Bath’s much-loved Milsom Street and its traders will be championed next month in an event that will allow people to enjoy the street without traffic for a whole weekend.
Love Milsom Street takes place throughout two days on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September and will see the street closed to all vehicles. The closure is set to give businesses increased footfall, as well as the opportunity to offer pop-up trading stalls and extra seating on the street.
The event is part of the Love Our High Streets project funded by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), which aims to revitalise and rethink the way local high streets are used.
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “This is a great example of how our Love our High Streets project is helping to revitalise local communities by giving high streets and town centres a real boost. The future of our high streets isn’t just about shops, it’s about our businesses, community activities and the way that spaces are used. This is another example of how the West of England Combined Authority is making a difference in our communities.
“Making Milsom Street a vehicle-free zone for the weekend also supports our ambitions for clean and inclusive economic growth in the West of England, as set out in our Local Industrial Strategy.”
It coincides with national World Car Free day on the Sunday and European Mobility Week on 16 – 22 September, a campaign to promote sustainable travel across Europe. To carry out the closure Bath and North East Somerset Council is working with local businesses, Bath BID, Visit Bath and local landlords.
Councillor Paul Crossley, Bath & North East Somerset Council’s cabinet member for Community Services, said: “This is a fantastic community event that not only raises the profile of this historic street and attracts more visitors, but also supports our priority of tackling the climate emergency. Having a car-free weekend will highlight our commitment to bring clean air to Bath, as well as draw more visitors in to fully appreciate what Milsom Street has to offer.”
Councillor Joanna Wright, cabinet member for Transport added: “‘Love Milsom Street’ presents a unique opportunity to celebrate the businesses local to Milsom Street whilst testing the environmental benefits of restricting traffic to one of Bath’s most prominent and historic high streets. The event which coincides with international car free day and EU mobility week will help to promote sustainable transport across Bath and raise awareness of the Climate Emergency. The success of this event will hopefully pave the way for more regular closures of Milsom Street in the future.”
Businesses from Milsom Street and Milsom Place have been involved with the event from the early stages. Paula Leech, Area Manager of Kiehl’s, said: “I love the concept and am very much looking forward to this collaboration and possibly future ones.”
This will be the first time Milsom Street has been closed outside of the Christmas period. Last December footfall rose by 20 per cent when the street was closed during the Christmas Market.