Funding boost for project to create green links with Bath’s new Quays development

June 21, 2019

Ambitious plans to create a 5km walking and cycling route that will connect the new Bath Quays development with sites across the city have been backed with funding from the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).

The Bath River Line project includes upgrading the towpath, improving green spaces and parks, enhancing biodiversity and creating new areas of public space and an arts trail. 

It will also support new development in the Bath Enterprise Zone, bringing together land in multiple ownerships as part of the transformation of Bath’s riverside. The 98-hectare Enterprise Zone on former industrial land alongside the River Avon will generate thousands of jobs over the next decades and includes the Bath Quays North and South office parks – work on which has just started.

WECA approved the outline business case from Bath & North East Somerset Council (B&NES) and agreed to invest £150,000 to progress the project. A full business case will now be prepared by the council to secure a further £3.5m funding from WECA.

West of England Metro Mayor Tim Bowles said: “This is a great project that supports my plans for clean and inclusive economic growth across our region. It will help tackle congestion and connect people across the city with new employment sites via a high-quality walking and cycling route.

“The Bath River Line also aims to offer more leisure opportunities – on water and on land – and a series of green spaces and parks to be enjoyed by those living and working in the Bath Enterprise Zone as well as the wider city.”

As well as a 5km pedestrian and cycle path linking Pulteney Bridge, Pulteney radial flood gate and the Stadium for Bath riverside public area, it also includes improvements to North Parade bridge/Ferry Lane and capital works from Bath Quays Waterside to Newbridge. 

B&NES leader Cllr Dine Romero said: “The Bath River Line project reflects our commitment to invest in and create high-quality public spaces, secure environmental enhancements and improve active travel routes in the city. I’m delighted that WECA has approved this essential funding to take this project to the next stage. It supports our vision for a greener and healthier city.”

The investment from WECA will help B&NES secure potential match-funding opportunities of £4.8m from other sources via new development. The council is also seeking to support the removal of the 1970s Pulteney radial flood gate, which is reaching the end of its design life, together with the enhancement of the adjoining public spaces.

Among the landowners in the Enterprise Zone is the Canal & River Trust, which works with volunteers and communities across England and Wales to transform canals and rivers into spaces where people want to spend time.  

Trust community engagement manager Caroline Robson said: “Working in partnership with B&NES Council, we are delighted to support the Bath River Line project which will deliver significant benefits for people and nature, enhancing the riverside environment and improving the towpaths and parks along a 5km stretch linking Bath city centre and Newbridge.

“Our research shows that spending time by water, whether on your lunchbreak, daily commute or weekend stroll does make us feel happier and healthier.”

WECA brings together B&NES, Bristol City and South Gloucestershire councils on regionally important strategic matters such as economic development, transport and skills.




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