We’ve put together a list of Bath’s top ten stories that have proved popular across the city during 2016, many of which you may have forgotten about as the year quickly sped past.
Unexploded WW2 bomb discovered at former junior school site in Bath
Hundreds of homes were evacuated in the Lansdown area of Bath in May, after an unexploded WW2 bomb was discovered during redevelopment work at the former Royal High Junior School. The 500lb bomb was removed the following day, and taken to a local quarry to be safely destroyed.
Archaeologists uncover two hidden baths at the historic Roman Baths
In April, archaeologists began digging up two hidden Roman baths which had never been fully excavated and recorded underneath York Street and Swallow Street. The archaeological dig took place as part of the Access and Investigation Zones in the planned Archway Centre.
New M&S Foodhall opens its doors in Weston Lock Retail Park
The new M&S Foodhall in Bath officially opened its doors to customers in June, offering locals the chance to experience the retailer’s innovative and high quality goods. The 8,500 sq. ft. foodhall offers the very best of M&S’s food and drink with more than 6,500 products available, and created 45 new jobs for local people.
City mystified after not one, but three human feet found in Weston Park East
Police launched an investigation and closed off an area of a Bath park in February after a human foot was found in undergrowth by a member of the public. In May, it was concluded the foot was most likely a medial exhibit. A further two feet were found in July and August. In November, it was established the further two feet that were discovered were also likely to be a medical or educational exhibit.
Majority of Bath’s residents vote to remain part of the European Union
In June, the UK as a whole voted to leave the European Union after 43 years, though a 57.9% majority of Bath residents wanted to remain as part of the union in the historic referendum. There was a turnout of 105,298 for Bath and North East Somerset, meaning 77.13% of those eligible to vote had their say.
Bristol man sentenced for 1984 murder of Bath teenager Melanie Road
A 64-year-old Bristol man was sentenced to life imprisonment in May after admitting the murder of 17-year-old Melanie Road, who was stabbed to death in St Stephens Close in Bath in 1984. Christopher Hampton was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 22 years in prison. The 700 police officers and staff involved in the murder investigation were praised following the sentencing.
Police speak to driver after child seen in boot of car in central Bath
In May, police spoke to the driver of a car that was photographed with a child restrained in a pushchair placed in the boot of the vehicle in central Bath. The image was widely shared on social media. Officers confirmed to the Bath Echo that they had traced the driver of the red Toyota Yaris Verso and had given her words of advice over her actions.
Dangers of River Avon raised again after body of 19-year-old man found
The body of a man found in the River Avon in Bath in November was formally identified as 19-year-old Henry Burke, who went missing during a night out the previous week. Henry, from Ripon in North Yorkshire, was found in the stretch of the river off Old Orchard. A post-mortem confirmed the cause of his death as drowning. Existing safety measures are to be reviewed once again following the tragedy.
Bath’s bus network overhauled for simplified travel across the city
Bath’s bus network was overhauled in early September in a bid to make travel in the city simpler, easier and more responsive to customer demand. All of the routes were affected, with quite a few re-numbered and some significantly changed. Wessex Bus also took over some of the services, with improved frequency and journey times.
Bath Spa University unveil new Green Park accommodation
In June, Bath Spa University’s new student accommodation in Bath was unveiled, located on a street in the city where one of Jane Austen’s homes used to stand. The accommodation provides an additional 461 bed spaces for the university to house students. A new scheme was also launched meaning continuing students are given the option to live in halls for the full three years of study.
Those are our top ten stories for 2016 – the Bath Echo team hope you have enjoyed our local news coverage over the past year and we’re looking forward to keeping you up-to-date with the latest stories and what’s on throughout 2017.