Hartwells Site Visit July 9th 2019

In light of a previous article we (Frank Thompson and Adam Reynolds) were invited by the developer to visit the site to discuss the issues raised. In light of the visit that article will be removed due to the uninformed views expressed in that article.

Particularly that the developers are delivering a development that is anti-disabled. It does provide a publicly accessible 2.4m x 2.4m lift to get access from street level to the bottom level of the development.

[EDIT] We are getting some criticism for interacting with the developer. I will reference item 11 from our last meeting:

Big discussion with some people concerned that Cycle Bath cannot be seen to be supporting the Hartwells developer. We have criticised them but see these as issues that the developer can resolve. We worked with Curo on Mulberry Park (See Scholar’s Way). We worked on Spring Wharf (Roseberry Place). We worked on Chivers House (BBC Audio). We never comment on what buildings are being built simply the connectivity within the development. As a transport group we are focused on long term delivery of the Strategic Transport Route (STR a.k.a. Locksbrook Greenway) and connectivity. The impact of the STR on Bath will be immense in light of the new cycle investment. Ensuring that any development of Hartwells supports the delivery of the STR and provides good connections to it from the local community is critical. Criticising/praising what buildings are built on the site is something Cycle Bath will not do except in terms of secure cycle storage facilities.

This might make people uncomfortable but we would never have had the Two Tunnels if it wasn’t for the persistence of members against public opinion. We simply remain neutral.

Show me the money

The Developers are want to deliver the Strategic Transport Route (STR) (between Brass Mill Lane and Station Road) or what we call Locksbrook Greenway. The developer will be providing CIL/S106 funding to the council. The issue is that CIL is a statutory requirement but due to the procedural nature of CIL, the STR cannot be an identified project to be delivered until the development has gone through the planning process.

Screenshot 2019-06-26 at 06.43.56

In effect the developer hands over a load of money ‘hoping’ the council will spend it to deliver the STR. It is our role to lobby to make sure that the STR happens.

Also see the Bath Enterprise Plan to understand the importance of the STR.

Screenshot 2019-07-09 at 20.04.09

Inclusive Access

The issue of inclusive access to the STR from Newbridge Road still persists, as the access ramp will be gated. This needs discussion with councillors and officers. The 1 in 10 access ramp must not be exclusive to cars as it easily supports the use of the Cycle Design Vehicle (2.8m x 1.2m) and provides a major walking/cycling corridor to access the RUH and the local school.

I suggested a set of steps down from the access ramp would provide a better pedestrian route. People on bikes would then use the 6.5m wide ramp (narrows to 4.5m in parts). Any person that cycles in Bath is used to steeper and narrower roads.

screenshot-2019-05-08-at-15.03.45

A rising bollard or half gate would be all that is needed to fix this issue and discussions with the local councillors and council officers would be needed to ensure this is acceptable.

We agreed that the set of steps through the site are not ideal for cycles and the accessible lift (2.4mx2.4m) could not support the Cycle Design Vehicle (1.2m x 2.8m) nor should it.

Fixing desire lines

We also suggested that the pedestrian crossing point should be moved between Charmouth and Rosslyn Rd and made into a toucan crossing. CIL should be used to make this into a good walking and cycling connection potentially widening the footpath or maybe building a cycle track here. This is beyond the remit of the developers and something we will be taken up with councillors.Screenshot 2019-07-09 at 12.41.54.png

Ramp?

We also discussed a ramp up to Osborne Road but this was stated by the developer as impossible due to a high pressure sewage pipe running through the site that requires a 15m easement either side of the pipe. As an old quarry goes, it’s a very complicated site with a 7.5m sheer drop from the road to the floor of the site.

Summary

The long term socio-economic benefits of the Strategic Transport Route to Bath cannot be understated. Hartwells is a big piece of the puzzle and an opportunity to provide a traffic free cycling and walking corridor that connects Bath to Bristol, Bradford On Avon, and to Wellow as well as to schools and the RUH one of the biggest employers in the area.

What we need to ensure is that whatever Section 106 or Community Infrastructure Levy moneys are provided to the council that the STR between Brassmill Lane and Station Road is built and the inclusive connectivity from the STR through the Hartwells Site and to the school and RUH is guaranteed.

Should the site get planning permission then the STR comes down to political will.

Completing the puzzle

Further to this the council officers should also be working with LEP/WECA to ensure delivery of the connection from Station Road through to Windsor Bridge and refurbishment of the Locksbrook Bridge which has been estimated to be in the 100s of thousands. We already have a proposed 5km cycle route. Completing the STR between the Bristol Railway Path and the Riverside would finally provide an end to end cycle network in Bath.

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4 thoughts on “Hartwells Site Visit July 9th 2019”

  1. Cycle Bath are a marvelous charity who have a marvelous track record
    in development of cycle routes across Bath. The Locksbrook Greenway
    route is one that I would personally welcome as would all local
    residents I would imagine.

    Thank you too for the changes you made to this article after I and
    others pointed out on twitter a number of inaccurate and biased
    claims. It is great you are trying to correct a previous blog that
    contained unsubstantiated claims. But as I have respectfully asked why
    have you not taken down this blog until the unsubstantiated claims
    have been taken down?

