Conker Crossing pitches at Bath Life Business Club

As a new local charity, the Bathampton Conker Crossing are extremely grateful to have been given a slot today at the Bath Life Business Club lunch. We were able to explain our purpose and seek donations to close our fundraising gap of £4.5k as we prepare our full planning application. Thank you @TheMediaClash and @BathLifeMag for the opportunity!

We continue to fundraise via Golden Giving.
Or please get in touch: Bathamptonconkercrossing@gmail.com;

Here is our speech from today…

Hello, my name is Fiona Powell and I am the volunteer Chair of both the Safer Routes to School Group at Bathampton Primary and an offshoot charity, The Bathampton Conker Crossing.

The route to school for half of our catchment includes the listed, blind, humpback bridge close to the George pub on the canal that was built in 1805 for the horse and cart. There is no pavement on the side most families use and putting one in would bring no real protection as cars regularly mount the pavement on the other side already due to the narrow width and poor lines of sight. I’m sure you can picture these dangers if you are one of the 4500 vehicles each day to use the Toll Bridge route. 

Fed up with watching these daily near misses between cars and pedestrians, as well as wanting to unlock more active travel, our purpose as the Conker Crossing is to bring forward a design for a new community foot and cycle bridge over the canal.

I am here to pitch to you today because we are now only £4.5k short of our original £28k target to prepare a full and professional planning application. 

This is no lightweight scheme. We have a locally-based expert team including our bridge designer, Walcot Street engineers Format Ltd, plus local planning specialists including Nicholas Pearson Associates, Planning Heritage Ltd, Hillside Trees and LPC Trull working with us on a reduced rate or pro bono basis. 

We have had cash donations from local organisations such as the Parish Council, the George Pub and King Edwards School. Bathampton Primary has fundraised almost £1k for us despite these being tough times for school funding and Charlcombe Homes has met several of our specialists’ fees. We are crowdfunding via Golden Giving.

Our three Ward councillors are fully supportive and at senior officer level in the council there is strong willingness to ultimately adopt the bridge. We are just concluding a positive 2-month community consultation. The response to our pre-planning application was positive from both the council and canal and river trust.

Why is the Council not paying for this feasibility phase you may be thinking? We could of course have spent this year lobbying for political support to pay for feasibility work in the next budget round, but we knew we could get there far quicker if we harnessed the goodwill and professionalism of local contacts to bring forward our own plans. The Council has asked for more community/council partnerships and we want to be one of the very first.

Should we be able to raise the remaining £4.5k this Summer then we will put ourselves in the best possible position to lobby for inclusion in the next round of council budgeting for 2019 for funds to build the bridge. If we don’t, we risk going back by a year. Given the dangers families face daily, we cannot afford for this to happen.

So many people say that this is a dangerous problem that should have been sorted out years ago. We are three volunteer Trustees doing something about it – I hope very much that you will help us by pledging towards our cause.

We publicly acknowledge all donations on our Golden Giving site and name large donors in our wider comms if they would like this. You can donate by following the details on the back of the Conker Crossing business cards in the lobby or please find me later.

Thank you for listening and enjoy your lunch.

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