The countdown to Christmas has well and truly started with our fantastic Christmas Market due to run for 18 days from 23rd November until 10th December.
This will see more than 200 traders and 36 community groups occupy chalets across the city centre.
In 2022, the market attracted an estimated 426,000 visitors and boosted the local economy by an estimated £50 million.
Christmas lights are also beginning to sparkle around our area. There will be lights on Bath’s historic buildings and streets including in and around the Christmas Market and at Saw Close, Walcot Street, Kingsmead Square, High Street and Orange Grove.
We are providing traditional lights in Combe Down, Weston, Moorland Road and Larkhall as well as working in partnership with the three town councils on lights in Keynsham, Midsomer Norton and Radstock.
Residents are invited to a special preview evening of the market on November 22 from 5pm to 7pm where people can meander through the magical atmosphere and have an exclusive first look at the fabulous gifts, food and drink on offer.
All of this is another example of how our city centre is thriving. Just walking around, we can see new openings. The council is playing a key role in ensuring this, focusing on bringing empty premises back into use and supporting events such as the Great Bath Feast and Art on the Street.
Meanwhile, we are continuing to deliver our priorities. We’ve recently announced plans for five new trial Bath Liveable Neighbourhood schemes under Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders.
They follow on from a large community engagement exercise carried out over the past two years, and if approved would see five trial schemes installed from spring 2024.
The council has secured £736,000 of funding from the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority to implement the trials ahead of delivering the wider Liveable Neighbourhoods programme, the aim of which is to develop a range of measures to improve residential streets.
The trials have been chosen because of their suitability to help tackle through-traffic and create more opportunities for community cohesion, walking and cycling.
During trials the council would monitor the impact of the intervention on traffic and any uptake in active travel. The trials would be removed or made permanent within 18 months of starting.
At all times, there will be vehicle access to all properties as part of these schemes once in operation.
Information on these plans and the current through-traffic restriction trials in Church Street, Southlands and Queen Charlton Lane can be found at www.bathnes.gov.uk/liveableneighbourhoods.
Talking of making our neighbourhoods more “liveable”, I would like to say a big thank you to the council’s “Glean and Green” team who I recently saw at work in Twerton High Street. Backed by council investment, the team is making a real difference to the appearance of our streets.
Finally, the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority is consulting until December 24th on plans for Bath city centre, aiming for improved air quality, healthier travel choices and ensuring safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists.
We really want to make Bath city centre an even better place so it’s really important that you have your say so please do respond to the consultation if you can.