Bath Riverside would be a perfect fit if the ‘Walking City’ concept popularised in similar sized cities on the continent catches on here. That’s according to developers regenerating the former Stothert & Pitt Engineers and Founders site close to the city centre, who believe Bath Riverside is ‘ahead of the curve’ in terms of car-free connectivity.
Leigh Pitts, marketing manager at Crest Nicholson said the concept offered some intriguing possibilities in destination cities such as Bath.
She said: “The advantages of living within walking distance of the city centre have been a cornerstone of the Bath Riverside concept since construction began in 2011.
“It’s one of the very few residential developments in the city – and the wider West Country for that matter – where car ownership has always been an option rather than a necessity.”
Crest Nicholson believe Bath Riverside could function just as effectively within a fully pedestrianised or ‘Walking’ City.
Leigh Pitts went on: “There has been considerable publicity about the concept – where the town centre is completely pedestrianised and parking is restricted to the periphery.
“Pontevedra in Spain has taken the concept to a whole new level with more than 300,000 square metres of public space the historic heart of the city declared a ‘car free zone’.
“The city’s CO2 emissions are down by 70 per cent, there are no traffic queues and cyclists and pedestrians can get around in safety. The quality of life has been improved for everybody living, working or visiting the city centre.”
Leigh Pitts said Bath was virtually the same size as Pontevedra – and had already made significant strides towards pedestrianisation.
“Large areas of the Southgate development were pedestrianised from day one – and there have been continual calls to make the main shopping areas and Milsom Street car-free zones.
“In addition, key elements of the Bath Quays project presently under discussion envisage extensive pedestrianised zones as well as a new bridge for pedestrians and cyclists.”
Leigh went on: “The latest phases at Bath Riverside – Royal View and Sovereign Point, blend well in the waterside setting and are just a ten minute flat and level stroll from the city centre.
“While we have parking areas and good road connectivity to the major routes in and out of town, we have never been a ‘car first’ development.
“As a UNESCO World Heritage site, Bath enjoys a nationwide reputation as a fantastic place to live and work and awareness of the environment is paramount for every business in the city.
“But it’s clear the ‘Walking City’ has to function for all its residents – alternative infrastructure and parking for residents and visitors would clearly be required before the concept could become a reality.”