45 Upper Bloomfield Road, Odd Down, Bath
45 Upper Bloomfield Road forms part of a concentrated cluster of retail and commercial premises within the otherwise predominantly residential area of Odd Down. The building is located within the World Heritage Site and the indicative townscape setting of the Bath City-Wide Conservation Area. The tight cluster of shops and businesses in this area is characterised as a local retail centre, identified as part of Policy CP12. No. 45 was originally open as a TV and computer repair business up until at least 2021; the business has since relocated and the premises is suggested to be vacant. The former building use is considered to sustain an active ground floor use in that it provided a public service and would promote an active pedestrian environment in accessing that service. The building is indicated to be Use Class A1, which has now been superseded by Use Class E; this retains the possibility of the building being attributed a more active use by future occupiers, where Class E encompasses a range of uses (eg. shops, offices, cafes, restaurants) without requiring planning permission for change of use.
In accordance with Policy CP12, “uses which contribute to maintaining the vitality, viability and diversity of centres within the hierarchy will be encouraged. Active ground floor uses will be maintained and enhanced.” There remains a preference for a retained active use at ground floor where this is characteristic of the Upper Bloomfield Road retail centre serving the otherwise predominantly residential character of the wider area. Nonetheless, it is appreciated that a balance should be struck to ensure the sustainable long-term use of the building.
It would be useful to clarify whether there has been any ongoing marketing of the existing unit with the case officer. Where marketing may demonstrate a consistent lack of potential tenant interest, this may be considered justification for the proposed change of use.