Leaders seek a transport strategy
Business and city leaders have met to discuss Bath's transport problems.
The Bath Transport Conference, organised by Bath and North Somerset Council, gave groups and organisations the chance to express their concerns and ideas about the city's transport network.
The purpose of the conference was to start the process of gathering information which could be used as the basis for a new Bath Transport Strategy.
Councillor Roger Symonds (Lib Dem, Combe Down), the authority's cabinet member for transport, said: "Whenever we make any transport changes in Bath the usual question raised is where does this fit into a transport strategy? The answer is it doesn't because we don't have one.
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"The purpose is to kickstart the process for an overall transport vision and strategy for Bath for the next 20 years."
Representatives from the Federation of Bath Residents' Association, Bath Chamber of Commerce, Bath Preservation Society, Bath Cycle Group, First Group, the Bath Business Improvement District and Bath Tourism Plus were all present.
Issues raised included the damage caused to people's health and buildings by HGVs and through traffic, the need to reduce traffic in the city and encouraging more people to cycle and walk.
Ian Bell, executive director of the chamber of commerce, said transport was important to a thriving economy.
He said: "Let's not go for a quick fix but a long-term strategic process we can all support."
Caroline Kay, chief executive of the preservation trust, said Bath was a Roman settlement with a Georgian town built on top that was not intended for cars.
She said: "There's nothing really new about the transport problems. The problem isn't Bath – the problem is the car and its relationship with Bath."
Guest speaker for the conference was Peter Hendy, who is transport commissioner at Transport for London, and also lives in Bath.
Mr Hendy told the conference a strategy would take time to write and would be more than just spending money on schemes but would involve a change in people's behaviour.
He said: "I really applaud the initiative to start this process. I don't think anyone should under-estimate the length of time it will take.
He added: "This place deserves to succeed as a living city, not as a sitting gem."
The council's Liberal Democrat leadership took an axe to key parts of the previous Tory administration's Bath Transportation Package when it came to power two years ago.
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