Old King Edward’s School (or Old KES) on Broad Street is a Grade II* mid-18th century building, formerly part of King Edward’s School, that has been vacant since the 1980s. It is currently on the national Heritage at Risk list.
We have continued to advocate for this fine building to be brought back into a use appropriate to its significance to secure its upkeep and survival. We previously encouraged the refurbishment of the building for public use in response to a series of planning applications that came forward in 2010 and 2013, although we had some concerns about the proposed scale of bar use on the ground floor.
2023 – Update on Potential Council Action Against Ongoing Vacancy of Grade II* Building
On 9th March 2023, the Cabinet meeting of B&NES Council considered future options for Old KES as part of the forthcoming Milsom Quarter, including the potential Compulsory Purchase of the building. It was resolved that the council would “assist in expediting the delivery of a suitable scheme for the King Edward’s School building to bring it back into use”, and officers are due to produce a report on the existing internal and external conditions of the building. You can see the conclusions of the Cabinet meeting here.
Recent activity has been spotted on the site for general maintenance works to the building, but works for its refurbishment in line with the granted planning permission do not appear to have started.
2021 – Resubmission of Planning Applications for Refurbishment of Building & Change of Use to Hotel/Restaurant/Bar
BPT has been involved in responding to a string of planning applications for the change of use of the building since 2010, the latest being applications 21/00695/LBA & 21/00692/VAR for the conversion of the Old KES into a hotel with ground floor restaurant and bar use, with associated material changes to the interior
In response to the latest 2021 proposals, we emphasised the urgent need to bring this significant local building back into public use as soon as possible. However, we highlighted some concerns as to the treatment of internal historic fabric as part of the proposed conversion works.
Read our response to the 2021 planning application here.
Application 21/00695/LBA was granted consent in June 2021. The case officer emphasised that the benefits of the scheme would include, “crucially, bringing the building back into use after three decades of vacancy. In this instance, this will result in both public and heritage benefits arising from the reuse and associated restoration and conservation of the listed building, the increase in activity of the surrounding conservation area and a contribution to the recovery and regeneration of the city centre”. This latest consent is valid until 2024, but as of July 2022 there appears to be continued inactivity on the site.
2020 – BPT Publishes Open Letter Calling for Old KES Action
In November 2020, we published an open letter calling for the building to be brought back into reuse and highlighting our disappointment at the building’s continued vacancy and deterioration. We have encouraged B&NES to issue a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to take on the building and bring it into public ownership with associated opportunities for publicly access and interpretation.
2010/2013 – Series of Planning Permissions Granted for Building Use as Hotel
Planning permission/listed building consent was previously granted in 2010 (see 10/00042/LBA) for the proposed conversion of Old KES to a hotel, including associated refurbishment works to address ongoing deterioration and bring the building back into a useable condition.
BPT was supportive of the principle of bringing the building back into use, although we highlighted some potential concerns regarding the over-concentration of bars and pubs in this part of the city, and how the proposals would add to this. Read our response to the planning application here.
Subsequently, application 13/02293/LBR was submitted to renew the lapsed planning permission/listed building consent, to which BPT reiterated its previous comments. Read our response the planning application here.