Not a pretty picture.

Not a pretty picture.

As far as ‘photo opportunities’ go, Grand Parade is THE spot for tourists to stop and take a ‘selfie’ with the iconic – Robert Adam designed – Pulteney Bridge behind them.

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Not so busy at this time of year but thronged with tourists in the high season – all wanting to get a picture of themselves in front of Pulteney Bridge.

While some may linger to admire the waters of the River Avon rushing over the weir beneath them, l can’t imagine many taking in what is lurking on the other side of the stone balustrade they may be leaning upon.

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Here’s the view – looking through the cafe window.

Here’s the view through the window – from inside the Bridge Coffee Shop – and it’s sad to see the weed-infested stonework that makes up part of what is a Council-owned listed structure.

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Looking towards the bridge, on the other side of the balustrade.

Meanwhile Pulteney Bridge – completed in 1774 to connect the city with the new development taking place on the Bathwick Estate – has also grabbed my attention.

A Grade 1 listed structure, it’s been repaired and renovated several times with the last work – including bolstering its foundations – taking place around the time the current weir was constructed – in the early 70’s – as part of a flood prevention scheme.

Looking over the balustrade – from time to time – l have noticed an horizontal crack in its masonry that seems to have grown wider of late.

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The crack is below the cafe window and above one side of the first bridge span.

Not that l am saying – in anyway – that the structure is in danger – but would be keen to know whether the Council’s engineers have carried out an inspection.

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Hopefully you can see the crack in the horizontal seam between the masonry.

While we are in that historic location, B&NES recently appealed for a private developer to come in and help the Council breath new life into the Colonnades – a column-fronted space supporting Grand Parade above.

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Looking across the river towards the Colonnades.

Bath Rugby have now started the process of changing the look of one side of the riverbank at this point – and we await – with interest – to see what may or may not happen on the other side.

 

Plans submitted for major riverside development

Plans submitted for major riverside development

An outline planning application has been submitted to Bath & North East Somerset Council for the development of Bath Quays North, following public consultation towards the end of last year.

Bath Quays is the Council’s flagship regeneration project to create a new and vibrant commercial quarter for Bath’s flourishing businesses in the heart of the city. Bath Quays North, near Churchill Bridge, is a major part of the scheme.

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Looking towards the Bath Quays North proposed development from Churchill Bridge.

A Bath Quays North Masterplan has been developed and plans for the site include the delivery of up to 25,000 sqm of new office space, creating up to 1,900 new jobs, a minimum of 70 new homes for local people and a new, modern basement car park.

The Bath Quays North application is an important step forward in the Council’s economic strategy to create jobs and opportunities for local people.

The Council gathered feedback on the scheme prior to the submission of the outline planning application, through a series of public events and an online consultation during November 2017.

Cllr Paul Myers (Conservative, Midsomer Norton Redfield, Cabinet Member for Economic & Community Regeneration), said: “The Bath Quays project is a key part of our wider vision of creating a vibrant, prosperous city with flourishing local businesses, job opportunities for our residents, and new homes for people to live.

“Bath Quays would meet the needs of Bath’s successful local business community who wish to expand, as well as encourage others to move to the area, bringing with them higher-wage jobs, investment and economic growth for the city. This would help to provide more opportunities for our residents and young people, especially in Bath’s successful high tech, creative, financial and professional sectors. In addition, an increase in business rates income would support frontline Council services.”

Planning for the future

As part of the proposed scheme, the old multi-storey car park would be replaced with a new and safer basement carpark with up to 485 spaces, of which 320 will be public spaces.

The scheme is in accordance with the aspiration to encouraging greater use of sustainable transport such as bikes, buses and trains and Park and ride sites to reduce traffic levels and improve air quality. The strategic location of the Bath Quays North site close to the bus and train stations and on the cycle path would maximise the opportunity for sustainable travel. Cycling would be encouraged further with cycle storage and changing facilities being provided for occupiers living and working at Bath Quays North.

New spaces for public life

The proposed layout of the site is intended to reinstate the historic street pattern and create space for public life with pedestrianised squares and shared cycle routes linking the new Bath Quays Bridge and river path to the rest of the city.  The addition of waterfront cafes and restaurants would also help create a lively location accessible to all. The recently completed south-facing riverside park was the firststep to improve this area of the city.

