Bath Voice Planning News: Tufa Field, Lidl, South of Bath Alliance, Wells Road flats, Prior Park College and Bath Rugby Stadium

Planning News by local democracy reporter John Wimperis: Tufa Field. Plans to build 16 homes on a field in Bath that features a rare natural phenomenon are set to advance in 2024. Site surveys have been going on through the winter months on the “tufa field” off Englishcombe Lane as Bath and North East Somerset Council prepares to submit a planning application to build 16 homes as supported housing.

Impression of the planned development. Main pic a demo against the plans.

Councillor Deborah Collins, the council’s cabinet project lead for leader, built environment and sustainable development, said: “The Englishcombe Supported Housing Scheme will provide high quality accommodation for vulnerable residents who will be able to live as independently as possible within the district close to family and friends – and will work sympathetically with the existing site ecology.”

Plans to build 37 homes on the field were significantly scaled back after opposition from the local community.
The field features a rare natural phenomenon of tufa flushes — where water from limestone springs creates a lime deposit called tufa. Now 16 homes are planned to cover part of the site.

Impression of the planned development

New Lidl in Bath plan: Plans to build a Lidl on a “wildlife haven” on the eastern edge of Bath saw almost a thousand people lodge objections on the council’s planning portal. Lidl stated it had “searched exhaustively” for suitable sites, and that the site off London Road next to Bath Rugby’s Lambridge training ground was the most suitable, accessible, and convenient. The discount supermarket company say the new shop will give people access to affordable food and bring 40 jobs to the area. They say their plans will increase biodiversity on the site by 40% through new tree, hedge, and wildflower planting, a seasonal wetland, green roof, bird baths, bat boxes, and bee towers. The woodland by the river would also be retained.

295 people lodged comments in support of the plans — but 945 people voiced their opposition. Joanna Wright, the councillor for the area on Bath and North East Somerset Council, was at a protest against the plans when Lidl held a consultation event on them.

She said: “This is a green entrance to the city that the Georgians put in place hundreds of years ago […] We should not be building on it. We should be protecting it.”

South Bath: Major plans could see 290 homes built on fields that mark the rural southern edge of Bath.
171 homes have already been built in the first phase of the development of the plateau at the city’s edge. The Hignett Family Trust are seeking planning permission to build more in phases two and three of the plans.
But locals — organised as the South of Bath Alliance — have slammed the plans as “utter madness.”
The plans came before the council’s planning committee in November but councillors voted to defer their decision, stating they needed more information from the developers about what the impact would be on traffic and whether there still were the exceptional circumstances needed to allow the development in the area of outstanding natural beauty.

Impression of the planned development

Wells Road flats. Developer Kosy Living is hoping to meet the needs of “generation rent” with a block of 77 studio flats in the centre of the city. The developer hopes to get planning permission to knock down a row of single storey commercial units off the bottom of Wells Road near Churchill Bridge Roundabout, and build the flats above a new co-working space and with a gym and rooftop terrace. The studio apartments would each have a fold-down bed and kitchenette, but would also share three larger kitchen-dining rooms.

In a statement submitted with the application, Kosy Living said: “This co-living/co-working scheme would be the first of its kind in Bath, providing a much needed and positive addition to the type and availability of rented residential accommodation within the city.

Library photo of a Pulsar Dome

Prior Park College: Plans to set up an observatory at a private school have been approved. The new facility to house Prior Park College’s large telescope was granted planning permission by Bath and North East Somerset Council in December. The Pulsar Dome observatory would be just under three metres high, and would be located in the corner of the private school’s playing fields, a location assessed for the best astronomical position by Simon Holbeche of Bath Astronomers.

In a letter submitted with the school’s planning application in February, estates director Tan Tootill and astronomy lead Andrew Watkinson-Trim said: “Our observatory will be a valuable resource for both the school and the wider community. We aim to operate the facility in conjunction with Bath Astronomers for a range of inclusive activities and cross-community events.”

The letter said that the observatory would support the school’s science curriculum as Astronomical Society, and added: “There are a wider group of students (many of them boarders) whose casual interest in astronomy will be sparked into life by the opportunities for direct observation and imaging that this facility alone can supply.”
Bath has played a key role in the history of astronomy. In 1781, William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus using a homemade telescope from his back garden on King Street — the first planet discovered by telescope.
Prior Park College is a private day and boarding school in a grand Grade I-listed building designed by Bath architect John Wood, the Elder overlooking the Prior Park Landscape Garden.

Granting permission for the plans, the council said that the planned observatory complied with the requirements around persevering the setting of the listed building, although the observatory would have to be a specific shade of pebble grey rather than the initially suggested “not supportable” colour white.

Impression of the planned development

Bath Riverside development: Plans for Bath’s former gasworks could see 962 homes built in the city, as part of the Bath Riverside development. St William are hoping to get planning permission for 611 homes across nine blocks on the site. After fears that the “excessive height” of some of the buildings could threaten Bath’s UNESCO status, St William reduced the planned height of some of the buildings.

A spokesperson said: “The revised proposals include 611 high quality new homes, a children’s nursery, restaurant, café, cycle hub, a new ecological riverside park, sustainable transport route, net biodiversity gain and many other public benefits.”

Meanwhile, Bath and North East Somerset Council itself is planning to build 351 homes across four apartment blocks on the remainder of the site. 800 homes have already been built in the first phase of the Bath Riverside development by developers Crest Nicholson.
You can view St William’s plans for 611 homes here: You can view Bath and North East Somerset Council’s plans for 351 homes on the council website along with all applications.

Impression of the planned development

Rugby Stadium for Bath: Long awaited and much debated plans to build a stadium for Bath Rugby on the Recreation Ground could finally be decided in 2024. The 18,000 seater “Stadium for Bath” will be a major new landmark in the centre of the city. The plans to build a permanent stadium on the Recreation Ground have been controversial, but Bath Rugby CEO Tarquin McDonald said it would secure the club’s future.

Mr McDonald said: “If everything went well we would love it to be building through the 25/26 seasons […] and welcoming 18,000 people in from the start of 26/27 season.”

An alternative design, which proposed a Roman colosseum-style stadium, was drawn up by a Bath-based group of architects in the summer. Mark Wilson Jones of Apollodorus Architecture said: “This is an idealistic vision put forward really just to shake things up and get people to think in those kinds of ways.”

Although the plans captured the public imagination in the city, Mr McDonald said they were “unaffordable” and a “non-starter” and opted to stick with Bath Rugby’s plan.

Bath pub aims to stop being a ‘greenhouse’

A stylish Bath pub wants to attach an awning to its Georgian frontage as it says the sunlight is turning it into a “greenhouse” in the summer.

Town + House (formerly the King William) on London Road in Walcot enjoys a great corner location in an 1830s building with an iconic flagpole and large windows. But these windows are causing a huge amount of “solar gain” in the pub, the owners have warned.

In a planning application submitted to Bath and North East Somerset Council seeking permission to install and awning, the pub said: “During sunny periods, this solar gain generates a greenhouse atmosphere for the adjacent tables and seating, making them uncomfortable and potentially unusable for customers.”

You can view and comment on the plans here:

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