Residents and visitors to Kingsmead Square and York Street will be able to safely shop and socialise in a traffic-free, improved environment for longer from October.
Following positive feedback and discussions with traders, Bath & North East Somerset Council has agreed to further support social distancing and the evening economy by extending the vehicle access restrictions introduced in response to Covid-19 in both streets.
From Monday 5th October, access restrictions will apply from 10am until 10pm.
The council is also investing in public realm improvements in both streets. Improvements to York Street are due to be implemented as part of the Archway Centre project.
Phase 1 of improvements to Kingsmead Square will see the installation of new ‘parklets’, incorporating seating and attractive planting in former car parking bays and new cycle stands erected.
It has been a long-held ambition of residents and businesses in Kingsmead Square to reduce the dominance of vehicles and reclaim the roadway as public space and the council has consulted and worked with the local community on the project proposals for the last two years.
Lindsay Holdoway of local property company HPH who own and manage the South Terrace, said: “We have worked with council for many years to help improve the environment in the Square and promote its use for a more café culture style, in the way that similar space is used in many European cities.
“The council have brought forward a very practical and exciting design.
“We are looking forward to seeing its successful delivery which will greatly benefit hospitality businesses, residents and people visiting the city centre area which is even more relevant with the current Covid-19 restrictions.”
Emma Savage, owner of Grace & Ted and member of Kingsmead Square Trader Association, said: “The businesses in Kingsmead Square have been bustling since re-opening after lockdown and the access restriction has really helped with spacing tables and making the area feel safer and more pleasant to sit.
“We’re really excited about the next phase of public realm improvements; the proposals we’ve seen look fantastic and will only make Kingsmead Square more welcoming and vibrant!”
The parklets, have been manufactured by industry leaders ‘Meristem’, who have supplied similar urban installations in London and Liverpool.
Councillor Joanna Wright, cabinet member for Transport Services, said: “The introduction of temporary access restrictions at Kingsmead Square, imposed as a result of Covid-19, has given us the opportunity to support businesses to gain pavement licences for tables and chairs outside, while still maintaining clear pedestrian routes, facilitating social distancing.
“We will be consulting on a permanent vehicle access restriction for Kingsmead Square in the coming months, reflecting our commitment to creating a cleaner, greener public square, rebalanced in favour of pedestrians and cyclists.
“However, while enjoying café culture, I must emphasise that people must still heed government restrictions and at the moment that means not socialising in groups larger than six.”
Vehicle access to both York Street and Kingsmead Square will be controlled by gates and bollards. Emergency services have access at all times.
Outside the hours of 10am -10pm vehicles will be allowed as usual, enabling access to flats, shops and cafes for essential loading, servicing and refuse collection.
Kingsmead Square has been the first location in Bath city centre to test commercial food waste recycling, helping businesses to reduce their environmental footprint.