Local residents are being asked about a new pedestrian-friendly plan to introduce restricted hours for vehicles to drive in Bath’s popular Kingsmead Square.
Officers from Bath & North East Somerset Council will be in the square on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th from 9.30am-12.30pm as part of the Forest of Imagination event.
They will be asking people what they think about the idea prior to a formal consultation taking place.
The council is also accepting comments via email and letter – see details for how to respond at www.bathnes.gov.uk/kingsmeadsq
The council is considering limiting vehicle access, except for attending emergency services, while still allowing access to the flats, shops and cafés for essential loading and refuse collection each morning.
It could mean a timed restriction could be introduced every day, between the hours of 11am and midnight in order to meet the needs of both residents, businesses and pedestrians.
The proposal aims to increase opportunities for a growing café culture, and create an inviting space for people by removing all vehicles during the core hours of the day and evening.
Councillor Bob Goodman, cabinet member for Development and Neighbourhoods, said: “Kingsmead Square is one of the council’s priority areas for improvement and we are asking people for their views about this plan.
“A restriction on traffic would enhance the quality of the environment for everyone and further support the café culture which has grown there.”
Councillor Andrew Furse, one of the two Lib Dem Councillors for Kingsmead ward, commented: “For many years I have been working with the business community in Kingsmead Square to find a workable scheme which can retain access for businesses and make the square more pedestrian-friendly.
“I am pleased that such a trial will be implemented. Handing the Square over to pedestrians from 11 a.m. to midnight will not only improve air quality, but will allow for more tables and chairs and give an enhanced continental feel to the square; an ambition that I and the local community have had for the Square for several years.
“Many years ago Kingsmead Square was a bit of a back-water, but I would say that now Kingsmead Square is at the heart of the city centre and is blessed with many independent, local businesses.
“Over recent years temporary closures for events have taken place and these have proven successful. From this trial we can see what the real issues are and make sure Kingsmead Square, a jewel in Bath’s crown, can be enhanced.”
If the scheme were to go ahead it would require an experimental traffic regulation order lasting for six to 12 months to allow the proposal to be tested and adjusted before a final decision is made on whether to make it permanent.