Plans to stop traffic travelling through a key street in the centre of Bath have been welcomed by locals living nearby.
Bath & North East Somerset Council’s latest plans for liveable neighbourhoods in the city would see Gay Street effectively cut in half for motorists.
The “upper” section of the street between the George Street junction and the Circus will be closed to vehicles travelling up the street from Queen Square.
Meanwhile, vehicles travelling down the upper section of the street will either have to pull a U-turn and head back up to the Circus, or leave the street by a new left-turn-only onto George Street.
The traffic calming measure is one of three which could be installed on a trial basis which would form the “Lower Lansdown and the Circus Area Liveable Neighbourhood”.
This will also see collapsible bollards installed on Catharine Place and Winifred’s Lane.
The previous rollout of liveable neighbourhoods has been contentious, but the Circus Area Residents Association (CARA), which represents people living in the area, has welcomed the plans.
Chair Malcolm Baldwin said: “The context and arguments in favour of introducing key and enhancing aspects of a liveable neighbourhood into our CARA catchment area have always been and remain compelling.
“The announced potential interventions and enhancements in “upper” Gay Street together with that bordering Catharine Place will underpin the more general improvements to the public realm that we ourselves as a community have initiated and continue to undertake.”
He added: “The ongoing and unabated increase that significant parts of our catchment area are evidencing in terms of visitor/tourist footfall will be more safely and effectively managed as a result of these improvements.
“Alongside a reduction in unnecessary and intrusive ‘rat-running’, such innovations would be to the benefit of residents and local businesses alike and assist in improving our city’s environment as a whole.”
The council’s climate emergency and sustainability scrutiny panel will discuss the planned liveable neighbourhood at their meeting on Thursday 11th January in Keynsham.
Also part of the plans are a proposal to install collapsible bollards on Sydney Road to prevent it being used as a rat run, and to create a one-way loop on residential roads by Newbridge School.
The trial schemes are just some of the liveable neighbourhoods the council plans to implement.
The council’s wider plan for more liveable neighbourhoods is budgeted to cost £7.2m, of which £2.5m will be put up by the council and £4.7m will come from the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) if the council’s business case is successful.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said last year he would review each council’s low-traffic neighbourhoods, as he stated: “I’m slamming the brakes on the war on motorists.”
But WECA head of capital delivery Malcolm Parsons has said the combined authority will “crack on” with ones currently planned in the region as the Prime Minister’s review only affected future funding and not that which the combined authority has already been given to fund council’s schemes.
John Wimperis, Local Democracy Reporter