Ambitious plans to create a 5km walking and cycling route, connecting the new Bath Quays development with sites across the city, has been backed with funding from the West of England Combined Authority.
The Bath River Line project includes upgrading the towpath, improving green spaces and parks, enhancing biodiversity, creating new areas of public space and an arts trail.
At its meeting on Friday 14 June, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) Committee approved the outline business case from Bath & North East Somerset Council, and agreed to invest £150,000 to progress the Bath River Line project. A full business case will now be prepared by the council, to secure a further £3.5m funding from WECA.
West of England 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.”
The Bath River Line project includes a 5km pedestrian and cycle path linking Pulteney Bridge, Pulteney radial gate, the proposed Stadium for Bath riverside public area, North Parade bridge/ Ferry Lane improvements and capital works from Bath Quays Waterside to Newbridge.
Councillor Dine Romero, Bath & North East Somerset Council Leader, 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 Bath & North East Somerset Council to secure potential match-funding opportunities of £4.8m from other sources via new development. The Council also seeks 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.
The Bath River Line project supports new development within the Bath Enterprise Zone, bringing together land in multiple ownerships as part of the transformation of Bath’s riverside.
Caroline Robson, Community Engagement Manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “As a key landowner 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.
The Trust works with volunteers and communities across England and Wales to transform canals and rivers into spaces where people want to spend time. Our research shows that spending time by water, whether on your lunchbreak, daily commute or weekend stroll does make us feel happier and healthier.”