Curo’s consultation on solutions to transport and traffic problems on the south side of Bath has started with a series of consultation events. Their plans are summarised in these posters, and they have set a new website http://www.southbathtransportoptions.co.uk/ to outline their plans.
Curo are building the 700+ new home Mulberry Park housing development on the ex-MOD Foxhill office site to the south of Bath, and are also hoping to demolish 500+ existing homes on Foxhill housing estate and replace them with new ones. This development will potentially put extra pressure on traffic and congestion once the homes are built, although Curo argues no more than its previous use as MOD offices.
Ever since the Mulberry Park development was proposed Curo have been looking at a solution to the problem, in 2014 they came up with a number of solutions which we analysed and surveyed. Recently they have restarted their search, and have employed consultants ARUP to look at 40 different solutions, which have been narrowed down to 3: 1. an express bus service 2. a cable car 3. a package of smarter travel choice measures.
At the moment their preferred choice is a cable car. There would be two terminals, one near the train station and one at Mulberry Park, there would be 2 large gondolas to carry up to 60 passengers and bicycles each, and the fares would be lower than existing bus fares.
They are currently surveying residents and if the response is positive, plan on taking the cable car option through to planning approval. Curo will then pass on the project to a public transport provider e.g. First Bus, to fund, build and run.
The pros and cons for the cable car are as follows:
- would provide a boost to Bath tourism (and is supported by the business community)
- claimed to have a lower fare than the current buses
- a much faster journey time of 3 to 6 minutes
- have space for bicycles – supporting multi-model sustainable transport options
- will probably provide an uplift to home values in the new Mulberry Park estate, and for existing homes in Foxhill and Combe Down
- more sustainable as zero local pollution, and lower overall CO2 emissions compared with public transport alternatives
- relatively low visual impact (2 x cables, terminals, a few towers plus 2 x gondolas)
- the main opposition seems to be from residents of Widcombe who are worried about privacy – the exact route, locations of cables, towers and terminals are not published yet
- others are worried about the visual impact on Bath’s World Heritage site and the greenbelt to the south
- it may reduce the economic viability of existing bus services – although the viability may increase with more passengers on the south side of path opting to take the bus to the Mulberry park terminal as a way of getting into town?
Curo state ARUP have costed out the project and that it provides a positive i.e. profitable business case.
Curo are asking for feedback here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/southbathtransportoptions