Formerly the site of the Stothert and Pitt Crane Factory, Victoria Works and the Bath Gasworks. An outline planning application was approved in 2010 for the major regeneration of this brownfield industrial land site with over 2,000 homes. Phase 1 of development was completed in 2018/2019.  There is a long history of effective BPT campaigning to secure high quality placemaking, public realm, residential and mixed-use development that sustains the value of the World Heritage Site.

The Bath Western Riverside Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document provides a spatial master-plan and implementation framework for the regeneration of the area.


2023 – Amendments Submitted for the St William/Berkeley Homes Scheme

Amended proposals were submitted to the St William/Berkeley Homes scheme for the redevelopment of the western half of the former Gasworks site (see application  22/03224/EFUL) on 25th September. The overall number of proposed new homes reduced from 616 to 611, with a general reduction of the building heights across the site of around 3-4m (with the exception of Block G). Further clarification of elevational material finishes was also provided. BPT continued to express concerns about the excessive height and massing of the proposed blocks, which will have a cumulative harmful effect on the river valley setting of the World Heritage Site and the surrounding area, particularly in relation to the riverside setting and the Bath Conservation Area opposite. We raised an in-principle objection to the provision of no affordable housing on the site.

Read BPT’s response to amended proposals here.


2023 – B&NES Council Development Proposals for Former Gasworks Site

Application 23/01762/EREG03 was submitted for the eastern B&NES-owned portion of the site, proposing an additional 351 dwellings at a height of up to 8 storeys.  The application is being alongside the current St William/Berkeley Homes scheme for 616 homes on the western half of the site and facing directly onto the river, which is still live.

BPT has continued to support the principle of redevelopment and regeneration of this significant brownfield site to provide affordable housing, and has encouraged high quality contemporary design sensitive to the special qualities of the City of Bath World Heritage Site.  In our response, we have highlighted that buildings of up to 8 storeys in height would be excessively tall in long-range townscape views across the Georgian city, and would be contrary to the Council’s own guidance on building heights within Bath. We have also called for cohesive landscaping to create strong public realm links and identity with the St William/Berkeley Homes site, as well as questions regarding the provision of affordable housing.

The design and appearance of the buildings will be determined by a further reserved matters planning application, and we will respond to design detail when this comes forward.

Read our planning application response here.

Application 22/03224/EFUL for the St William/Berkeley Homes scheme on the western half of the site is pending a decision by B&NES Planning Committee. Amendments to the application are anticipated for submission by Summer 2023, and BPT is expected to respond to revisions in due course.


2022/2023 – St William/Berkeley Homes Development Proposals for Former Gasworks Site

At the start of 2022, BPT was invited to consult at pre-application stage on proposals for residential development by St William & The Berkeley Group of the former Gasworks site, part of the broader Western Riverside masterplan. The development would deliver up to 675 new homes across 6-10 storeys, utilising a “landscape-led” approach. There was an accompanying public exhibition in Spring 2022.

At pre-application stage, BPT welcomed the opportunity for the regeneration of a major brownfield site within the city centre. The principle of residential development was supported to meet housing targets, though we emphasised the need to deliver as much affordable housing as possible. We raised concerns regarding the ‘piecemeal’ development of the Western Riverside site, moving away from a cohesive masterplan. BPT’s response highlighted the potentially harmful impact of rectilinear layouts, scale, 9 storey height, and massing on the special qualities and views across the World Heritage Site. We encouraged a design approach which more strongly connected with the site’s industrial heritage.

Application 22/03224/EFUL came forward for 616 new homes delivered across 5-8 storeys. BPT supported the principle of development, and highlighted major concerns which included:

  • The piecemeal approach across the Western Riverside allocation site and absence of detail about how the proposed design, public realm, and infrastructure would link up with existing and forthcoming areas of development across the wider site.
  • Cumulative impact of the height, massing, and scale of development on local townscape and wider landscape views in the World Heritage Site.
  • The over-dominant use of buff brick across significant elevations which would be at odds with local distinctiveness and townscape character.
  • Policy-compliant provision of genuinely affordable housing.

Read our planning application response here.

BPT sent an accompanying open letter highlighting the risk of current development proposals to Bath’s defined World Heritage status, in particular the height of development and the resulting adverse impacts to the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site and its landscape setting.

Read the open letter here.

Read the ICOMOS UK response here.


2019/2020 – Reserved Matters Applications for Residential & Student Accommodation Blocks

In 2019, two ‘Reserved Matters’ applications came forward:

  • 19/05165/ERES for 2x 5-storey student accommodation blocks, with a total of 290 bedrooms, along Lower Bristol Road. Part of the site overlaps with what is now the Dick Lovett development site.
  • 19/05471/ERES for the construction of 176 dwellings to the north of the River Avon along Upper Bristol Road.

19/05165/ERES: BPT opposed the principle of purpose- built student accommodation (PBSA) on the site. We had general concerns about the use of materials, such as the prominent use of red brick along the principal street-facing façade, where this treatment is not in keeping with Bath’s homogenous material palette. The design as proposed was not felt to draw from or reinforce local character. In this instance, we recognised that the height, form, and massing of development had already been secured in the outline planning permission.

Read BPT’s planning application response here.

