Published date 30th Jul 2021

Metro Mayor hits the high street with “blooming” big spending boost

Dan Norris at Milsom Street, Bath

Metro Mayor Dan Norris visited Bath’s Milsom Street on Thursday 29 July to check out plans to get more people shopping and eating out, thanks to over a million pounds of investment from the West of England Combined Authority, which he leads.

Sitting in one of the colourful “parklets”, which provide outdoor seating areas planted with flowers and shrubs, the Mayor talked to local shop workers about the planned improvements to their street.

The Mayor said: “We need to encourage shoppers, visitors and businesses back into the city centre safely. Sadly, there are some empty shops around the city, so we need to get them re-let or think outside the box and repurpose them so people can enjoy things like pop-up art galleries. I really like the parklets and encouraging outdoor seating for cafes and restaurants. This cash will mean additional blooms of colour in the city centre. A European café culture is my cup of tea, all whilst reducing air pollution and make the city greener. Local people know the unique delights that Bath offers – together we are making it even better.”

The West of England Combined Authority is providing £1.2 million of funding to Bath & North East Somerset Council’s five-year plan to improve Bath City Centre, including Milsom Street and Kingsmead Square to help transform two key areas in the city into accessible, vibrant areas to shop, eat and relax.

Councillor Richard Samuel, the Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for Economic Development & Resources, said: “We’re pleased to have been offered West of England Combined Authority funding to improve parts of the city centre and we’re putting the Love our High Streets scheme to work to help reinvigorate the northern and western gateways to the city centre.

“This means working with business to create a greener and more welcoming environment, including bringing vacant shops back into use for cultural and arts initiatives or as pop-up shops, adding parklets, to the ones we have already introduced.

“We want to improve accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists and people using public transport and build on the success of Kingsmead Square with the aim of driving up footfall, reducing vacancy rates and helping businesses to recover following lockdown.”

Dan Mason, Managing Director of Realm, who manage Milsom Place said: “With initiatives that benefit businesses and residents alike, the parklets, partial pedestrianisation and various festivals and interventions are helping to ensure Milsom Street continues to enjoy it reputation as a superb shopping and dining destination.

“The additional funding for the Love Milsom Street campaign will give everyone involved the confidence and pride to maintain the vitality of this iconic location and we fully support the project to deliver a new vision for Milsom Quarter and the investment decisions being made.”

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