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Feilden Clegg Bradley's Western Riverside finally gets go-ahead - image

Feilden Clegg Bradley (FCB) founder Keith Bradley has confessed he was 'delighted but exhausted' last night after the practice's controversial Western Riverside in Bath finally won outline planning permission from Bath and North East Somerset Council.

The decision signals a major milestone for the scheme's developer Crest Nicholson, after years of uncertainty and arguments over the 28-hectare site west of the city centre ( www.ajplus.co.uk ).

Local groups such as the Bath Preservation Trust originally branded the residential-led mixed-use proposals - which include plans for almost 2,000 homes next to the River Avon - as 'an eyesore' when they were unveiled last year.

There was particular concern about new eight- and nine-storey waterfront buildings.

However, a revised outline application not only received the backing of CABE - which unusually admitted it preferred the first design at a review in December - but also the support of a specially created design watchdog to oversee the project, headed by ex-CABE man Les Sparks.

Agreed with only one amendment in respect of the variety of the designs, the outline plan will now be referred to the Government Office for the South West for final approval.

A detailed plan for the first phase of the development, which has also been welcomed by CABE, is expected to go before the planning committee in March.

Bradley said: 'There have been difficult moments and there is still some way to go to persuade all the locals about the quality of the architecture.

'It is one of those schemes where you can't please everyone, but we were particularly happy with Les Sparks' summary of the [12 year] project.'

He added: 'What we needed was a design panel like that, which understands Bath, to say 'Yes, this scheme is right.''

Bradley confirmed that Llewelyn Davies Yeang was no longer involved with the project - having drawn up a strategic development plan - but is working on economic studies on the eastern side of the site.

by Richard Waite

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