In light of a previous article we (Frank Thompson and Adam Reynolds) were invited by the developer to visit the site to discuss the issues raised. In light of the visit that article will be removed due to the uninformed views expressed in that article.
Particularly that the developers are delivering a development that is anti-disabled. It does provide a publicly accessible 2.4m x 2.4m lift to get access from street level to the bottom level of the development.
[EDIT] We are getting some criticism for interacting with the developer. I will reference item 11 from our last meeting:
Big discussion with some people concerned that Cycle Bath cannot be seen to be supporting the Hartwells developer. We have criticised them but see these as issues that the developer can resolve. We worked with Curo on Mulberry Park (See Scholar’s Way). We worked on Spring Wharf (Roseberry Place). We worked on Chivers House (BBC Audio). We never comment on what buildings are being built simply the connectivity within the development. As a transport group we are focused on long term delivery of the Strategic Transport Route (STR a.k.a. Locksbrook Greenway) and connectivity. The impact of the STR on Bath will be immense in light of the new cycle investment. Ensuring that any development of Hartwells supports the delivery of the STR and provides good connections to it from the local community is critical. Criticising/praising what buildings are built on the site is something Cycle Bath will not do except in terms of secure cycle storage facilities.
This might make people uncomfortable but we would never have had the Two Tunnels if it wasn’t for the persistence of members against public opinion. We simply remain neutral.
Show me the money
The Developers are want to deliver the Strategic Transport Route (STR) (between Brass Mill Lane and Station Road) or what we call Locksbrook Greenway. The developer will be providing CIL/S106 funding to the council. The issue is that CIL is a statutory requirement but due to the procedural nature of CIL, the STR cannot be an identified project to be delivered until the development has gone through the planning process.
In effect the developer hands over a load of money ‘hoping’ the council will spend it to deliver the STR. It is our role to lobby to make sure that the STR happens.
Also see the Bath Enterprise Plan to understand the importance of the STR.
The issue of inclusive access to the STR from Newbridge Road still persists, as the access ramp will be gated. This needs discussion with councillors and officers. The 1 in 10 access ramp must not be exclusive to cars as it easily supports the use of the Cycle Design Vehicle (2.8m x 1.2m) and provides a major walking/cycling corridor to access the RUH and the local school.
I suggested a set of steps down from the access ramp would provide a better pedestrian route. People on bikes would then use the 6.5m wide ramp (narrows to 4.5m in parts). Any person that cycles in Bath is used to steeper and narrower roads.
A rising bollard or half gate would be all that is needed to fix this issue and discussions with the local councillors and council officers would be needed to ensure this is acceptable.
We agreed that the set of steps through the site are not ideal for cycles and the accessible lift (2.4mx2.4m) could not support the Cycle Design Vehicle (1.2m x 2.8m) nor should it.
Fixing desire lines
We also suggested that the pedestrian crossing point should be moved between Charmouth and Rosslyn Rd and made into a toucan crossing. CIL should be used to make this into a good walking and cycling connection potentially widening the footpath or maybe building a cycle track here. This is beyond the remit of the developers and something we will be taken up with councillors.
We also discussed a ramp up to Osborne Road but this was stated by the developer as impossible due to a high pressure sewage pipe running through the site that requires a 15m easement either side of the pipe. As an old quarry goes, it’s a very complicated site with a 7.5m sheer drop from the road to the floor of the site.
The long term socio-economic benefits of the Strategic Transport Route to Bath cannot be understated. Hartwells is a big piece of the puzzle and an opportunity to provide a traffic free cycling and walking corridor that connects Bath to Bristol, Bradford On Avon, and to Wellow as well as to schools and the RUH one of the biggest employers in the area.
What we need to ensure is that whatever Section 106 or Community Infrastructure Levy moneys are provided to the council that the STR between Brassmill Lane and Station Road is built and the inclusive connectivity from the STR through the Hartwells Site and to the school and RUH is guaranteed.
Should the site get planning permission then the STR comes down to political will.
Completing the puzzle
Further to this the council officers should also be working with LEP/WECA to ensure delivery of the connection from Station Road through to Windsor Bridge and refurbishment of the Locksbrook Bridge which has been estimated to be in the 100s of thousands. We already have a proposed 5km cycle route. Completing the STR between the Bristol Railway Path and the Riverside would finally provide an end to end cycle network in Bath.