Bath and North East Somerset Council’s cabinet will consider a multi-million-pound plan to revolutionise how people get around the district when it meets on January 27th.
The detailed proposals for investing in sustainable transport improvements follow a successful bid, led by the sub-region’s transport authority the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), to the government’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) fund.
WECA secured an unprecedented £540m for the sub-region but to unlock the government funding it must now submit a list of areas that will receive the funding.
Bath & North East Somerset Cabinet is being asked to approve £129.39m of local transport schemes to be funded from the CRSTS money, matched by a £17.2m local contribution funded by the council, at a special meeting on Thursday 27 January. WECA’s Joint Committee meeting the following day will seek final approval for the WECA-wide package of schemes, ahead of submission to the government.
Councillor Sarah Warren, deputy leader and cabinet member for Climate and Sustainable Travel said: “We are committed to decarbonise transport, reduce car use, tackle congestion, improve air quality and create healthier places across Bath and North East Somerset. This game-changing investment means we can now put in place real and practical improvements to how people get around our area, particularly by bus, bike or by walking.”
Cabinet is being asked to approve the following areas for funding:
- Improvements to public transport and cycling and walking infrastructure on the A4 corridor from Bath to Bristol, including upgrading the Bristol to Bath Railway Path, creating a new transport hub at Hicks Gate and improving cycling and walking connections in and around Keynsham and Saltford.
- Improvements to public transport and walking, cycling and the public realm on the A37 corridor between the Somer Valley and Bristol and the A367 corridor between the Somer Valley and Bath.
- Improvements to public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure in Bath city centre to support delivery of the council’s improvement plans for Bath Quays and Milsom Quarter. This would include the prioritisation of buses to improve journey times.
- Walking and cycling improvements in Bath and Midsomer Norton, identified through the Local Cycling and Walking Investment Plan. This would include. In Bath segregated cycleways and new upgraded controlled crossings would be installed in Lower Weston to improve routes between the city centre and Oldfield School and a new scheme would be developed to connect secondary schools in the south of the city and the University. Midsomer Norton would see improvements to pedestrian routes between the High Street, Norton Hill School and Fosseway via Charlton Road and the provision of the missing section of the off-road route between the proposed Silver Street housing development and Charlton Road.
- Further investment in Liveable Neighbourhoods. The council is currently working with 15 local communities on the first phase of its Liveable Neighbourhoods programme.
If the report is approved the detailed design of specific schemes will be developed following consultation with residents and businesses. The report also identifies that some funding would be used for highways maintenance.
Cllr Warren added: “With transport accounting for 29% of the district’s carbon emissions we need bold new thinking on transport if we are to meet our 2030 net zero ambition. It is vital that we work across the WECA area to provide seamless, integrated travel so residents can leave home, safely cycle or walk to their local bus stop, hop on a reliable, quick bus and then transfer to a train if they need to – only buying one ticket for the entire journey. So, I particularly welcome the work that WECA will be leading to introduce a common brand and integrated smart ticketing across the transport network to help people navigate their way.”
In addition to the improvements identified for CRSTS funding, the council is also currently asking for views on the new transport schemes that will be needed to meet its goal of carbon neutrality for Bath and North East Somerset by 2030. Some of the bold new ideas set out in the Journey to Net Zero document include removing through-traffic from Bath city centre and a new mass transit system for Bath. Further information on the Journey to Net Zero can be found here.
You can read the report to cabinet here