Green shoots from Sainsbury’s

Green shoots from Sainsbury’s

Seems to be a Sainsbury’s week – with apologies to all the other supermarkets in Bath –  but the Green Park sited store has been in the spotlight for two reasons.

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The man in the orange jacket is rigging up the lights.

The first is the re-vamped pedestrian bridge which – with concerns about the River Avon beneath it expressed to Bath Newseum – now bears warning signs at either end.

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The warning sign.

Today (Wednesday, April 26th) l discovered electricians adding lighting to the barriers to ensure people can cross safely in the dark.

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Connecting up the wiring.

Meanwhile there is good news about the dead sapling at the station end of the store.

I have several times wondered whether anyone would replace it with a living specimen.

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The dead tree outside Sainsbury’s at Green Park.

Now comes the following statement from Sainsbury’s press office…

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We will wait and see.

A bridge of signs.

A bridge of signs.

Sainsbury’s at Green Park have remodelled the pedestrian walkway across the River Avon onto their supermarket site.

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The remodelled pedestrian bridge.

The tatty curved cover has been removed and the walkway tarted up with paint and a slightly raised side rail.

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Are the side barriers high enough?

Bearing in mind the number of people who have drowned in this river in recent years l contacted Sainsbury’s Press Office to ask if the company was satisfied with the height of the newly modified guard-rail – especially as one witness had seen youngsters actually climbing on top of it.

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My query was passed on for dealing with several weeks ago. l have heard nothing.

So l was interested to see that at least warning signs have been erected to make people aware of what they are crossing at this point.

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The warning sign.

Elsewhere in the city do mind how you go if using the pathway which leads to the side entrance to Waitrose. A portion of a recently installed set of steps has failed and will need repairing.

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The pathway that leads to the side entrance to Waitrose.

Maybe they’ll consider dismantling the rest of these stairs and putting in a ramp for the disable and for cyclists to push their bikes up to the stands installed for them.

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The broken stairway in close up.

Something that should have been put in – in the first place.

 

Cycle race guaranteed bumpy finish!

Cycle race guaranteed bumpy finish!

There’s a certain irony in the fact that Bath is hosting the first ever Saturday night stage of The Tour Series and the Matrix Fitness Women’s Grand Prix with a brand new city centre route which starts and finishes on Great Pulteney Street.

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The street is lined with parking restriction notices warning of the no parking decree affecting the grand avenue on May 20th. Not often cars make way for bikes!

I am just a humble local cyclist who uses this grand Georgian terrace-lined route into town as l emerge from Sydney Gardens and the canal towpath.

As a regular man-on-two-wheels l can tell you the road surface is in a real mess and bike riders in particular feel every bump.

Whilst the professionals will speed over this lunar crater-like surface at a much greater speed than l ever could, l wonder whether B&NES is feeling just a tad embarrassed about its condition.

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Cracks and craters line Great Pulteney Street.

I mean bone-shakers are supposed to be a thing of the past but not in Great Pulteney Street. Just be careful you don’t bite your tongues you lovely ultra-fit racers.

There are other events on Saturday, May 20th which, according to B&NES, will aim ‘ to encourage as many people as possible to choose cycling as either a leisure activity or as a way of commuting to work in Bath and North East Somerset’.

I think that will depend on decent road surfaces and properly designated areas for us cyclists to use all year round – not just on May 20th when many will turn out to cheer that flash of blurred colourful lycra as these cycling supremos wizz past.

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Maybe we should start giving our road craters names?

The Tour Series starts in Worcestershire on May 9, and finishes on May 29 in Stevenage.

Highlights of every round will be shown on ITV4, with programmes also available on demand via the ITV Hub.

More information can be found for all cycling events  in and around Bath on May 20th via  www.bathnes.gov.uk/tourseries

You can follow details of the Bath Stage of the Tour Series and the Sportive on Facebook Love 2 Cycle or Twitter @Love2cyclebath #TourBath #love2cyclesportive

Bins, benches and a fresh lick of paint.

Bins, benches and a fresh lick of paint.

The good and the bad  sides of a cycle trip along part of the Kennet and Avon Canal into Bath.

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It really is time for this bin to be replaced. It is used by everyone from dog walkers to canal boat people and has completely rusted through.

It really is time to replace the litter bin on the London Road side of Grosvenor Bridge. This hard-working receptacle is used by everyone from dog walkers to canal boat users.

Up onto the towpath and B&NES have been spending money on new seats and even some bike stands that Canal and River Trust employees are installing.

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Connor – from the Canal and River Trust – inspecting a newly installed towpath side bench. It’s been paid for by B&NES.

Any spare benches would be gratefully received in Sydney Gardens where few of the existing cast-iron framed ones are in working order.

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A broken bench on Sydney Gardens.

Meanwhile, it appears existing play equipment – in a little fenced-off playground beside St Saviour’s Road in Larkhall – have been given a fresh lick of paint.

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The existing play equipment appears to have been given a fresh coat of paint?

There was me thinking they were going to be replaced

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How things were.

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The slide in its rusty state!

With more and more city householders having to get used to wheelie bins l wonder if B&NES could offer a prize for the best suggestion as to how to disguise our rubbish and recycling bins.

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Where will we hide our bins?

For starters – housing estate developers should be made to ‘design-in’ somewhere for them to be stored.

Sunshine, water & cycles!

Sunshine, water & cycles!

We’ll get to the water in a moment, but first let’s talk bikes.

What is it with the cycle hoops outside Bath’s Guildhall. Do the two bolts holding them in place snap or work free? We seem to have lost another two.

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A diminishing number of bike stands outside the Guildhall.

While they may be aesthetically pleasing, these two wheel parking ‘posts’ are not up to the job. When are they going to be replaced with something that is?

