A plan to make Bath’s popular Kingsmead Square car-free every day is being consulted on with the public by Bath and North East Somerset Council.
The council is proposing vehicles are restricted from accessing Kingsmead Square daily during the hours of 11am until midnight to encourage café culture, walking and cycling and reduce air pollution.
The concept of reclaiming parking spaces will be demonstrated on 23 and 24 September when mini parks the size of a single car parking space, known as parklets, will be temporarily installed in New Street and Avon Street to provide seating and planting.
Council officers will be at the parklets to discuss the access restriction proposals along with associated proposals to animate the space and get feedback from the public on Monday 23 September from 4-6pm and on Tuesday 24 September from 12-2pm. The vehicle restriction is proposed to begin in April 2020 for up to 18 months.
Public and business consultation undertaken between September 2018 and January 2019 has informed the proposals. Businesses in the Kingsmead Square area were re-consulted in July 2019 and their requirements continue to contribute to the final plans.
Councillor Joanna Wright, Cabinet Member for Transport Services, said: “The business consultation we carried out in July explored in detail plans for new loading bays, possible improvements to commercial recycling and layout of outdoor tables and chairs to enhance the city’s café culture. Many businesses showed real enthusiasm for the access restriction and associated improvements to the square.
“This is not only about a café culture though, more importantly it is another step towards encouraging people out of their cars, improving air quality and making the city a cleaner and greener place to be. We now want to hear the public’s views on our plans to create an important car-free space in our city.”
Emma Savage, co-owner at Grace & Ted in Kingsmead Square, said: “We’ve been supportive of these proposals since the beginning. Not only will it create a more pleasant and useable space for all, it will help to make the area safer for pedestrians. Kingsmead Square is a bustling and thriving part of the city, full of brilliant businesses who want to continue to improve the area. This scheme will only serve to make our community even better.”
The parklets are manufactured by Vestre, a highly sustainable company who use 100% renewable energy sources for manufacture and have a carbon neutral factory, as well as using environmentally-certified Scandinavian timber.
The parklets will also be in place on Milsom Street over the weekend of 21and 22 September as part of the Love Milsom Street event, which will remove cars from the street.
More information about the proposals and previous consultation responses can be found at https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/planning-and-building-control/major-projects/public-realm-and-movement/kingsmead-square
More about Love Milsom Street can be found at https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/latestnews/car-free-weekend-celebrates-milsom-street
Photo caption: Concept design for New Street (Macgregor Smith)