If Bath were a dance I think it would be the waltz. Serene and smooth with the unfailing rhythm of slow, slow, quick, quick, slow. And the good news for business is that we seem to be moving into the “quick, quick” section of the dance when we can hopefully see real strides forward.
First onto the floor is Bath Quays North, or Avon Street car park if you prefer. It is excellent news that it has been given the green light to go ahead. It is clear there is tremendous interest from developers who can satisfy the crying need for new modern office space.
That provision will allow existing companies in Bath to expand and develop without the need to move elsewhere, it will attract fresh inward investment, and above all it will create new jobs for our young people who can establish their own families in the place in which they grew up.
Next up is the plan for a new stadium for Bath Rugby, increasing the capacity to 18,000 and providing spectators with a vastly better viewing experience than they currently have to endure. That’s not to mention the fact that the scheme will open up the far side of the river, deliver a much needed car park and provide huge benefits for charities and other good causes. Sporting, economic and community benefits all rolled up into one. An application for this one will come later in the year, but surely, after the exhaustive consultation exercise the club has been through, this will also get the go ahead.
And then there is news that the University of Bath has been granted permission for a new management school on its main campus. This won’t only produce new jobs in the first instance, but it will enhance the reputation of the University in the long term and also educate graduates, more of whom I hope will stay to live and work in the area, adding enormous value to the local economy.
There you have it. Three hugely important new schemes which will make a big difference to the future of Bath. They can fit into the historic setting and with high quality contemporary design, actually add to the quality of the World Heritage Site. But more than that, they each, in their own way, will help sustain our local economy into the future – all important steps in the right direction.