The Chelsea Road project was brought to a close at the promised public meeting held on Friday 20th March. The presentation of the second stage survey findings, “Chelsea Rd: Promoting & Enhancing Walking Access”, was led by three members of the Transition Bath team.
The report of the project’s first had been launched and published in January 2013 with a stall on Chelsea Road. The event and the hand out listed the aims – a place for positive investment to improve access for all living within a 10 minute walk and raising trader activity – and created positive.
The first survey return (33%) and this second return (28%) were drawn from questionnaires collected by the Transition Bath team from the 2200 households that are within a 10 minutes walk, and the 31 Chelsea Road traders.
At the meeting Dick Daniel outlined the results of the residents’ survey, highlighting that two of the seven proposals gained a majority of support: having two new crossings north of Chelsea Road and opening up the cemetery for walking and cycling routes. It was recognised that both of the initiatives would make it safer, easier and quicker for the wider community to access the shops in Chelsea Road. It was also noted that an official traffic count has shown that nearly 3000 vehicles a day pass along Chelsea Road.
Peter Metcalfe followed with the results of the traders’ survey. On the whole they were more reluctant about each of the proposals, but there was a similar pattern of support, as shown on a graph, for the two measures preferred by residents.
Christopher Heward closed the evening by distributing post-it notes on which people could write positive ideas for how Chelsea Road could be further improved. This provided a constructive way to voice ideas and concerns. The post-it notes were collected and have been collated, the results are available via our website.
Initially some of the residents and traders at the meeting believed that the suggestions were changes that were going to be forced on the local community against their wishes. Some became heated and dismissive, whilst others expressed concern that they were unaware of aspects of the project. However, over the course of the evening, people seemed to become reassured that the Transition Bath group was primarily looking to make positive suggestions, and that it is now up to local people and the council and to take ideas forward.
The group wanted to make clear that this kind of research and consultation can be done, and used, for the many neighbourhood hubs around the city. Chelsea Road was chosen as representative of these hubs because it has a range of shops, a mixture of demographics and the potential for improvements to safety, convenience and surroundings, in encouraging more walking access.
Towards the end, some attendees explicitly thanked Transition Bath for the time and energy the team had put into the project. Whether or not people agreed with the ideas, they appreciated very much the time and effort to make Chelsea Road a better place.
The project has now come to a close, but we hope the reports and research findings can help the Chelsea Road’s traders, residents and the communities around Bath.
A complete summary of the project including survey results appears here.