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Planning boost for controversial Allies and Morrison Bath World Heritage scheme

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Allies and Morrison’s controversial plans for a mixed-use development within the City of Bath World Heritage Site have received outline planning consent

The practice’s Bath Quay North scheme for Bath & North East Somerset Council was approved by councillors on the local authority’s development management committee despite a range of dissenting voices.

Bath Quay North would see up to 38,000m2 of development on the site of a surface and multistorey car park between Corn Street and the River Avon. Proposals include up to 25,000m2 of office space, up to 270 homes, a hotel, retail space and a replacement car-park.

Historic England raised a number of concerns including potential building heights. It added that the proposed roof terraces and gardens were ‘unlikely to contribute positively to [the] context of [the] wider Georgian city’.

Fears over building heights were also cited by internal council consultees including conservation and urban design officers.

The council’s landscape department said: ‘Building heights exceed [the] highest ridge height of Green Park and cannot be said to comply with the building heights strategy. The resulting obstruction, bulk and height compete with, dominate and impact on the distinctive character of Georgian Bath and the wider world heritage site.’

The scheme forms part of the local authority’s Bath Quays regeneration project, designed to create a thriving business quarter in the city.

The project will be linked to the south bank by a new bridge design by Marc Mimram. The Paris-based architecture and engineering practice secured planning permission for its competition-winning £2.5 million Bath Quays Bridge in March last year.

The Conservative-run council’s cabinet member for economic and community regeneration Paul Myers called the planning decision a ‘hugely significant step forward’ for Bath.

‘[Bath Quays] will enhance the city’s and region’s reputation as a home for business and will enable the provision of more opportunities for our residents and young people, especially in Bath’s successful high-tech, creative, financial and professional sectors,’ he said.

The scheme would reinstate the historic street pattern that was removed when the multistorey car park was built. The council said this would reconnect the river to the city centre with pedestrianised squares and cycle routes. 

Homes England has committed grant support through the Accelerated Construction Programme to speed up the delivery of new homes within Bath Quays and ensure affordable housing is part of the mix.

Construction is targeted to start in early 2020.

Allies and Morrison has been contacted for comment. 

Masterplan for north quays bath

Masterplan for north quays bath

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