Planning approval was granted in 2003 for the re-development of the southern part of the Bath retail centre. The scheme included a mix of new shops, leisure facilities, restaurants and homes, set within a series of newly designed streets and public squares.
Phase I of the development started in Spring 2007. This included the demolition of the existing buildings and clearance of the site. The construction of Phase I took around four and half years to complete, including the development of new bus station, which is modern in design and highly controversial, and the refurbishment of Bath Spa Railway Station.
Phase II saw the development of a new Debenhams department store, 58 new shops, new restaurants and cafes, 93 apartments and an underground car park. The original aim for building delivery was 2010. They were to be constructed in a neoclassical style clad in Bath stone.
Works begun in 2007, and Phase 1 of the new Southgate shopping district was opened in 2009, with Phases 2 and 3 following through 2010. The development won the Georgian Group Architectural Giles Worsley Award for a New Building in Georgian Context in 2010. Further developments started in 2011 to better connect Southgate with Bath Railway Station and the Bus Station and create a Bath gateway for visitors, culminating in the development of Brunel Square and the refurbishment of the Grade II Brunel’s Railway Arches into restaurants and eateries in late 2012.
The Architecture and Planning Committee has welcomed proposals for the demolition of the existing 1960’s bus station and the redevelopment of the shopping area. The poor condition of the existing buildings had detracted from the character of the city centre for far too long. In essence, the Trust is in agreement with the scheme, particularly the requirement to use Bath stone ashlar. However, the Trust is concerned about the use of Bath stone veneers as proposed by developers and associated construction techniques. Whilst the mock façade constructed looks effective, we are concerned about the durability of the veneers. We have been writing to the developers, Multi, on this matter and however so far we have not received sufficient reassurances from them. We will be continuing to seek clarification and will remain vigilant over the construction of the scheme and elements of the scheme yet to be agreed such as shop signage and landscaping works, especially the works to the Station forecourt. We will encourage the retention of historic materials and use of pennant stone paving throughout the scheme.