Bath MP Wera Hobhouse is calling for a big vision for Weston Island. The island is currently used as a depot by First Bus, but may become available in the next 5 years according to the Council’s Local Plan Partial Update, which is currently out for consultation. Future uses are now being considered and Wera has voiced her support for turning the island into an area for community arts.
With the deadline for the consultation ending on the 8th October, Bath MP Wera Hobhouse has thrown her weight behind an idea that would turn the area into an Arts island for the community.
Weston Island sits between two deprived areas that would benefit from an attraction that draws visitors out of the city centre, and acts as a western anchor for the Riverline project. There is also scope for improving pedestrian links from the north bank of the river to Twerton High Street.
Local group Bath Arts Depot, has come forward with a plan for an Arts Island and has undertaken some preliminary engagement in Twerton with positive responses. They have a vision of a ‘green’ working island, bringing forward the ecological potential of the site, together with a cultural offering. The site has two large hangers and lots of open space. This would be utilised in different ways to support the local community and local artists, as well as attracting international artists to come and exhibit and perform here.
With the deadline of 8th October, the alternative is set to be a site for a builders merchant and Post Office, moving from the city centre.
Wera Hobhouse commented:
“Weston Island is such a unique site on the river and the city leaders should think big. I fear that the Council might suggest that the land should be used to help free up the city centre for development, by moving businesses there, such as a builders merchants.
“Putting up new buildings that attract more HGV vehicle movements goes against the Council Declaration of a Climate and Ecological Emergency. In my view the island has enormous potential and we should embrace both a cultural offering and the ecological potential of such an amazing site.
“This is the sort of creative and cultural endeavour we should all support. Let’s have a vision for something we can all be proud of, sitting between Twerton and Newbridge, something that is for both communities as well as the city.
“We should embrace contemporary arts to create new visitor attractions. Let’s create something the local communities can embrace and be part of, that improves links across the river, bolsters the island’s ecology and that attracts international visitors to Bath.
“If you, like me, would like to see Weston Island become a jewel in Bath’s crown, then visit the consultation pages and say ‘no’ to a business park, and ‘yes’ to an arts island that boosts the local economy, enhances the local ecology and creates social cohesion. ”
The consultation on the Local Plan Update runs until the 8th October and can be found online at https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/local-plan-partial-update-lppu-public-consultation/have-your-say