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Kingsmead Square: Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) consultation

Introduction and policy background

The wider council policy context 

Our Corporate Strategy sets out what we as a council plan to do, how we plan to do it, and how we will measure our performance. Our main aim is to improve people's lives. We are following two core policies in order to do this: tackling the Climate and Ecological Emergencies, and giving people a bigger say. This consultation and the policies it concerns addresses both. 

One way we aim to tackle the Climate and Ecological Emergencies is by reducing carbon emissions from road traffic through encouraging a shift from personal car use to public transport and active travel. 

We are also Giving people a bigger say about the things that affect you. Responding to this consultation will give you the opportunity to have your say.  

The measures set out in this consultation are designed to rebalance the use of Kingsmead Square and improve the quality of the local environment. These measures will make our roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists and users of other modes of active travel, as well as improving air quality.

High street renewal 

Close up image of a parklet in New Street

One part of high street regeneration is the creation of attractive outside spaces for people to enjoy, such as this parklet in New Street.

As a council, we are working on a series of projects aimed at supporting high streets in our city, towns and local centres. These co-ordinated schemes aim to make sure our high streets continue to be vibrant places which meet the needs of the community and visitors, and provide spaces for businesses and community organisations to thrive. 

We have identified Kingsmead Square as one of Bath’s priority areas for improvement.  

We hope this will help to promote sustainable transport options and enhance the quality of the environment for businesses, visitors and residents, making it a nicer place to visit, relax, socialise, live and work. 

This is in line with our wider policies for the future of the city: the  Placemaking Plan and the Journey to Net Zero. We have also recently consulted on Liveable Neighbourhoods and a variety of active travel schemes.

The importance of Kingsmead Square 

New gateway into Kingsmead Square

New gateway into Kingsmead Square

Kingsmead Square is an important gathering space at the heart of the city’s entertainment area. It is also becoming a busy arrival point to the city centre, next to a busy public transport drop-off point in James Street West.  

Kingsmead Square is the first part of Bath many visitors explore. The Square hosts a variety of businesses, including cafes and restaurants with open air dining areas, it also has the capacity for outside stalls and market events in the future. 

New, local development at Bath Quays and within Bath’s Enterprise Zone will increase the number of people visiting Kingsmead Square. This increase in pedestrian traffic makes Kingsmead Square the perfect area for improvement. It has the capacity to become a vibrant city space for gathering and entertainment, hosting several thriving shops and businesses. 

We intend to rebalance the use of the square in favour of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users. We plan to improve many aspects of the space, one of which is to reduce vehicular traffic around the square, particularly in the historic core.

Background to this scheme 

In June 2020, we introduced a daily 10am to 6pm access restriction for motor vehicles in Kingsmead Square. This aided social distancing for pedestrians by reducing the volume of traffic using the road, and was extended in July 2020 to cover the hours between 10am and 10pm.

As social distancing is ending, we are considering making this restriction permanent. To do this, we are introducing an Experimental Traffic Order (ETRO). This will run for a minimum of 6 months, allowing us to trial a traffic restriction in the square between 11am and midnight. 

During this time, we are inviting you to comment on how the trial affects your use and enjoyment of Kingsmead Square.