Bath’s household recycling facilities could move to the city’s three park and rides as part of plans to transform them into “transport interchanges”.
The sites in Lansdown, Newbridge and Odd Down could also be fitted with solar canopies to generate electricity or turned into “pollinator parks” to help tackle the ecological emergency.
The new vision is set out in a partial update to Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Local Plan.
It says the traditional park and rides, where people leave their car and hop on a bus, could become multi-modal interchanges, with opportunities for hiring electric cars or e-bikes, and better access to the countryside.
Social uses like farmers’ markets, cafes, pop-up venues and festivals will also be explored.
A consultation on the proposals says: “The park and ride sites may also be able to play other beneficial roles by accommodating solar energy infrastructure and potentially household waste recycling facilities.
“The waste transfer station at Midland Road in Bath is currently proposed to close and the site be redeveloped for housing.
“There is a need to consider options for the reprovision of household waste recycling facilities serving the city. A range of options in terms of both size/scale of facilities and potential sites (outside and within the green belt) for accommodating these facilities is being assessed.
“One option includes considering whether the current household waste recycling facility could be replaced by smaller facilities located on each of the park and ride sites serving the city.”
The council would have to consider whether the benefits of solar canopies and recycling facilities were sufficient to justify removing the sites from the green belt, and if the move would harm ecology, Bath’s World Heritage Site or the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The authority previously promised that Bath would not be left without at least one recycling centre when the Midland Road site closes, and asked residents to suggest potential sites.
A full review of the Local Plan is scheduled for 2023.
The partial update allows “urgent issues” to be addressed, including the climate and ecological emergencies, housing land supply, potential sites for non-residential development and houses of multiple occupation.
There is currently a shortfall of around 1,200 houses that will need to be built by 2029.
Councillor Tim Ball, the cabinet member for housing, planning and economic development, said: “Planning policy can be a challenging process to make sense of, but it has a huge impact on all our lives. The Local Plan guides the progress of Bath and North East Somerset and decides how sites are allocated for development. It’s also vital in helping us meet our climate and ecological emergency goals.
“Ahead of the full Local Plan update in 2023 we want to address the most critical issues, so don’t miss the chance to help shape policy for where you live and work.
“Please view our consultation document, share your ideas and let us know what is important to you.”
Residents have until 18th February to comment by clicking here.
Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter