Focusing on the River Avon and Kennet and Avon Canal (Dundas Aqueduct to Bath to Hanham Lock), Bath & North East Somerset Council has worked in partnership with the Environment Agency, the Canal & River Trust and Wessex Water through the WaterSpace Study to develop an evidence base, undertake public and stakeholder consultation to identify opportunities to deliver enhancements to these waterways and adjoining land.
The WaterSpace project has involved surveys, mapping work, data collection and stakeholder and public engagement events, all focused on 5 themes:
- Assets and Asset Management
- Mooring Strategy and Navigation
- Regeneration & Development
- Water quality & Environmental Enhancement
- Recreation and Leisure
The River Avon corridor is undergoing significant redevelopment of brownfield sites, and is the focus for major new development in Bath. With this comes real opportunities to revitalise the River Avon and Kennett & Avon Canal waterways, for people and nature.
The WaterSpace project has gathered data, mapped information, and generated ideas to work with the community and public, private and voluntary bodies to identify 35 projects and project ideas to revitalise the waterways. The final draft is available below, following amendments made after the public consultation:
• WaterSpace Study Pages 1 - 68 (Sept 2017), WaterSpace Study Pages 69 - 150 (Sept 2017)
• Appendices including consultation reports, evidence gathering reports etc.
The WaterSpace Study includes opportunities to create moorings, improve green spaces and parks, enhance biodiversity, realise safe access for sport and leisure and improve public spaces and paths. Of the 35 projects – some are project ideas which have funding, others are part-funded, and some are just a concept.
Projects include smaller scale volunteer activities as well as bigger items and schemes which could be delivered or funded by new development or delivered on land owned by the partners.
The project ideas include:
- The development of the River Avon Park – connecting people with riverside green spaces by creating a new city park.
- Improved slipways, moorings and related boating facilities
- Improvements to the waterways
- Projects to re-wild the river and improve habitats for species like otters and bats
- River taxi and arts projects.
Alongside the project, River Avon Festival of Nature in 2016 and 2017, saw more than 7,000 local people attending environment and arts events and activities to celebrate our waterways.
The innovative approach taken has led to the project being identified by the Royal Town Planning Institute as one of the top 8 projects in the UK to improve the natural environment. The project also received the 2017 award for best spatial planning project, and the best project in the South West region from the Royal Town Planning Institute.
The next stage will be to work with local groups and partners to identify which are the priority projects, develop funding bids and realise the best opportunities to deliver the vision to revitalise our waterways.
The WaterSpace Partnership has recently completed its 2018-19 Annual Report and a funding and action plan for the next 5 years.
The Annual Report for 2017-18 is available here.
- Canal and River Trust: www.canalrivertrust.org.uk
- Environment Agency: www.environment-agency.gov.uk
- Wessex Water: www.wessexwater.co.uk
WaterSpace Design Guidance
New informal design guidance on Protecting bats in waterside development has been launched (July 2018) to inform Masterplanning and Urban Design approaches to planning applications within 30m of the River and Canal.
For more detail about how you can get involved, to join our mailing list or find out more contact the Environment & Design Projects Team via:
B&NES Council Connect - 01225 394041 or email RiverAvon@bathnes.gov.uk.
Last updated: 2 January 2020