We have recently received several emails and letters from members regarding the possible plans for a cable car operating from Mulberry Park to the city centre. Members are understandably concerned about the impact it could have on their homes and the potential impact on the appearance of the World Heritage site.
Our response is as follows:
BPT has not yet taken a position on this and currently lacks detailed information to do so.
We were first briefed about this as a possibility about a year ago, at which stage it was a very unformed scheme. Curo have since consulted with us again prior to a public consultation on transport options for the south of Bath this spring in which BPT will participate. We understand that this will be an ‘in principle’ consultation leading to a more detailed consultation in the autumn. We do not expect there to be sufficient information in the first consultation to reach a final view.
In considering any proposal for a cable car as an option we will be forming our view based on (at least) three issues:
- Impact on the World Heritage Site and setting: this might be considerable if there were brightly coloured, branded cars and multiple stanchions, but might conversely be minimal, with an intervention on the skyline of a single ‘pole’ and cars which disappear into the varied background when seen from key viewpoints. Until we understand the designs and accurate visualisations we cannot comment definitively. When we have more information we would be looking at it in the context of key views in and out of the city, and whether a cable car would adversely impact on this.
- The business case: the extent to which it will be an attractive transport option for the existing and (considerable) extra householders on the top of the plateau, as well as schoolchildren. The traffic problems up at Bradford Road and Wellsway are currently very serious and can only get worse with the new developments and the reduction of parking in town. This would be in part an issue of pricing;
- Traffic management; the extent to which external evidence suggests that there will be a traffic benefit and that it forms part of an integrated traffic solution for Bath. There is a further question as to whether it would be a beneficial addition to the tourism mix in Bath and would offer an opportunity to give a bird’s eye view of the World Heritage Site in a way that delivered other benefits: or conversely whether this would just be a gimmick.
We are very conscious that there are ‘neighbour’ issues for people whose gardens and houses might be ‘flown over’. These are legitimate concerns. If all the above points were resolved positively, should the scheme progress, BPT would be pushing for non-branded cars with a design which prevented looking down into houses/gardens. However it would be difficult to see that BPT would take an opposing stance on the ‘neighbour’ issues alone, while we would understand the reasons why individual householders would want to do so.
We will keep members informed of the consultation events relating to this proposal, and our formal responses as they are submitted. We are aware that a campaign group has been set up and we are in receipt of their information though as explained above are currently reserving our position.