A housing developer campaigning to install a cable car in the traffic-clogged, historic city of Bath, UK has met with some early local resistance.
Drawing on a two-year baseline study it commissioned from consulting engineer Arup, developer Curo says the privately-funded airborne system would be a clean, affordable way of connecting communities on the steep hills south of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to downtown.
That is important, says Curo, given that the main roads leading off the hills are already choked with traffic.
But a group of residents has launched a counter campaign, saying the proposed cable car would be a "permanent blight on the skyline and pose an unacceptable threat to the city’s World Heritage status".
"We will seek to explode the myth that it represents a desired and viable transport option for south Bath, and expose Curo’s agenda for using the scheme to promote the value" of its developments, the group says on its website.
Curo’s plan sees the mile-long system going from its new housing development at Combe Down, called Mulberry Park, to the city’s main train station, Bath Spa. Curo has plans to build 700 homes on its 48-acre site.
The system would have just two large cabins to reduce the visual impact, Curo said, and would be able to handle a maximum of 800 journeys an hour, providing people in south Bath a low-emission, affordable way of getting into town. It would also be a tourist attraction, Curo said.
Curo has not revealed designs for the cable cars, but the campaign group produced a composite image showing a cable car hanging over the Avon River behind the train station (pictured).
To gather support for the plan, Curo is holding a series of public information events in Bath in April and May.
Curo’s plan is supported by a number of local business figures and the student union president of the University of Bath, located near Combe Down. They have expressed their views in this promotional video.
The Bath Preservation Trust, a charitable organisation, is reserving its opinion on the cable car proposal, and said it would form a view based on the visual impact, the business case, and evidence on the traffic benefits.
It noted, however, that: "The traffic problems [in south Bath] are currently very serious and can only get worse with the new developments and the reduction of parking in town."
Image: An opposing campaign group’s composite image depicting a cable car in Bath (Nocablecar4bath.org)