Newly erected cycle parking and wooden benches is a very obvious clue to the way B&NES views the new-look Saw Close.
While no date has been given for the opening of the food outlets, boutique hotel and casino that will be occupying the new development – now nestling between the old Blue School and what’s left of the Palace Theatre – the open space outside is rapidly taking shape.
There’s a big cloth information sheet – fixed to a part of the temporary fencing – which explains the Council’s aims.
It says it wants to ‘reduce congestion and allow people to move around more freely in Bath. This will provide greater opportunities for economic growth and increase social vitality while enhancing the city’s character.
This project seeks to re-establish Saw Close as a key public space with a greater focus on cyclist and pedestrian needs. The aim is for people to use this shared space courteously and considerately.
The street environments will be improved with materials appropriate to the historic nature of Bath including new street furniture such as public seating and cycle parking.’
One would hope the increased ‘social vitality’ doesn’t just refer to any anti-social effects of the alcohol-fuelled night-time economy and that – somewhere in this new space – they will find room to explain why it is called the Saw Close and credit its history.
The Georgian building boom may have made Ralph Allen a rich man – as it consumed the stone from his quarries – but terraces and crescents needed wood too – to lay floors and support roofs.
Here’s where pits were dug and felled trees cut up by two men with a big saw. One in the pit and the other on top. It’s where we get the phrase ‘ gaining the upper hand ‘ by the way.