider wildlife and habitat enhancements. You can see the results of the community engagement and project ideas put forward to date on the website: www.waterspacebath.org.uk

Reading this report, Dan Brown of www.bathintime.co.uk  reminds me – with one of his fantastic images – that there were plans to build a restaurant on top of the Pulteney Weir flood gate.

An artist’s impression for a restaurant on the platform on Pulteney Sluice, 24 April 1985. © Bath in Time
Says Dan: ‘In 1973 a prospectus invited tenders to develop the site as a licensed premises or a restaurant. It also stated that planning permission was granted in 1969 and that the platform was designed to support a full restaurant development. This seems to have resurfaced again in 1985 when this was discussed again. It remains an ugly empty eyesore.’

 Meanwhile, Cllr Martin Veal, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Chair of the Council’s Strategic River Group, says of the project:  “This  is also about enhancing Bath’s river corridor and making greater use of one of Bath’s most underused assets, whilst at the same time improving river safety.

“As part of this, we are working with the Canal & River Trust, Wessex Water, the Environment Agency and the River Regeneration Trust to look at projects which could transform and revitalise the waterways along the River Avon between Bathford and Keynsham, and along the Kennet and Avon Canal. Both the Water Space Study and the River Corridor Fund show the Council working with our partners to improve the River Avon and the Kennet & Avon Canal for residents and visitors alike.”

City-Wide Flood Strategy Phase 1 (Bath Quays Waterside) details:


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