Bath & North East Somerset Council has welcomed the West of England Combined Authority’s (WECA) proposals to kick start a major transport improvement scheme in the Bath & Somer Valley Enterprise Zone.
The Combined Authority will meet on Monday 30th October at the Guildhall in Bath to decide whether to fund the development of a business case to look at the scheme in more detail.
WECA will consider allocating £280k to develop a business case for improving the route from the Old Mills employment site on the A362 to the A37, which would include removing traffic pinch-points along the road as well as pedestrian and cycling improvements. The site has the potential to create 1,700 to 2,000 new jobs but the current route from the A37 to the site requires upgrading to accommodate the increase in travel demand.
Cllr Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip) Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council said: “This funding, if agreed, would be represent a major vote of confidence in the Somer Valley, providing a real boost to the local economy and demonstrating our commitment to investing in the local community.
“Producing a business case is the first crucial step towards securing the funding needed to upgrade the route between Old Mills and the A37. Not only would this improve journey times and transport links to the Somer Valley, but it will also help unlock plans for new jobs at the Old Mills site. Over the past 20 years there has been significant housing growth in the Somer Valley, but this hasn’t always been accompanied by the new jobs and transport links needed. As well as improving journeys from the Somer Valley to the A37, creating new employment at the Enterprise Zone on the Old Mills site will reduce the need for residents to travel to Bath and Bristol for work. This is really positive news for the whole Somer Valley.”
Cllr Mark Shelford (Conservative, Lyncombe) Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment said: “Our aim in improving this route is to create additional capacity, and remove pinch points along the route from the Old Mills site to the A37 while improving pedestrian and cycling access with sustainable routes to the communities to the east and west of the site. Providing local jobs for local people will remove commuter traffic, but we need to ensure the local network develops to support our plans for economic growth in the area.”
Transport schemes in Bath and North East Somerset have already benefitted from significant investment awarded by the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership including:
- £1.8m to relocate a coach park from Bath Quays North to Odd Down Park and Ride.
- £400,000 towards improvements to the A39/B3116 Junction, at the ‘two headed man’, to aid traffic flow.
- £40,000 Cycle Investment Package to help fund improvements to the cycle network in Midsomer Norton and the Bath City Riverside Enterprise Area and provide grants for employers to encourage cycling and walking to work.
- £75,000 to progress the design and delivery of Safer Routes to Schools Schemes.
Tim Bowles, West of England Mayor, said: “Over the next 20 years the West of England Combined Authority aims to transform transport in the region. We need to address underlying transport issues while enabling the sustainable delivery of new housing and employment growth. The investment we are proposing to make in these specific projects forms part of a long-term commitment to getting the region moving.”