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Minister puts HTA homes scheme on hold

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HTA’s masterplan for the redevelopment of the Foxhill Estate outside Bath has been put on hold by communities secretary Sajid Javid

Javid wrote to Bath and North East Somerset Council, directing them not to grant planning permission for the 700-home scheme without his say-so.

The order will give Javid time to decide whether to call in the application for his officials to determine.

A statement from the council said: ‘Bath & North East Somerset Council is aware that the secretary of state is considering calling in the application for the redevelopment of the Foxhill Estate.

‘If the application is called in it will be subject to a public inquiry, presided over by a planning inspector. A recommendation will then be made to the secretary of state, who will decide the application.’

A meeting of the council’s development management committee last month resolved to grant permission for the scheme. It would see the demolition of 542 existing homes and their replacement with 700 new ones and a 560m² ‘local centre’.

Officers said that public benefits of the scheme would outweigh the ‘less than substantial harm’ to the Bath World Heritage Site, in which it is located.

The committee had accepted a viability study which said the scheme would only be capable of delivering 30 per cent affordable housing. This would result in a net loss of 204 affordable homes within the site.

HTA’s client, housing association Curo, had rejected the idea of creating a formal design code for the site. As an alternative, the council proposed a less binding approach – the inclusion of a planning condition requiring future development to ‘reflect the site-wide design principles, including the relevant character areas’.

HTA was appointed to the scheme in March 2014. Its design for the site was shortlisted for the National Urban Design Awards 2017.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • What 'public benefits' does this scheme have, if it results in the net loss of 204 affordable homes?

    Isn't the purpose of housing associations to provide affordable housing, rather than to replace affordable homes with unaffordable ones? - just what is Curo's remit?

    And what of the planners' talk of 'less than substantial harm' to the Bath World Heritage Site? - a statement just as opaque as their proposed planning condition.

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