Innovative projects to make Bath and North East Somerset’s cities and town centres more sustainable and improve them to benefit nature and people are being taken forward with several major regeneration schemes having come to fruition in the year since an ambitious Place Prospectus for the district was launched.
In the past year, more than 60 pop-up businesses have been supported in Bath city centre, where vacancy rates are now low. Bath & North East Somerset Council has also supported groups such as Cleveland Pools and the B&NES Climate Hub to run pop-up shops.
More than £1m grant funding has been secured for the Midsomer Norton Town Hall transformation project currently under way, with the Unit 14 community space already completed and hosting more than 8,000 users per year for meetings and events.
Bath Quays No 1 – the first new office building in Bath for a generation – has opened alongside the pedestrian bridge and Newark Works. In Keynsham, the Temple Street public realm improvements have been completed to improve the environment, provide new cycle parking and installing the town’s first on street mini-park, known as a ‘parklet’.
These alongside other significant schemes to improve the area for the future are set out in the latest Place Prospectus and demonstrate how the council is working to support businesses, and communities and secure investment in our area.
The successes also include:
- The pedestrianisation of Kingsmead Square between 11am and midnight with new street furniture installed
- Radstock Town Centre action plan has attracted more than £500,000 grant funding and a High Street cultural programme is now under way
- Vacant shops on Twerton High Street brought back into use for community arts with the first community high street festival 'Twert Lush', held in September
The Place Prospectus details how Bath and North East Somerset is part of a sub-region of 1.1 million people making a significant contribution to the subregional economy and how the region’s 45,000 businesses and £4bn a year economy is home to the UK’s most qualified workforce outside of London.
It has now been updated to include new projects under way and funded in the past year which include:
- The Somer Valley Rediscovered project to improve biodiversity whilst better connecting communities to their local green spaces.
- The relocation of the Fashion Museum Bath to the Old Post Office
- The development of maker space and flexible workspace by repurposing the council-owned car park at Broad Street Yards in Bath and public space improvements at Broad Street Place.
Councillor Kevin Guy, Council Leader, said: “The challenges of 2020 and beyond impacted our community and local businesses, but it’s pleasing to see the evidence that our city and town centres are bucking the trend. Since the launch of our Place Prospectus one year ago we have seen significant investment and development translate into new opportunities, including in Bath city centre where new flagship office space is attracting businesses and where we are making great progress to make our streets greener and more people friendly.
“It’s also fantastic to see the improvements that have been made to the public realm in Temple Street in Keynsham as part of the Historic High Street Heritage Action Zone – a partnership scheme that is also enhancing Midsomer Norton town centre. These projects celebrate the heritage of the towns and encourage sustainable economic and cultural growth in these important historic town centres.”