Having had to fell quite a large number of mature specimens when work began, the new ‘Bath Quays Riverside Park’ has welcomed the first arrival of a collection of new trees that will result in a wider and greener riverbank on North Quay.
The north river bank between Churchill Bridge and Green Park has been undergoing works to create an attractive landscaped park and reconnect the city centre to the riverside.
The project is part of a collaboration between Bath & North East Somerset Council and Environment Agency, which will reduce flood risk for more than 100 existing properties and allow Bath Quays to develop as a new home for businesses.
The Council’s contractor, Alun Griffith (Contractors) Ltd, has finished reshaping the river bank and is now beginning the hard and soft landscaping work to create a new landscape, with native trees and enhanced pedestrian and cycle routes. Within the new landscaped park there will be a greater diversity of plant species, including more fruiting species to attract birds and insects.
Around 150 trees will be planted as part of the overall scheme, many of which will be planted as semi-mature to mature specimens. Native species found elsewhere along the river corridor in Bath have been chosen including white willow, field maple, alder, sycamore, silver birch, tulip tree and lime.
Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “This investment will significantly enhance the riverside environment, creating a more beautiful, accessible and enjoyable place for local people and visitors to the city. Today marks an exciting stage in the works, with the first large trees being planted.
We are delighted to be creating an enriched environment for wildlife and a beautiful outdoor space at the heart of the city.”
The towpath between Green Park and Churchill Bridge will be closed for the remainder of the works to the north bank. Boat moorings will still be accessible, but pedestrians and cyclists will be signposted to divert via Ambury, Corn Street, Green Park Road and Green Park cycle path.
The widened river bank is designed to accommodate the flow of flood waters, and so once open to the public, access to the bank will be restricted during flood events.
The new park will be the central focus for the Bath Quays Business District on either side of the river and connected by a brand new pedestrian and cycling bridge. A planning application has been recently submitted for the Bath Quays South mixed use development scheme. Subject to approval it is expected that work could start on site this spring.
Deborah Steadman, from the Environment Agency said: “It’s great to see the trees going in! These will improve the environment for people and wildlife and marks an exciting step in this project to reduce flood risk and enable regeneration in the centre of Bath”.
Ongoing and remaining phases of the project include:
Installing flood defences in existing buildings fronting onto the river along the Lower Bristol Road.
Installing new flood walls and raising existing river walls on the south side of the river between Churchill Bridge and Midland Bridge.
It is expected that the majority of the riverside park will be completed in mid-2017. A section of the landscaping on the north bank, in the proposed area of the Bath Quays Bridge (opposite the Riverside Coach Park) will not be completed until 2018, after the bridge is installed (subject to planning consent). We anticipate that flood defence works along the south edge of the river will be completed in 2017/18.
For more information about this project visit www.bathnes.gov.uk/bathquayswaterside
For more information about Bath Quays development visit. www.bathquays.co.uk