New Destructor bridge now in place!

New Destructor bridge now in place!

Seems the new Destructor Bridge – linking Western Riverside with the Upper Bristol Road – has now been lowered into place and is being secured.

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Finally – the new bridge is spanning the River Avon.

This comes after a delay in finally being able to roll out the prefabricated structure across the River Avon, because of alignment problems.

A spokesperson for the contractors has told Bath Newseum:

‘The bridge was lowered into position yesterday and is being set into place today as planned.

In the coming weeks Britannia will undertake works to allow the towpath to reopen in early September’.

 

Smoothing the way through Larkhall.

Smoothing the way through Larkhall.

What a difference a new road surface makes!

Here’s the main road – St Saviour’s – into the ‘village’ of Larkhall – after its recent tarmac renovation.

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So smooth.

Before and after.

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The former surface of St Saviour’s Road into Larkhall, Bath.

Drop the East of Bath park and ride scheme and you would have enough cash to re-do all the roads of Bath!

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Wow!

What do others think?

Consultation favours skateboard facility for Alice Park.

Consultation favours skateboard facility for Alice Park.

A park and ride site east of Bath isn’t the only facility being pushed for at this end of the city.

A committee meeting at the Guildhall today ( Monday, August 22nd) will receive the results of a public consultation regarding the setting up of a skateboard amenity at Alice Park.

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The Alice Park sign.

B&NES set aside £100,00 as part of a programme to improve the quality of parks and play provision in the district after receiving a petition in 2013 of 572 names calling for such a play area to be set up.

There has been a total of 282 responses to the public consultation with an overall 2:1 in favour of the skate park.

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The skateboard site – across the city – at Royal Victoria Park

From the survey results – to be presented to the Alice Park Sub-Committee – the main reasons cited for favouring the development of the Skatepark were: 

A Skatepark would promote healthy lifestyles and physical challenges

It would promote a sense of community – through the social side of skate parks

There are not enough facilities for young people in the east of Bath

A Skatepark would keep young people occupied and out of trouble

It would create a safe place for children to develop a sense of independence

From a minority of responses (those not in favour of the skate park), the main objections to the scheme were that a new skate park would:

Cause increased parking problems in the vicinity of the park

Lead to a change to the landscape and loss of tranquil aspects of the park

Contribute to more people urinating publically in bushes and against trees rather than paying the recently introduced toilet charge of 20p

Bring increased anti-social behaviour.

The survey report continues: ‘One of the prime reasons for building a skate park is to encourage families with a range of children to visit the park and to keep young people playing outside for as long as possible. Bath has a higher than average level of childhood obesity, and every opportunity is being sought to encourage a pattern of healthy lifestyles.

Such lifestyles will carry them into adulthood with physical activity and social interaction at its core. It has been shown that children will play outdoors until the age of 11 with little encouragement needed, but after that age, it is the family involvement that will set a pattern for life.

With parents asking for more for their older children to do in the park, the new skate park would assist parents by encouraging their children to go outdoors and stay active.’

Alice Park

Alice Park.

The report concludes:

‘There was a good response to the consultation (282 recorded responses), with a clear majority in favour of the development of a skate park in Alice Park (68%: Yes; 29%: No).

There are existing concerns about parking and road safety along Gloucester Road and the commissioning of a specialist parking and traffic survey would be advisable as part of a project to build a skate park in Alice Park.

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Parking around the park can already be a real safety issue.

Those opposed to the scheme have concerns that a new Skatepark would increase the number of incidences of anti-social behaviour and these would need to be addressed through improved surveillance by a partnership of police, council officers and the community. There would also need to be a clearly publicised reporting system for those who witness incidents of this kind.

An appetite for improving other facilities in the park suggests that an investment in improving the tennis courts would be welcomed by park users’.

A different Bath uncovered.

A different Bath uncovered.

Tourists flock to Bath in their millions to gaze upon our unique Georgian showpieces that – with the help of our well-preserved Roman remains – have helped earned the city its World Heritage status.

However, the homes and public spaces of many of the ordinary people of Bath – the men and women  who helped build and run these elegant homes erected to house the 18th century’s super-rich – have not been so well preserved.

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Archaeologists have uncovered the slipway end of Avon Street.

As part of the preparation work being undertaken to re-model a section of the Avon’s riverbank through the lower part of the city – archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology have been called in to sift through some of the top 18th and 19th century layers of an area that was home to crowded tenement houses, industry, beer houses and public baths.

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The bar floor of what was the Duke of York beer house.

An area of deprivation with a reputation for violence and prostitution – and one prone to major flooding.

The archaeology has to be completed before the winter and the chance of more swollen river waters overflowing.

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A stable block and an area that ended its working life as a scrap yard.

Ironically a job that has to be finished so that contractors Alun Griffiths Limited can start re-modelling the bank – as part of a flood alleviation scheme which will also open up the Broad Quays area for redevelopment.

According to the contractor’s website – http://community.alungriffiths.co.uk/works-in-your-area/bath-quays-waterside/ – the project is known as Bath Quays Waterside.

‘The Bath Quays Waterside Project will put in place essential flood mitigation and flood defence works to the north and south banks of the river between Churchill Bridge and Midland Bridge. In summary the plan will:

Provide the flood mitigation to enable the redevelopment of the Bath Quays and Manvers Street sites

Significantly widen the north bank to up to 15m wide at the lower tow-path level between Churchill Bridge and Green Park to move water through this area more quickly in flood conditions.