At Planning Committee, the application was refused on grounds of “poor design […] due to its design, scale, appearance, massing and materials.” The decision was appealed and scheduled to go to a public hearing; however, this was withdrawn following the granting of planning permission for application 20/03071/EFUL in 2021 for the Dick Lovett development.

19/05471/ERES: BPT offered comments on the proposed development design; we had concerns about the extensive use of red brick which was not in keeping with the material treatment of the local area (with the notable exception of 1-4 Kelso Place). There was some feeling that the design approach along the riverside, where this would be of high visibility, could be improved.

Read BPT’s planning application response here.

At Planning Committee, the application was delegated to permit; the officer summarised that the design sought to draw on the industrial qualities of the site in its form and use of materials, of which the conservation officer was supportive.


2013/2017 – Permitted Reserved Matters Applications & Proposed 9-Storey ‘Landmark’ Buildings

A series of reserved matters applications were permitted for localised blocks of development within the masterplan area over the next five years:

  • Application 13/04574/ERES proposed 38 residential dwellings across Blocks B6 & B12, between Stothert Avenue and Elizabeth’s Parade.
  • Application 14/02005/ERES proposed a mix of 97 residential buildings and 750m2 of commercial ground floor space across Blocks B5 & B16, at the two ‘landmark’ buildings at Sovereign Point and Royal View.
  • Application 17/02479/ERES proposed 52 residential dwellings between Midland Road and Percy Terrace.

Application 14/02005/ERES was of particular interest due to the proposed 9-storey height of development, although the height of 8-9 storeys was originally secured in the outline planning permission. Despite this, BPT reiterated that the height of development would be unacceptable and would have a detrimental impact on the special qualities of the World Heritage Site, although we commended the design reference and approach taken.

Read BPT’s planning application response here.

The application was ultimately delegated to permit at Planning Committee. The case officer considered that the developments as proposed would be largely in line (although slightly larger) than the buildings already secured in the outline planning permission, and the rounded elevations would introduce a ‘softer’ design approach and reduce massing.

Read the Committee Report here.


2012/2013 – Reserved Matters Applications for Alison Brooks ‘Crescent’ Development 

Reserved matters application 12/05590/ERES came forward for the erection of three and four storey buildings comprising 26 houses and apartments and 1 commercial unit (A3 cafe/restaurant) opposite the Homebase car park. Whilst we welcomed the design approach by Alison Brooks Architects, we maintained concerns as to how this development within the wider Western Riverside masterplan would connect with the adjoining Homebase site, and we had some reservations about the use of materials which were later addressed.

You can read our 2012 planning application response here. 

The application was granted planning permission in 2013. The construction of the Alison Brooks development, now known as Albert Crescent, was completed in 2015.

BPT nominated the development for a Civic Voice Housing Award in 2017.


2008/2009 – UNESCO Delegation Site Visit

In 2008, an UNESCO Delegation visited Bath on a monitoring mission to assess the state of the World Heritage Site. In response to concerns raised by the scale of proposed development on the Phase 1 site, the following recommendations were made to the State Party:

  • “To submit to the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS, for review, a time-bound revised plan for the second and third phases of the Bath Western Riverside project, including revised density and volume of the ensemble, so as not to impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, its integrity and on important views to and from the property;
  • To “enhance the protection of the surrounding landscape of the property to prevent any future developments which could have adverse and cumulative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.”

Read the 2009 UNESCO Report here.


2006/2010 – Outline Planning Application for Western Riverside Masterplan

In 2006, Developers Crest Nicholson put forward outline planning application 06/01733/EOUT for the major regeneration of 17.5 acres in the Western Riverside area of the city with provision of over 2000 homes. For many years the site, identifiable by the gasholders, had lain derelict. Under the proposals the site was proposed to be transformed into a new residential quarter with restaurants, shops, parks and public areas.

BPT supported the development of the site as a residential area, and maintained that development must be in harmony with the World Heritage Site. We submitted an objection on grounds of the excessive height, scale, and massing of the proposed buildings at 6-9 storeys, site density, materials, and the impact on the setting of listed buildings.

Despite advice from conservation groups including English Heritage and ICOMOS UK, Councillors were minded to approve the Outline Application on the 17 January 2007. The application was then referred to the Government Office for the South West (GOSW) because proposals were a departure from the then current Bath Local Plan, and an Article 14 Direction was applied to prevent the Local Planning Authority from issuing a decision.

In the intervening period BPT and a number of other organisations and individuals wrote to the Government Office South West (GOSW) to express concerns about the proposals and request that the application was called-in and assessed by an independent inspector. After 6 months of lobbying, BPT was approached by the developers in July 2007 to discuss a design review. There was some indication that they had been minded to take on board the concerns expressed by English Heritage (now Historic England). The Council and the GOSW were presented with revised plans in August 2007, which proposed to reduce the heights of several of the buildings. BPT’s then Architecture and Planning Committee considered the revised plans and while it was recognised that some concessions had been continued to object.

Read our planning application response here.

Read BPT’s accompanying press release here.

Outline planning application 06/01733/EOUT was subsequently delegated to permit at Planning Committee in 2010.

BPT released the following press statement in response to the decision.

See further accompanying press releases below: