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Reasons to be cheerful in 2023

There’s no question that business faces a tough New Year with a range of challenging issues to contend with. It’s unsurprising that the latest Business West quarterly survey shows confidence at rock bottom, but without underplaying the problems, there are still reasons to be optimistic about what can be achieved locally.

For example, it was great news that Bath Rugby seems to have finally negotiated its way through the Byzantine legal maze which had been stalling their efforts to re-develop the stadium on the Recreation Ground. It was vital that they succeeded because otherwise the Club would surely have had to admit defeat and move elsewhere, which would have been very bad news for the City.

As it is, they can now get cracking working up designs and hopefully 2023 will be the year they finally make progress on a scheme which should provide the club with the base for a long term sustainable business.

Plans will also be going ahead for the new look Fashion Museum, which has de-camped from its old home in the Assembly Rooms. Actually the word “Museum” hardly does the project justice because it will be much more than a traditional showcase of a marvellous collection.

There will be links in to education via a partnership with Bath Spa University and the new exhibition will hopefully act as a magnet to high end retailers and top designers. Imagine what an impact that world class combination could have, attracting visitors, customers and students to become designers of the future in a changing world of clothing.

We’re looking forward to the continued development of the Quays site on either side of the river and business activity is already ramping up in the completed section, including the opening of the new bridge for pedestrians and cyclists. Whilst elsewhere, interesting plans are in the offing to re-use the Debenhams building and so provide a shot in the arm for the SouthGate Centre.

Our members continue to report strong demand for their services, with the icing on the cake surely coming with BMT’s recent success as part of a consortium to land a massive contract to deliver three large ships for the Navy.

So, whilst the cold economic winds are blowing, we have some good reasons to remain positive and show that Bath can weather the storm as it has done many a time in the past.


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