Throughout history Bath has gained a reputation for innovation, imagination and downright flair. Whether it’s been scientific invention, brilliant new architectural design or technological breakthrough, you don’t have to look very far before you discover that time after time, Bath was there first.
The great thing is that we have not rested on our laurels and there are fresh examples almost every week of novel solutions to modern problems.
But so far we haven’t been able to generate very much in the way of innovation when it comes to transport. Yes, we have argued for better public transport, the completion of our ring of Park and Rides and lobbied for improvements in the A4 link between Bath and Bristol. All good stuff, but a pretty conventional response.
What we are crying out for is something special, an exceptional proposal that will change the way we travel and almost as important, change the way the outside world looks at Bath – in short, something with the Wow! factor.
I’ll confess that the first time I heard the cable car mentioned, in a Chamber of Commerce Committee meeting, we all had a good chuckle. But when we had the time to reflect it quickly became obvious that this was no flight of fancy.
A large number of people living at the top of Foxhill living in the houses currently being built will want to get into the centre of Bath as quickly and easily as possible. But we don’t really want them all to get into their cars and clog up the roads any more than they are already. More buses would be the conventional solution, but surely that’s not the Bath way.
Our way is to think outside the box, to do the unexpected and to come up with a new idea.
The funny thing about the cable car is that it’s so obvious that it’s hard to believe we haven’t done it before. It will provide a fast and efficient link for commuters in the morning and evening, whilst during the day it will offer a tremendous new attraction for visitors to be able to enjoy a leisurely view of the city from the air.
Of course there will be lots of details to work out. Precisely where will the cable supports go, what will the cars look like, what arrangements will be put in place for residents who live on the route, where will the end stations be positioned?
The forthcoming consultation process will give everyone a chance to have their say, and it’s quite likely that good ideas will be incorporated into the plans as they develop. Please do get involved but above all let’s get behind the scheme and make the Cable Car something Bath can be proud of.