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Two missing bike hoops outside the Guildhall.

Meanwhile, with the spring sunshine we enjoyed over the week-end it was good to see our river cruisers out and doing great business on the River Avon.

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Looking down on a cruise boat from Grosvenor Bridge.

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Plenty of customers for the up river cruise.

While trips upstream from Pulteney Weir are well known to me, l was pleased to see you can now float downstream on a lunchtime cruise that’ll take you to the Boathouse pub and back.

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A cruise down river leaving from Bath Quays.

You climb on board from a riverside path – alongside the new Bath Quays development – where the bank has been re-shaped and re-planted as part of a new flood defence scheme that is also seeing new flood barrier walls on the other Lower Bristol Road bank.

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The new flood barrier wall being installed.

Check out www.RiverAdventures.co.uk for more information.

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Newly planted trees are already in leaf.

The new saplings they have planted at Bath Quays seem to have taken with fresh green foliage appearing as the new riverside ‘park’ takes shape – one which – hopefully – will  include the retention of an 18th century footbridge found during archaeological work on the site.

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The remains of the 18th century bridge lie under black plastic.

While on the subject of water, it’s great to see the humble little Laura Place fountain back in action and raising the spirits with it’s sparkling display of sunlight fused with cascading water. A quick clip snatched with an iPhone.

What a shame more recent developments like Southgate and Brunel Square – down by the rail station – had not thought of a water feature to help emphasise the fact that this city’s fortunes revolve around its waters – both hot and cold.

And – as we were also talking trees – this is a good place to end with an email from John Houghton.

“I don’t know if you have seen what has been done to the willows outside the old Herman Miller factory opposite Lidl (where I worked one summer in 1972 when it was the original Herman Miller factory) Someone has done a really good job of trimming and shaping the trees.’

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The pruned willows looking great on the riverbank.

He sent me an image he took from the nearby footbridge.

‘Definitely something to celebrate, I think?’, he says.

Always good to do that John.

Getting to the roots of the problem.

Getting to the roots of the problem.

The felling of three fir trees at the bottom end of  Bath’s Gravel Walk has drawn a few comments from people who felt it a shame that so much tree cover had been lost.

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Looking through to the back of the Gay Street terrace from Gravel Walk.

The pathway up to the Royal Crescent – made famous by Jane Austen in her novel Persuasion – is lined with mature trees on both sides.

This spot is part of the city’s conservation area – and trees cannot be felled without due notice and appraisal by the Council – but in this case the application from the owner of the house in Gay Street – and in whose garden the trees were – produced an aboricultural appraisal report to show that the tree roots appear to be contributing to cracking to a Grade 1 listed summer house in a neighbour’s garden.

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The 60 foot high fir trees in a photograph supplied with the application.

There was also movement being caused to garden walls and the obvious garden shade created by leylandii that had grown to sixty feet.

I wondered whether trees in general in the area of the Gravel Walk and nearby Royal Victoria Park were subject to any individual preservation orders.

Jane Brewer – who is Senior Aboricultural Officer for B&NES – told me that trees in a Conservation Area could not be felled without notification.

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Another view of the trees in a photograph supplied with the application.

‘The three trees felled in Gravel Walk were considered for a Tree Preservation Order prior to their removal.

You may have noted that the submissions included as part of the notification indicated that the trees were also implicated in damage to a summerhouse in third party ownership.

The majority of large trees growing in the areas which you refer to are Council owned trees and are not considered to be under threat because we have appropriate professionals to manage our tree population.”

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Tree stumps are all that now remains.

Obviously permission was granted to fell these three firs but l did take note that, in their decision to allow the application, the Council stated: “Trees in conservation areas contribute significantly to the green infrastructure, replacement planting when trees are felled (particularly with the use of native species) can make a real difference to the amenity of an area, please contact the tree officer if you would like some advice regarding replacement planting.”

I – personally – hope the owner takes their advice.

Top glass entertainment.

Top glass entertainment.

If you thought yesterday was warm – weather wise – you should have seen the temperature rise where l ended up later on that ‘hint-of-summer-to-come’ day.

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I was a guest of Bath Aqua Glass in Walcot Street – the city’s artisan quarter – where workmen and women have been making things by hand since Roman times.

While Bristol may have its ‘Blue’ glass – this Bath-based company has developed an aquamarine colour – created by adding copper oxide to molten glass – reminiscent – they say – of the Spa waters which make the city so famous.

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A craftsman at work!

Invited guests got a chance to watch those skilled ‘artisans’ at work blowing glass. This company makes everything from corporate giftware to stained glass and jewellery.

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Guests was fascinated. Including Bath’s Deputy Mayor, Cllr June Player.

There are baubles and glass tableware, rings and even a facility to incorporate cremated ashes into glass paperweights or animals.

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There are courses and demonstrations in glassblowing and stained glass making. Even hen parties are welcome – prior to any pub visits of course.

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Some of the guests were lucky enough to have a go at glass blowing.

The Managing Director is Annette Dolan who started the business in 1996. Her husband Adrian is Sales Director and our MC last night – explaining the process while we watched those expert glass blowers in action.

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Sales Director Adrian explains to guests exactly what is happening in this glass blowing process.

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L to R . Bath Aqua Glass Managing Director, Annette Dolan, and Loraine Morgan – Brinkhurst, MBE who owns Morgan – Brinkhurst Consultancy Events.

Now l know where that saying about ‘irons in the fire’ came from and got close enough to the ovens to feel the heat.

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Some of those irons in the fire.

Great to help celebrate one of the city’s successful independents and  one ‘ doing business’ in an historic artisan quarter.

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Hot,hot,hot!

Last night’s events was organised by Morgan – Brinkhurst Consultancy Events. Check out the Bath Aqua Glass website via www.bathaquaglass.com