The condition of the street scene is doing much to damage the setting of Bath’s beautiful buildings and important sequences of public space. A long awaited Public Realm and Movement Strategy for the public space in Bath was adopted as Council policy in March 2010 following an extensive consultation process. The strategy recognises the decline of Bath’s urban environment and sets ambitious targets for its improvement, which includes new paving and street furniture and revamped destination spaces.
BPT’s full response to the Public Realm and Movement Strategy is available here.
In short, we applaud the ambition and broad aims and objectives of the strategy. We have made the point that all physical development of the public realm must respect in spirit, and enhance in fact, the outstanding universal values of the World Heritage Site. We supported an altered hierarchy for transport, placing pedestrians, cyclists and public transport above the car, and we criticised the strategy for placing insufficient emphasis on craftsmanship and local materials as a core design consideration. Designs for street furniture in the historic areas must be firmly rooted in the local traditional style. BPT has a place on the Stakeholder Public Realm Review Panel and in addition we are looking to influence a new lamp post strategy for the city.
Design standards for all aspects of the public realm have been published in the Bath Pattern Book.
During 2009, an enthusiastic team of volunteers undertook audits of the condition of shopping streets in the city centre. The Streetscape Working Group carried out inventories of historic details and de-cluttering audits to target quick wins for enhancement, in areas including Old Bond Street, Westgate Street, Union Street, High Street and Small Street. The feedback was reported to major landowners and property managers in the city centre, including St John’s Hospital and B&NES Council, and the City Centre Manager and helped to influence the revival of streets including Westgate Street and Northumberland Passage.