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Western Riverside scheme 'could cost Bath its World Heritage status'

Bath will risk its World Heritage status if it approves Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios’ (FCBS) Western Riverside project (pictured), an international heritage watchdog has warned.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which is special adviser to UNESCO on World Heritage sites, has written a letter urging Bath and North East Somerset Council, urging it to reject the scheme.

The letter, from ICOMOS-UK secretary Susan Denyer, says: ‘ICOMOS-UK considers that the current proposals would impact adversely on the Outstanding Universal Value for which the city of Bath was inscribed on the World Heritage list.

‘Any indication that this scheme be approved could be a reason for the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to consider the possibility Bath being added to the World Heritage Site in Danger list. We urge the council to reject this application.’

ICOMOS-UK previously wrote to the council in December 2006, demanding that the scheme be called in by then Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly, just weeks before the council gave outline planning permission in January 2007.

Backed by developer Crest Nicholson, FCBS’ proposals include 40 buildings between six and nine storeys in height, which will provide more than 2,200 new homes as well as shops, restaurants, student accommodation, a surgery, a primary school and a new bridge over the River Avon.

Debbie Aplin, managing director of Crest Nicholson South West, said: ‘How they can say it is detrimental to the World Heritage Site when it is improving a brownfield site currently occupied by disused gasholders with residential property is staggering.

‘We have one of the best residential architects in the country, who happen to be local to the area, and given that the government is calling for an increase in housing numbers, this opposition needs to end.’

FCBS refused to comment.

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