Bath Preservation Trust has called on Bath and North East Somerset Council to produce a Supplementary Planning Document on building heights in Bath, in line with English Heritage recommendations. The strategy is not an adopted SPD.
A key feature of the universal values of the World Heritage site is the homogeneity of the low-rise buildings and the landscape setting of the City. At a national conference on tall buildings held in Oxford in May 2010, Charles Wagner, Head of Planning and Regeneration Policy at English Heritage, outlined the risks to local authorities of operating without such a policy, saying that tall buildings have a significant impact on their setting and that it was the responsibility of a local authority to ensure that they are built, if at all, in the right places and to the highest quality, and with an understanding of site and context. Such policies, he said, also need to take account view analysis: ‘Is it the right building in the right place’. English Heritage had recently criticised B&NES for not having such a policy in its response to plans for Twerton Mill where the Historic Areas Advisor, David Stuart, stated:
“It seems clear that there are a number of sites in the western part of the city which in principle lend themselves to redevelopment of some form. At present, the absence of a framework to establish some broad development principles, such as building heights, allows each site to come forward on an individual ad hoc basis, making it difficult to provide helpful and effective advice, and without a regime within which a series of schemes can be promoted and decisions made with confidence”.
“Whilst such a framework has been generated for the Western Riverside area (SPD), there exists a vacuum around it in terms of complementary coverage which could be positively filled”.