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Another heritage watchdog springs up in Bath

Architects working in Bath will have yet another heritage watchdog to contend with after it was announced a new organisation has been launched to prevent the construction of 'inappropriate' modern buildings.

Bath Heritage Watchdog has been set up by local councillor Bryan Chalker and 'concerned citizen' Christopher Lincoln, to fight for the city's, generally unlisted, industrial and 20th-century Classical buildings.

The aim according to Chalker, is to preserve Bath's World Heritage Status and prevent the 'second sack of Bath', which could see the city become the 'next Milton Keynes or Slough'.

'People seem to be favouring glass and steel, which doesn't fit with the city's overall Classical design,' said Chalker. 'But [developers] seem to be getting away with it. If it continues, the city will lose its World Heritage Status.'

The decision to set up the group followed the ongoing battle to save Churchill House, a 1930s Art Deco electricity headquarters, and more recently a bid by inventor James Dyson to demolish Newark Works, and build an academy Boffin James Dyson heads for conservation row in Bath.

Chalker has since recorded a cover of a 1960s Pete Seeger folk song, changing the lyrics to call for both Churchill House and Newark Works to be kept.

But the new watchdog is likely to create yet another barrier to development in the city and, according to Chalker, unless new buildings fit to a Classical design, developers will have a fight on their hands.

'There was a wonderful new development near Seven Dials, which was built in the Georgian style, which shows they can do it,' added Chalker.

by Richard Vaughan

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