BPT supports the primary ambitions for the new Local Plan for B&NES,, which prioritise responding the challenges of the Climate and Ecological Emergencies and facilitating the goal of Net Zero carbon by 2030, protecting and enhancing nature, maximising affordable housing and creating economic opportunities.
We urge B&NES Council to include the following, fifth primary ambition to demonstrate its commitment and recognition of our world-class heritage:
- Establishing a transformational approach to protecting and enhancing the historic environment and sustaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site.
Bath is world famous for its historic environment, spanning more than 2 millennia, and Bath and North East Somerset has more than 4.5 times the number of Listed Buildings than the average for England. The historic environment must be clearly referenced in the primary ambitions of the new Local Plan as it is one of the primary drivers of our economy. Its omission introduces unnecessary risk to the World Heritage status of the city and ignores the urgent need for all older properties to be adapted in the face of climate change. Although the other ‘ambitions’ are clearly essential, you could apply them to anywhere in the UK, whereas what makes Bath and North East Somerset different is the fragility of the Bath WHS status and the disproportionately large number of historic buildings the area contains.
Furthermore, the headline statements setting out the scope if the plan must be amended to include:
“Delivering high quality new development and support for the historic and existing built environment that supports healthy, vibrant, successful communities, and addresses inequalities”
“Setting a positive strategy for the conservation, appropriate sustainable development and enjoyment of the historic environment”
BPT also calls for other issues topics and policies in the Plan to include high quality affordable housing and more inclusive target groups for the 5-year housing land supply.