    Your aspiration to remain neutral to this development is
    laudible. Myself and the group of concerned residents that are
    co-ordinating a community response to the proposed Hartwell’s
    development would like to have the opportunity to talk with you to
    help you reach a neutral position, and I would rather not be having to
    reply below the line to get the article changed. The changes you will
    be making will then be invisible, yet my commments will remain.
    I would rather we did this offline. But you have decided not to do that and invited me to do that below the line. So be it.

    In my opinion here are several other further points of bias in
    this article.

    1. “We are getting some criticism for interacting with the developer.”
    I don’t believe anyone was criticsing Cycle Bath or you personally for
    talking to the developers. The criticsm was for unsubstantiated claims
    that you made in the original version of the present article based on
    your conversations with the developers. This I described as “being
    played by them” because you repeated their claims verbatim and made
    some inaccurate statements.

    Incedentally I personally offered to talk face to face and to suggest
    you speak to the local councillors to get some more information and
    background before posting about your meeting with the developers.
    You declined (its a matter of record on Twitter). I don’t
    consider that to be neutral

    On another blog you have mentioned the letter of reply to the
    objections from Wallisingham Planning as being “apalling” thanks to a
    communication from John Taylor. But that written evidence from the
    developers is not referenfed here nor analysed, only your opinon on
    the scheme based on the meeting the developers called you to.

    2. Then we have the statement on this piece “This might make people
    uncomfortable but we would never have had the Two Tunnels if it wasn’t
    for the persistence of members against public opinion.”

    I told you that I found this statement to be upsetting as it can be
    read as condencending and rather preachy to the local residents who
    pointed out the inaccuracies in your article who also want what you
    want and are trying hard to achieve it. A more neutral statement could
    be “Nevertheless we should like to thank several local residents who
    pointed out the inaccuracy in an earlier version of this
    piece”. Simples. Neutral. No value judgements on other people’s
    behaviour or views.

    3. “We also suggested that the pedestrian crossing point should be
    moved between Charmouth and Rosslyn Rd and made into a toucan
    crossing.” I am surprised this whole section is here. This will move
    the pedestrian crossing much closer to the dangerous bend. It will
    further encourage dangerous crossing of the main pedesstrian access
    route to Newbridge School from the West. I would suggest this section is
    ill thought out. Perhaps you could talk to Newbridge School before
    suggesting this in the public domain. Have you considered the cause
    of the accident that took out the barrier on the corner between
    Charmouth road and Newbridge road that you must have noticed on your site visit? I would claim your opinion here is uninformed and not neutral.

    4. “Hartwells is a big piece of the puzzle and an opportunity to
    provide a traffic free…” Actually the piece of the puzzle is the
    Maltings estate (owned by Standard Life), the Hanson’s concrete works
    and the plot of land owned by the Hartwell’s developers. The obvious
    ways of connecting the path to Newbridge Road do not involve the
    Hartwells site in my opinion. The obvious solutions would be 1. via the
    Matltings estate and next door to the Electric Bear, 2. via the
    Hanson’s ramp or 3. through the existing footpath that runs alongside the
    Hanson’s site the West. A complete site visit that took in a variety
    of views not just those of the developer could have discovered this.

    5. “… and an opportunity to.. (the rest of this sentence does not
    parse) what is the opportuinity? As I see it there is an opportunity
    for the developers of the Hartwell’s site to work with their
    neighbours to deliver this green corridor. Co-operation between the
    Hartwell’s owners and the Maltings owners would be preferable, as
    would co-operation between the Hartwells developers and Hansons, or
    even after 5 years of silence for the owners of the Hartwells site to
    talk to local groups to come up with a solution. The solution you have
    proposed (yes it is a proposal by you not the developers –
    neutrality??) is to have an exit from the site closer to the bend
    making four entrances close to the bend in the road and then to move
    the crossing closer to the bend. I don’t consider this to be neutral.

    We all want the same thing. We all want dialogue to produce a legacy
    that includes a safe openning of the green cycle way.
    Unfortunately the developers have over the last 5
    years ignored all the input and suggestions from local residents. I
    can assure you that personally I am not a NIMBY I live next door to
    the concrete works and they are great neighours. I am happy for the
    value of my property to go down through the provsion of social housing on this site. The 275 objections
    and no supporting statements on the planning portal are there for a
    reason, and the developers response to them is as you described
    “apalling”.

    Unfortunately the neighbours of the owners of the Hartwells site
    (including the commercial neighbours) have found them to be less than
    straightforward and honest over many year.
    They have told half truths in the past and their track record of engaging with local councillors (under two different regimes) is shocking. It could also be mentioned that Hartwells are an offshore-owned property developer who do not have a remit for delivering public good.

    7. Clearly you have been asked to take down your anti-disabled comment and, on balance, that is clearly a reasobale thing to do as it was not neutral. But your justification
    for doing it based on ” It does provide a publicly accessible 2.4m x
    2.4m lift to get access from street level to the bottom level of the
    development.” requires analysis,. Are you aware of any other private
    development that has guaranteed to maintain an elevetor as a public
    good? Are there other examples in Bath? Would it be open 24/7? How
    would do they propose to stop missuse? What guarantees that such a lift would be functional in perpetuity? Another possible interpretation is that
    this is a feature that is most unlikely to be delivered in practice.

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