Project name: Bath Riverside Park
Client: Bath & NE Somerset Council
Infrastructure Engineers: AW Water Engineers
The historic city of Bath (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is situated in the gorge of the River Avon; the upstream catchment area of the river is extensive, and after prolonged rain, the risk of flooding in the city is serious. Long term
measures to reforest the catchment, and thereby reduce run-off, are under discussion. More immediate measures have been considered, all of which are constrained by the configuration of the city and the surrounding landscape. The most effective short-term solution to reduce flood risk is to increase the volume of water flowing through the city during a flood event.
Landscape Projects was commissioned to work with engineers Black and Veitch and AW Water Engineering to reprofile the river corridor through the city centre. This complex and ambitious project required an Environmental Statement and comprehensive hydrological model, and involved the closure of trunk roads, tree removals, demolition and excavation, and archaeological investigations.
The design of the reprofiled riverbank provided an opportunity to create a new park by the river, accessed by shallow gradient paths and steps, and a location for a new footbridge linking to the former industrial sites south of the river. The resulting riverside park, designed following water flow analysis, is now partially complete, awaiting the completion of the new bridge by Mimram Architects of Paris.
With its extensive tree and herbaceous planting, the riverside park creates an informal, natural setting which extends the River Avon corridor through the city, while at the same time providing a relaxed sunny place for people to take a break from the bustle of the city. The reduction in flood risk has led to a significant increase in redevelopment opportunities in the city centre.