 

Construction of a new high quality office block at Bath Quays South alongside the Newark Works building, which received planning consent last May, will begin in early 2018, as will a new pedestrian and cycle bridge located in-between Churchill Bridge and Green Park.

For further information about the Bath Quays North development visit www.bathquays.co.uk.

To view the outline planning application, go to www.bathnes.gov.uk/planningapplications.

For your information.

The Bath Quays development is divided into Bath Quays North which is currently home to Avon Street car park and coach park on the north side of the river; and Bath Quays South, the derelict Newark Works buildings on the south side of the river and adjacent to A36/Lower Bristol Road.

The Council is seeking outline planning consent at Bath Quays North for a total of 38,000 sqm comprising:

  • Up to 25,000 sqm of Grade A office space
  • Minimum of 70 residential dwellings
  • Up to 4,500 sqm of retail/food outlets
  • Basement car park with at least 320 public spaces and additional parking for business/residents

 

Quays side riverbank re-opens.

Quays side riverbank re-opens.

Initial works to transform the river bank between Churchill Bridge and Green Park have been completed in the latest phase of the ambitious £6.2 million Bath Quays Waterside project.

The scheme when complete will protect more than 100 commercial and residential properties from flooding, support the regeneration of Bath Quays, and reconnect Bath to its riverside.

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The re-sculpted bank is designed to let the river flow up it during flood risk periods​. 

Work began early in 2016 with the diversion of Green Park Road, allowing a new south facing park to be created on the river bank, alongside the proposed site for the Bath Quays North development.

The area is now being landscaped, planted, seating installed and new spaces created for activities, benefitting residents, future businesses, workers and visitors.

On the south side of the river, work has been undertaken to provide the first phase of a flood defence between Churchill Bridge and Midland Bridge.

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Pictured at the completion of initial works between Churchill Bridge and Green Park are Councillor Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip) Leader of the Council, Councillor Charles Gerrish, Councillor Charles Gerrish, (Conservative, Keynsham North), Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency and Councillor Bob Goodman, (Conservatives Combe Down) cabinet member for development and neighbour

Bath & North East Somerset Council has been working in partnership with the Environment Agency on the scheme. Deborah Steadman, from the Environment Agency, said: “We are excited to see public access to the park so that people can see some of the work being undertaken to protect the city and improve access to the river. This is the culmination of several years of planning and hard work from all involved.

Completion of the initial work marks the first milestone in Bath & North East Somerset Council’s multi-million pound flagship regeneration project, Bath Quays. The development will transform this part of the city creating a major new commercial and business district with new office and creative work space, homes and improved public realm that will re-connect Bath to its river.

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Pictured are pupils from St Andrew’s Church of England School helping plant the area with l-r Councillor Paul Myers, (Conservative, Midsomer Norton Redfield), Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Regeneration and Councillor Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip) Leader of the Council.

Councillor Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip) Leader of the Council said: “The development of Bath Quays will contribute towards our commitment to deliver up to 9,000 new jobs and 3,500 new homes within Bath and North East Somerset. In addition, by enabling new office development, this will also help diversify the council’s estate for the benefit of future generations, creating an ongoing income for the Council that can be reinvested back into supporting local services.”

While the new park will be there for the public to enjoy, its primary function is to accommodate flood water. For safety reasons when there is a risk of flooding, no-entry signs will be used and the area will be closed to the public with bollard and chain barriers. It is anticipated that this could occur several times a year.

Councillor Paul Myers, (Conservative, Midsomer Norton Redfield), Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Regeneration, added: “This work, which included the diversion of Green Park Road northward, away from the river, has created an opportunity to open up the river to the city. It is a major asset and has the potential to make a large contribution to the city’s future both in economic and in leisure terms. It is important however in any river setting that we all keep safe, take care and look out for warnings when the river is in flood.”

Although the initial phase of works on the north bank has been completed, sections of the open space will have to close again to enable regeneration work to continue.  A formal official opening of the Park will be planned for summer 2018.

 

The final section of flood defence works along the south edge of the river will be undertaken as part of the Bath Quays South development scheme, on the old Newark Works site, envisaged to be completed in 2019.

