Let’s pass on this pavement.

One of our followers is keeping a keen eye on the road works underway on the west side of Queen Square. Contractors are widening pavements and installing Clean Air Zone measures.

Tony James writes: ‘Unfortunately they are replacing and reusing concrete slabs as opposed to laying traditional flagstones. 

It’s disappointing that this is happening where John Wood the Elder launched his
Georgian vision for Bath. He would have hated it.
A simple run of flagstones would have lasted longer and looked in keeping. 
It’s in the detail…’
Tony says he knows the contractors are only doing what they have been asked to do.
They are courteous and doing a good job. It’s just a shame that the square now has old
flagstones on one side of the road and concrete on the other.
Joining in this debate now is Paul Jackson who sends me a photo of the same pavement – just a few days before the new paving was laid.
“I too cannot understand why Bath fails to protect its historic pennant paving.
With one or two exceptions, the city has also turned its back on setts (the stones used for roads, that were kinder on horses hooves than the smaller cobbles).
 On the Continent, many towns and cities still preserve this more traditional road surface – we’ve just returned from Faro in Portugal.”
” Unlike Bath, the old city of Faro is not a World Heritage Site: looking at its streets, you have to wonder why Bath goes for patched asphalt instead.”


  1. Nor does the pattern of laying conform with that specified in the Bath Streetscape Manual:

    4.21 Paving in Bath is typically laid in random width rows across the pavement using slabs of different lengths, and laid so as to avoid creating an obvious regular pattern of joints when viewed along the footway. This is a pattern used throughout much of the city and is a characteristic that is to be adopted in all new paving schemes.


  2. Something to be wary of when wandering the streets of Bath are the condition of the ‘well lights’ if that’s the right phrase. Little glass blocks set into the paving to let light into basement areas. I have seen quite a few broken which could be hazardous for ladies in high heels…..

  3. There’s anecdotal evidence that people living in Bath that develop disabilities usually end up moving out of Bath as it is exceptionally hostile to wheelchairs and mobility scooters. It’s why you will see people on mobility scooters on the carriageway. I suspect there is a big issue around providing a good wheel friendly surface that also is not slippy in the wet/ice and suspect old flagstones simply do not make the grade. If we want to have an accessible and inclusive public realm then we cannot simply look back to a time when having a disability pretty much meant you were housebound.

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