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General questions

The West of England Mayoral Combined Authority was awarded £540 million in 2022 by the Department for Transport as part of the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement to improve the region’s sustainable transport network – including improvements to public transport, walking, wheeling and cycling. This project is part of that wider programme in the West of England.

Decisions around spending priorities is a matter for central Government.

The funding awarded to the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority has strict criteria and is limited to projects that deliver better infrastructure for buses, cycling and walking.

Spending money on infrastructure contributes to economic growth, and investment in sustainable transport has wider benefits for air quality and health.

This is not anti-car. We recognise for some people (especially those with mobility issues) and some journeys that cars will remain the best way to travel in the future. Rather than seeking to prevent people who need to use their own vehicles, we are looking to provide more choices and opportunities for people to travel sustainably.

The proposals would improve the infrastructure for sustainable types of travel – making it easier for people to travel by bus, walking and cycling.

This could mean reallocating space on the road used by cars, lorries and vans in favour of other types of transport. In the short term, this might make it slightly longer to travel by car or to walk slightly further to park. But in the longer term, by making it easier and more convenient to use sustainable transport, more people could choose to use buses, walk or cycle - reducing congestion and making all journeys quicker.

We also have an obligation under national legislation to contribute to meeting the net-zero carbon target by 2050 - and an earlier local ambition to do so by 2030. Transport makes a significant contribution to carbon and other emissions; more sustainable travel choices will help us to achieve those targets.

Questions about the proposals

There are several reasons for proposing these changes in Bath city centre.

We want to make it a much easier and safer option for people who can leave their cars at home, to start walking, cycling or using buses more. And if you use a mobility scooter or wheelchair – wheeling.

At the moment in Bath, there’s a lack of dedicated and connected cycle paths and in some places, poor footpaths. This means that sometimes it’s difficult to choose to travel sustainably even if people want to. Investing in better infrastructure would help to give people a genuine choice.

The changes in the Ambury Gyratory and St James’s Parade aim to tackle the often frustrating delays right near the bus station.

Improving buses, as well as walking, and cycling in Bath would reduce congestion, noise levels and improve air quality. This would not only make Bath a more pleasant place to live, work and travel through, but also protect the city centre’s unique World Heritage Site status.

Choosing to travel more sustainably means getting more active which in turn brings health benefits too.

  • To provide better choices to travel sustainably, by encouraging people who can to walk, cycle and use the bus rather than using a car
  • To stop buses getting caught up in traffic near Bath Bus Station, making bus journeys quicker and making buses more reliable. In turn, this will help to make running bus services more viable
  • To make travelling in Bath city centre safer and easier for cyclists of all ages and abilities, and to keep pedestrians and cycling separate wherever possible

A number of initial suggestions were evaluated using an independent safety review and taking into account how proposals would affect pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, buses and local businesses. We believe the proposals being shared now are the best solutions, but we’d like to hear what you think.

Each proposal is at a different stage in development:

  • The changes to the Ambury Gyratory and St James’s Parade are at an early stage. More detailed design work will be undertaken after this consultation, taking into account all the feedback we receive.
  • The proposals for cross-city centre cycling route are more advanced. This is our preferred route – and this is the final opportunity to comment.

These proposals are at an early stage, and more work is needed before we finalise any plans. We want to understand what people think about these initial concepts before we progress and develop any detailed designs. This means we can take views, comments and suggestions on board and make changes if needed.

We will be engaging on this proposal again once detailed proposals have been drawn up.

Yes, some on-street parking spaces would be removed:

  • On Barton Street between Beauford Square and Saw Close, three parking bays are proposed to be removed, but the loading bay would be retained
  • Some on-street parking (Maximum of five spaces) may need to be removed on St James’s Parade
  • The loading bay on Bridge Street would need to move, but the location has not been confirmed
  • All existing drop kerbs and access to garages will be retained

We understand the uniqueness of the city of Bath, and how important it is that any changes preserve the unique cultural heritage of the city. We’ve already discussed the proposals with Bath & North East Somerset Council’s World Heritage Site team and are planning to use materials and surfaces that are most suited to the historic setting.

We will aim to minimise any disruption to businesses, customers and deliveries as much as possible.

We will carry out traffic surveys on loading bays so we can understand how and when deliveries are made and plans will be drawn up to keep disturbance to an absolute minimum.

No. There will be no change, but cyclists would be signposted in the future along Upper Borough Walls, where there are fewer pedestrians.

Next steps

After this consultation finishes, we will review all the feedback and produce a consultation report, which will be published on this website. If you want to know when this happens, please register to sign up for updates.

The next stage of the project will include technical assessments and detailed traffic modelling. This will look at how the proposals would affect journey times for buses and for other traffic.

Because the proposals for The Ambury Gyratory and St James’s Parade are at an earlier stage, there will be another opportunity to comment.

Subject to the feedback received, the cross-city centre cycling proposal will be finalised for approval.

If the proposals go ahead, construction on the cross-city centre cycling route could start in late 2024 or early 2025 and last for approximately 12 months. Construction of the proposals at the Ambury Gyratory and St James’s Parade wouldn’t start until late 2025 or early 2026.

The construction works will be carefully planned with contractors to keep any disturbance to an absolute minimum. However, there will inevitably be some degree of disruption. Local residents, businesses and road users will be kept well informed well in advance during the delivery of the project.

This is not yet decided. A tender process for a contractor will be carried out later, well ahead of planned start of works to make sure that residents are kept informed.

Bus service questions

The central Government funding for this project can only be used to improve infrastructure for buses, walking and cycling.

But any investment in infrastructure is linked to improving bus services. Better infrastructure is a vital part of making bus travel quicker and more reliable – this means more people may use buses – and getting more people on the bus means that services are more likely to be commercially viable. Bus operators could potentially re-invest additional income into bus services.

At the same time as this project, work is ongoing with bus operators and local councils in an “Enhanced Partnership” to improve bus services – jointly aiming to make buses more frequent, keeping fares stable and developing new services.

£105m of Government funding has been earmarked for bus improvements across the region.

The money allocated by central Government has strict criteria on what it can be spent on. The money allocated to this project can only be spent on making the basic infrastructure better, rather than bus services.

Environment and climate

The West of England Combined Authority is committed to tackling the climate and ecological emergency. In 2022 six priorities were identified where action is needed and where the region aims to deliver tangible progress. One of the key priorities is to “decarbonise” the transport system - reducing car dependency and increasing cycling, walking, wheeling and public transport use.

This project will directly help to achieve this objective by giving people more opportunities for travelling by bus, walking and cycling. At a project level we are considering the impact of the project on the environment at every stage, through design decisions and the choice of materials we use.

Through the next stage of the project, we will be looking to understand exactly what impact the project may have on carbon – during construction and beyond - including the differences that can be made by people travelling more sustainably.

We don’t expect there to be any tree loss – however, further surveys will be required and any trees that were lost would be replaced.

Last updated 14/11/23