AN HISTORIC Leamington street is in desperate need of some tlc.
Leamington Society member Adrian Gains says Bath Street is being allowed to go to rack and ruin and is being choked by pollution from a constant stream of traffic.
“Modern day visitors would be forgiven for not realising the historical importance of the old town,” said Mr Gains, writing in the society’s newsletter.
“They are now welcomed by a forlorn selection of shops in poor condition and heavy traffic. Not the lovely Leamington they might have been expecting.”
The semi-retired management consultant added Bath Street had a strong claim to be the most historic street in the town, and as such deserved a comprehensive management plan, involving town, district and county councils, to revive its fortunes.
Mr Gains, a former government advisor to the Department of Transport, said: “It was the discovery of a spring in 1784 in Bath Street – then Bath Lane – that lead to the phenomenal growth in the town. From this point Leamington became Leamington Spa.
“As the first street, it was the site of the first baths, the first hotel, the first market and the Parthenon assembly rooms.
“Now it is heavily polluted and many historic buildings are threatened.”
While the old hotel was demolished in the 1950s, and the upper floors of the Parthenon destroyed by fire in the
1960s, Mr Gains said there were still many historic buildings in the street worth saving – but they were in a poor condition, and the high pollution levels were only making them worse.
“Numerous schemes have been proposed to deal with the traffic problem,” added Mr Gains.
“In 1968, Bath Street was designated ‘bus‐only’ but there were complaints and it was scrapped.
“In 1977, traffic was banned from the street but, once again, this was reversed following more complaints.
“A further scheme was planned in 1996 but this didn’t get off the drawing board.
“In 2004, Bath Street was declared as one of the most polluted area in Leamington, with hazardous
levels of nitrogen dioxide. Eleven years later, there is little evidence that it is getting better and even less that it will improve in the near future.
“Cambridge, Oxford, Canterbury, York, Lincoln and Salisbury have all protected their historic centres by sensible traffic management. If they could do it, why can’t Leamington?”
“Two centuries ago, people flocked to the area to improve their health. Now it is an official health
“Bath Street has given a lot to Leamington. Surely it is time that Leamington gave something
What do YOU think? Write or email the editor.