Watch your step!

Bath’s Saw Close has a long and not always noble history. It was where timber was sawn up for our city’s Georgian building boom – trees dragged in over ditches with a man up top and one below at either end of a giant saw. Getting the upper hand is a phrase that may well have come from the job of the man on top. Much nicer than getting sawdust in your eyes down below.

The ‘new’ public space at the Saw Close.

However, there were other pits in this open space – once also known as Timber Green – for bear baiting and cockfighting.

While now ‘marked-out’ by the Theatre Royal, old Blue Coat School and what’s left of the Palace Theatre – it had a more industrial past as the site for clay pipe manufacturing and a soap and candle factory.

Bath’s first organised large-scale gambling since the days of Beau Nash gets underway in a couple of week’s time with the opening of the casino. There’s a boutique hotel opening in the near future too.

They are products of a new development that is being used to revitalise and energise the area and with a large public ‘piazza’ in the middle of it all.

I don’t know who does the design work for this sort of thing but it is nowhere near as grand as anything you might see in Spain or Italy.

Not what l would call an imaginative layout!

I am a keen cyclist myself but cannot understand why a big open space is ‘littered’ with cycle racks and rows of bus-station-styled benches when there could have been a fountain – or at least a tree – as a centrepiece.

You cannot make out each step or acknowledge there is a drop.

The steps that have been installed at the Blue Coat School end are positively dangerous. Coming into the space from Upper Borough Wall the edges are not defined. I am seeing tumble after stumble as people trip on them.

Each step is going to need defining.

At least define them with white lines.

I am disappointed. Sterility rules OK?



  1. A friend has been severely injured by a fall here and I have heard of several others. It seems as though safety regulations may have been ignored.

  2. It’s been reported to the Council on Fix My Street (and probably by other means too). One other ugly sight are the concrete blocks with red and yellow stripes crudely painted on the side. I know these are intended for our safety, to prevent attacks of the kind that happened in Nice. But if the area is being redeveloped, couldn’t some thought have been given to designing the security blocks? Other places – I think for example of the big space directly outside Reading railway station – have incorporated security and made it look appropriate to the surroundings. Almost anything would do that better than what is there now.

  3. It seems that design, imagination and common sense are all lacking. Oh well, typical Bath Council then!

  4. I have raised this repeatedly with the architects. I believe the double wide corduroy stone was installed after my initial email raising concerns after I almost fell down them. The numerous reports of people falling and injuring themselves has to be a major concern. This is private land and the legal responsibility remains with the landowners not the council. However the council should be all over this.

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