Three more roads in Bath will be closed to cars as LTN rollout continues

Gay Street, Bath looking north to the Circus
Gay Street, Bath -Credit:Artur Lesniak/Reach Plc

Bath and North East Somerset Council has announced it will close three more roads in Bath to through-traffic in July as part of its liveable neighbourhood programme — just days after a coach got stuck in one of the existing schemes.

The plans will totally overhaul Gay Street between Queen Square the Circus, with traffic to no longer be able to travel past the George Street junction. Meanwhile bollards will be installed on Catharine Place and on Winifred’s Lane at the top of Cavendish Hill. The schemes will block access for cars but not cyclists and pedestrians.

The council decided in February that the schemes should go ahead. Now a date of July 15 has been set for the schemes to be installed. Letters will be sent to residents and businesses nearer the time.

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The announcement comes just days after a coach had to spend half an hour turning around after driving down Sydney Road, which has now become a liveable neighbourhood with bollards across the end of the road. A lorry which made the same turn a few days before knocked down one house’s gatepost.

The coach turning around on Sydney Road in Bath -Credit:Keir Cooper
The coach turning around on Sydney Road in Bath -Credit:Keir Cooper

The council have said that the three new schemes will be in place on a trial period, which will last for at least six months, while a public consultation is carried out. A decision will then be taken on whether to make them permanent.

The council’s cabinet member for highways, Cllr Manda Rigby said: “The trial streets are frequently used by motorists to avoid the main roads linking the A46/M4 to the south of Bath, so the aim is to address speeding and excessive through traffic.

“We also want to create a safe and pleasant active travel route through the area. I want to reassure residents and businesses that vehicle access to properties will be maintained during the trials, although some drivers may have to use a different route.

“Other trials have shown us that the best method of introducing complex liveable neighbourhood schemes is through an ETRO. This is because it gives us time to monitor the impacts of the scheme and for people to respond to the changes before any decision is taken.”

But some of the plans have prompted safety concerns from locals. At Winifred’s Lane, a no right turn sign will restrict drivers coming up Cavendish Road from turning onto Sion Hill towards Lansdown Crescent. Concerned neighbours have warned that this will funnel displaced traffic past children’s schools on Sion Hill Place and Julian Road.

Lansdown Crescent is one of the most expensive streets in Bath
Lansdown Crescent is one of the most expensive streets in Bath -Credit:SWNS

A representative from a nearby residents association warned shortly after the plans were announced in January: “The council seems willing to sacrifice the health and safety of school children and thousands of Bath residents to extend the privilege of a few extremely privileged people on Lansdown Crescent.”

Other planned interventions have been more popular. The Circus Area Residents Association welcomed the plans for bollards on Catharine Place and the overhaul of Gay Street.

Under the plans, the upper end of Gay Street, between the junction with George Street and the Circus will become only accessible from the Circus. There will be no entry for northbound traffic heading up the road, but the road will remain two-way, with space for vehicles heading down the road from the Circus to turn around. There will also be a left-turn only onto George Street.

The new measures would not block cyclists, and a new cycle lane would be installed for cyclists turning into the upper section of Gay Street from George Street. An “informal crossing” will also be installed on Gay Street.

Also speaking after the plans were announced in January, Malcolm Baldwin, chair of the Circus Area Residents Association said: “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 previous three liveable neighbourhood trials were installed in November 2022 and made permanent in January — despite protests calling for one of the schemes to be removed.

From mid-July, the consultation on the new schemes will be available here.