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The Gore (the informal name for the triangular strip of land between Wellsway and Bloomfield Road) has been rather neglected over the years. In particular, the Grade II listed Victoria Drinking Fountain is in a parlous state and the land has become a farm of utility boxes. We at the Bear Flat Association have been looking at how the area might be improved, including saving the fountain and improving the overall landscaping.
The Gore is a small green space that should give pleasure to our residents and act as a fitting gateway to Bear Flat. Our vision would be a beautifully landscaped and planted area, clear of utility boxes and with a restored and functioning drinking fountain. In addition, a double pedestrian crossing that takes a pedestrian safely across both Wellsway and Bloomfield Road and improved road drainage on Bloomfield Road.
Setting our Expectations
There will be limits to what we can achieve. In particular, a number of the utility boxes belong to BT / Openreach and this is evidently a hub for Bear Flat telephone lines. Moving these boxes is likely to be prohibitively expensive and disruptive, though we are in discussion with Openreach to see what can be done. The same is likely to be true of the Vodafone mast and utility box.
There is good news
Local architect Nigel Spragg is working hard on our behalf. As well as advising on the overall project, he is in discussion with B&NES Planning Section and we have submitted a pre-planning application to allow us to discuss options and limitations, together with some ideas on designs. Central to this is to provide a setting for the Victoria fountain, making this a centre-piece to The Gore Garden.
We are very pleased to say that Wessex Water is engaging with us on the project and will remove the huge valve station that sits immediately behind the drinking fountain. Whilst health and safety considerations will probably preclude reinstating the original fountain as a functioning drinking point, Wessex Water is also talking to us on installing a modern drinking fountain in the same area.
There is much to do
The response of organisations to whom we have presented our ideas has been overwhelmingly supportive, including B&NES Council and City of Bath World Heritage Site Advisory Board. But what seems a simple idea is less simple in its execution, especially when considering fund raising, planning regulations, health and safety, etc. It will take a little time to pull together. If you would like to help and have experience in, for example, grant fund raising, landscape design, etc, we would love to hear from you. Please feel free to email your thoughts to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.