New look for Milsom Street?

How Milsom Street might look? Illustration of Bath City Centre High Street Renewal Project

More parklets, outdoor seating, pop up shops and public art. It’s all in the offing if councillors decided to accept £1.235 million grant funding to boost high street activity as part of a Bath City Centre High Street Renewal project.

Bath & North East Somerset Council successfully secured the grant from the West of England Combined Authority to fund the scheme which aims to encourage shoppers, visitors and businesses back into the city centre.  

A report to cabinet, on July 20 says that the council has secured £1.235m Love our High Streets grant funding from the Combined Authority to be spent over five years on improving Bath City Centre, including Milsom Street and Kingsmead Square. The Council is also looking to secure further funding to support a phase 2 project to bring animation, temporary arts and commercial uses to vacant shops in Bath, Keynsham and Midsomer Norton.

The Bath High Street Renewal project will support the council’s Liveable Neighbourhoods ambitions and help transform two key areas in the city into accessible, vibrant areas to shop, eat and relax.

A range of measures, including bringing vacant shops back into use for cultural and arts initiatives or as pop-up shops, adding parklets and green wall planting and encouraging outdoor seating for cafes and restaurants, as well as a programme of public art, events and performance is proposed to improve the high street experience for residents and visitors.

Councillor Richard Samuel, deputy leader and cabinet member for Economic Development & Resources said: “The Love our High Streets scheme will reinvigorate the northern and western gateways to the city centre by creating a more welcoming environment with an imaginative and pioneering programme of public art events and activities and improved accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists and users of public transport. 

“It will also support the council’s Placemaking Plan and Public Realm and Movement Strategy plan to tackle the climate and ecological emergencies and help the move to greener, accessible, people friendly high streets.

“Pilot initiatives such as the Love Milsom Street Event in September 2019, when we worked with local businesses and artists to close the street and hold a street party, and the feasibility work we funded to support the Bath BID Christmas Lights Trail were really well received.

“We’re pleased to have been offered West of England Combined Authority funding to improve parts of the city centre, and we hope the project will help to drive footfall, reduce vacancy rates and help businesses to recover following lockdown.” 

Cabinet is recommended to accept the £1.235m grant from the West of England Combined Authority and work to secure additional funding to deliver phase 2 of the vacant units action project.

If approved, residents, local organisations and businesses, as well as property agents and landlords will be involved further engagement and consultation to inform key elements of the detailed design.

To read the report visit: https://democracy.bathnes.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=122&MId=5524&Ver=4