By Harry Mottram for Bath Voice
At the top of Holloway linking Bear Flat to the city centre is Hayes Place and if you haven’t stopped for some fish and chips or a coffee in The Good Bear cafe you might miss it.
The Council, traders and the Bear Flat Association representing the residents, want to transform the short but wide street into something approaching a continental piazza – a public space to sit down and appreciate the surroundings while still allowing vehicles to access the street.
Bear Flat campaigner Clyde Hunter said it should become an effective green book-end to Bear Flat with The Gore at the other end of the brief plateau with all the shops and facilities in the middle creating a central zone.
“What we would like to do is to widen the pavements and to change the surface of the road from tarmac to a different colour or paving so to make it a shared space so cars and pedestrians share the road with pedestrians given priority,” he said.
“At the moment it’s a dangerous place with vehicles doing three point turns and people trying to cross – not knowing where a vehicle is coming from.
“What we want to do is to slow the traffic down, and make it more pedestrian friendly, perhaps more continental.”
In the first step towards the aspirations of the Bear Flat Association’s vision The Good Bear Cafe has been granted a pavement license to put tables and chairs outside.
The proprietor of the cafe Mauro Matta said having the licence had been a lifeline for the business during the 2020 crisis.
“Because of Covid-19 and the restrictions for social distancing we have lost half of our capacity,” he said, “With the extra space outside on a sunny day that has helped us so much to seat more customers.”
A ramp on and off the pavement has been added to facilitate prams and wheelchairs.
Cllr Winston Duguid said that Hayes Place had potential but these were early days. Planters are to be placed by the cafe as part of the plans which he said was an illustration of how the Council, traders and the Bear Flat Association could bring about change. For full details of the Bear Flat Association’s vision visit http://bearflat.org.uk/a-vision-for-bear-flat-centre/