Initial works to transform the river bank between Churchill Bridge and Green Park have been completed in the latest phase of the ambitious £6.2 million Bath Quays Waterside project.
The scheme when complete will protect more than 100 commercial and residential properties from flooding, support the regeneration of Bath Quays, and reconnect Bath to its riverside.
Work began early in 2016 with the diversion of Green Park Road, allowing a new south facing park to be created on the river bank, alongside the proposed site for the Bath Quays North development.
The area is now being landscaped, planted, seating installed and new spaces created for activities, benefitting residents, future businesses, workers and visitors.
On the south side of the river, work has been undertaken to provide the first phase of a flood defence between Churchill Bridge and Midland Bridge.
Bath & North East Somerset Council has been working in partnership with the Environment Agency on the scheme. Deborah Steadman, from the Environment Agency, said: “We are excited to see public access to the park so that people can see some of the work being undertaken to protect the city and improve access to the river. This is the culmination of several years of planning and hard work from all involved.
Completion of the initial work marks the first milestone in Bath & North East Somerset Council’s multi-million pound flagship regeneration project, Bath Quays. The development will transform this part of the city creating a major new commercial and business district with new office and creative work space, homes and improved public realm that will re-connect Bath to its river.
Councillor Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip) Leader of the Council said: “The development of Bath Quays will contribute towards our commitment to deliver up to 9,000 new jobs and 3,500 new homes within Bath and North East Somerset. In addition, by enabling new office development, this will also help diversify the council’s estate for the benefit of future generations, creating an ongoing income for the Council that can be reinvested back into supporting local services.”
While the new park will be there for the public to enjoy, its primary function is to accommodate flood water. For safety reasons when there is a risk of flooding, no-entry signs will be used and the area will be closed to the public with bollard and chain barriers. It is anticipated that this could occur several times a year.
Councillor Paul Myers, (Conservative, Midsomer Norton Redfield), Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Regeneration, added: “This work, which included the diversion of Green Park Road northward, away from the river, has created an opportunity to open up the river to the city. It is a major asset and has the potential to make a large contribution to the city’s future both in economic and in leisure terms. It is important however in any river setting that we all keep safe, take care and look out for warnings when the river is in flood.”
Although the initial phase of works on the north bank has been completed, sections of the open space will have to close again to enable regeneration work to continue. A formal official opening of the Park will be planned for summer 2018.
The final section of flood defence works along the south edge of the river will be undertaken as part of the Bath Quays South development scheme, on the old Newark Works site, envisaged to be completed in 2019.