This would require that Green Park Road is diverted away from the riverside northwards to link up with Corn Street creating the major opportunity to open up the riverside to the city

Install new flood walls and raise existing river walls on the south side of the river between Churchill Bridge and Midland Bridge

Improving flood defences on existing buildings fronting onto the river along the Lower Bristol Road’.

There’s more detailed information on the Council’s website at http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/planning-and-building-control/major-projects/bath-quays-waterside-reconnecting-bath-its

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The top entrance to a well that must also be investigated.

Bath Newseum has been allowed in to see what has been uncovered so far in this archaeological ‘rescue dig’ and has been speaking to the Senior Project Officer for Wessex Archaeology – Cai Mason.

It’s hoped there might be some sort of public ‘open day’ of part of the site so that people can see for themselves what has been uncovered and before it is all swept away.

Many of the historic images used in this report come from the resources of Bath in Time – www.bathintime.co.uk – a site your Director is pleased to promote.

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Evidence of crowded housing blocks that must have flooded frequently over the years.

Pedal power

Pedal power

Great to know the Tour of Britain cycle race is passing through Bath in September and it solves the mystery – l am led to believe – of why there are individual bikes hanging on the facades of some of our city’s most iconic architectural urban spaces.

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The bike on the north side of Queen Square – and on the exterior of the house architect John Wood once lived in!

As a Mayor’s Guide, l spotted the first one after bringing my group of eager-to-learn-about-this-World-Heritage-city tourists up into Queen Square.

They pointed out the one hanging in front of  the grand north side – a marvellous Georgian structure – once described  by architectural guides historian Sir Nicholas Pevsner as ‘one of the finest Palladian compositions in England designed before 1730’.

 

I spotted the next one – roped to the parapet in The Circus.

While l share the city’s excitement – and its involvement in a major sporting event – l can’t help but wonder if this is the best way of showing off some of our most iconic spaces to some of the four million plus people who visit us every year.

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A bit of Tour of Britain cycle race advertising in The Circus.

My little group were lost for words as to how we could so nonchalantly use the fabric of two John Wood masterpieces in this way.

It’s also a ‘novelty’ form of advertising that is wasted on them as they are just passing through.

You expect to see an inventive display of cycle power in the Southgate Shopping Centre – and it is well done too!

Commerce attracts and expects such innovative installations. It draws the crowds to fuel business – but surely the architectural showpieces that people come to see, promote themselves by shape, form and decoration and are made less by such temporary adornments. It’s a way of scarring their stone faces and this is a ‘rash’ that may spread?

I never thought l would say l prefer street stencils. What do others think?

Heritage Open Days in Bath and North East Somerset  

Heritage Open Days in Bath and North East Somerset  

 

Residents and visitors to Bath and North East Somerset will be able to learn more about the area’s fantastic heritage next month as venues across the district open their doors for Heritage Open Days (8-11 September 2016).

The nationwide celebration of history, architecture and culture is a chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – all for free.

Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “This is a great opportunity to explore interesting buildings and places across Bath and North East Somerset for free, and see behind the scenes at venues that are normally closed to the public.”

There will be something for all ages and interests during the four-day celebration, for example:

Take a tour of Bath Record Office, explore the strong rooms and see the earliest document, which dates back to Richard the Lionheart

Go inside No. 4 The Circus and admire the restored Georgian garden – the first of its kind in Britain

Find out what happens to your recycling after it is collected from your home at the Kier Recycling Depot

See historic spa equipment and read original Victorian spa treatment visitor books at St John’s Local History Store

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St John’s Local History Store.

Visit Cleveland Pools, the oldest open-air swimming pool in the country, and find out about the latest restoration plans

Discover Fairfield House, home of Haile Selassie and his family from 1936 to 1941

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The Pixash Lane store

 

Explore Pixash Lane Archaeology Store, where you can see archaeological finds from Keynsham and have a go at making your own Roman mosaic or medieval tile.

Opening dates and times vary. – For Bath and North East Somerset event listings, download the leaflet from www.romanbaths.co.uk/events/heritageopendays.

Visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk for more information.

 

Maintaining council standards – Can you help?

Maintaining council standards – Can you help?

Bath & North East Somerset Council is looking to recruit two independent local volunteers to help promote and maintain high standards of conduct by councillors and co-opted members.

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The statue of Justice on top Bath Guildhall.

This is an important role for volunteers who will work with the Council’s Monitoring Officers to consider any complaints the Council receives against elected and co-opted members.

Some knowledge of local government is desirable but not essential.  More important is that the Independent Person(s) are people the general public can trust to be completely impartial and have the utmost integrity.

You can be considered for this role if you:

Are a resident, work in or have close links with the Council

Have a proven track record of contributing to the community

Are able to analyse information, ask pertinent questions and maintain confidentiality

You must not be:

Politically active

A member, co-opted member or officer of Bath & North East Somerset Council for any Parish Council in B&NES

A past member, co-opted member or officer of the above in the last five years

Involved with the Council as a major supplier, partner or contractor.

Being an Independent Person is voluntary, but an allowance and expenses will be paid.

For an application form and further details visit: www.bathnes.gov.uk/complain-about-councillors

The closing date is Thursday 31st August 2016. Interviews will be held the week beginning 12th September 2016.  Appointments will be made by the Council by the end of the month.