Cast your vote by Friday!

The council has a Community Infrastructure Levy Fund and are asking residents to cast their vote for which ones they should support. Two of the projects should be of keen interest to you. Two will have a direct impact on you if you walk/wheel or cycle along the K&A Towpath.

Bathwick Towpath Improvement Project (resurfacing work)

Canal and River Trust – £35,000 towards phase II of the Bathwick Towpath Improvement Project. (Bid Document)

The project will improve a key linking route for pedestrians and cyclists, and will improve the mooring offer. As well as linking the outer neighbourhoods with the city centre, the project will further improve links to the Holburne Museum and Sydney Gardens, one of the UK’s best remaining pleasure gardens, which secured National Lottery Heritage funding for a restoration project in 2019.

Bath Waterways Volunteer Workforce

Bath Towpath Volunteers Canal and River Trust – £42,500 over a five-year period for the Bath Waterways Volunteer Workforce.(Bid document)

  • The CIL funding will provide the essential funding required for the operation of the Implementation stage of the Waterspace Plan. This will include:
  • Delivering for residents by supporting improvements to the towpath which could include some restoration, painting, safety issues and access.
  • Providing a ‘vision of the Bath River Line’ on the “Sulis” from the river.
  • Carry out a street furniture quality and location audit.
  • Supporting the River Avon mooring strategy.
  • Supporting water borne surveys which could include river travel, possible parks, audit of live-aboard boats and recreation usage.
  • Continuing with the previous activities such as Community safety issues along the canal and river, litter, vegetation management and debris removal.
  • Maintaining the lock flight through Bath
  • Refurbishment of offside abutments through Sydney Gardens Bath. An initiative led by a Bath volunteer, is restoring the jewel in crown on the
  • K&A, through Sydney Gardens, back to its former glory. Extensive work has been already carried out including, removal of all the Yew Trees, removing of ivy on tunnel entrances, stone work and preparing some abutments for planting natural grass and flower meadows resembling the original 1794 design (as agree by BANES ). This work is expected to be completed in 2023.

Issues with the Bathwick Resurfacing

This is not a perfect proposal. The Bathwick resurfacing work doesn’t fix the accessibility issue once you reach Bathwick Hill. Those steps are a nightmare for anyone in a wheelchair.

The only good solution I can work out is to take down a section of the 3ft wall in the car park behind Tesco and create a level access point for wheeling and cycling.

3ft wall that is clearly used by people hopping over it.

I’m also wary of the way that this before and after picture in the Towpath upgrade is used. That final width is poor. A width of 2m would accommodate most mobility scooter turning circles and a 2.4m width would allow two Cycle Design Vehicles, as specified in National Design Standards LTN 1/20 to pass each other carefully.

Before recent upgrade.
After recent upgrade maintaining narrow path width.

The bid document also makes the following statement:

The towpath is an important section of a safe off-road cross city sustainable
transport route. It also forms an important part of many children’s safe route
to school. Such investment is needed to support higher walking and cycling
rates and would support the delivery of the proposed Bath Clean Air Zone (will
encourage local residents to leave their cars at home)

This problem is compounded by the CRT’s Towpath Design Guide which discriminates against disabled people making statements that narrow towpaths are acceptable as people can “step” onto the grass.

Google Streetview shows there is significant opportunity to widen this towpath to at least 3m inline with recommended shared path guidance.

I just hope that the council has learnt its lesson from the upgrade of the Bathwick Hill to Sydney Gardens section and are insisting on a much wider towpath that accommodates wheeled users better and creates a less conflicted space.

However perfect can be the enemy of good enough and in this case both these schemes offer big benefits to walking/wheeling and cycling (eventually) and should be supported.

Deadline is FRIDAY!

Filling in the survey takes about a minute. Please support these projects!

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