Riverside drama

Riverside drama

As Chair of ‘CycleBath’, Adam Reynolds is a campaigner for transport improvements and making more inner-city room – and providing safer routes – for those on two wheels.

However, just for a change, he’s been inspired to turn his visionary talents towards proposing an additional feature for the city’s ‘Bath Quay Waterside’ development.

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Adam Reynolds – pictured on the plot of land he would like to see developed as an open-air theatre.

This is where the riverbank of the Avon – near Churchill Bridge – is being reshaped, and new defence walls built to help reduce – and guard – against flooding.

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Flood defences on one side and a re-shaped – more people-friendly- bank on the other.

This will enable both banks at this point to be re-developed to provide new jobs and homes.

There’s lots of talk of re-connecting the city with its river – but Adam also wants to use the Avon as a backdrop for an open-air place of culture – as he explained to the Bath Newseum.

Catch up with Adam’s two-wheel campaigning via https://cyclebath.org.uk/

Autumn opening for new riverside walk?

Autumn opening for new riverside walk?

The newly shaped and landscaped bank of the River Avon – along from Churchill Bridge – continues to take shape.

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Looking onto the newly shaped river bank from the Churchill Bridge end.

Chatting to one workman, he said they hoped it would be ready for people to use by early autumn.

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Looking onto the newly shaped river bank – and towards Churchill Bridge.

Apparently, the little medieval bridge that was uncovered during an archaeological dig on the site IS being restored ‘in situ’ but he said ‘the authorities’ had still not decided how to present it.

I feel another check is necessary. I do keep pushing on this one.

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The new concrete flood wall near Churchill Bridge.

Across the river, the building of a flood retention wall continues apace. It really is taking on the shape of being Bath’s WALL.

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The new flood wall looking towards Churchill Bridge.

While work on both sides of the Avon is part of a scheme to widen the river’s capacity – and reduce the risk of flooding to homes and businesses at this point – l do hope they are going to face the concrete with something more attractive to soften the look.

Bath Water Space project launch

Bath Water Space project launch

Bath’s Water Space project has officially launched its plans to revitalise the river and canals in the Bath area.

Bath & North East Somerset Council has for the past year been working with the Environment Agency, the Canal and & River Trust and Wessex Water to identify opportunities to deliver enhancements to the River Avon and Kennet and Avon Canal (Dundas Aqueduct to Bath to Hanham Lock).

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The canal towpath through Bath’s Sydney Gardens.

The River Avon corridor is undergoing significant redevelopment of brownfield sites and is the focus for major new development in Bath. With this comes real opportunities to revitalise both the River Avon and Kennett & Avon Canal waterways, for people and nature.

The Water Space project has gathered data, mapped information, and generated ideas to work with the community and public, private and voluntary bodies to identify 35 projects and project ideas to revitalise the waterways.

Consultation with local groups on priority projects was carried out by the Water Space project earlier this year.

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The River Avon

Cllr Martin Veal, Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “We are taking a strong partnership approach to developing our waterways. The Water Space project has developed an evidence-based plan for investment in 16 miles of waterway along the River Avon and Kennet and Avon Canal.

It has identified opportunities to improve green spaces and parks, enhance biodiversity, create moorings, realise safe access for sport and leisure and improve public spaces and paths.

The views of residents have been listened to both during and since the consultation on this document and the updated proposals seek to reflect these.  Funding for a number of projects has already been secured and the Water Space team are now working to deliver an investment plan.”

The Water Space Project was the overall winner at this year’s Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) South West Regional Awards for Planning Excellence, the ceremony took place at the Assembly Rooms in Bath on Wednesday, June 7. The project was also recognised as one of the top 8 projects nationally in planning for the natural environment.

 

RTPI South West Chair, David Lowin said: “The Water Space Project is an excellent example of partnership working to realise the potential for future investment along these waterways whilst balancing economic and environmental issues. An impressive feature is the extensive consultation undertaken, in particular with the boating community. This study, and its evidence base, will be a significant factor in the establishment of future planning policies and the determination of planning applications in and around the city of Bath.”

 

Find out more at www.waterspacebath.org.uk

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.