A possible scheme for 180 student beds and 105 small apartments on the site of Hartwell’s Garage on Newbridge Road has recently been consulted upon and the Trust has provided a response to the developers. In our view the student accommodation element is unacceptable given the saturation of this type of accommodation in Bath already…
Following a Public Inquiry the Planning Inspector finally ruled on the Core Strategy in 2014, releasing land within the Green Belt for development at South Stoke Plateau. Policy B3a in the Core Strategy sets out the placemaking principles for the site, an underpinning principle being the agreement of a comprehensive masterplan for the whole site that looks to establish the quantum and boundaries of development on the site, including infrastructure, play and leisure space, services and importantly highways considerations.
In May 2017 a planning application was submitted for 173 dwellings with associated public realm and infrastucture on Phase 1 of the site, being the parcel of land west of Sulis Manor. The Trust supports the garden suburb ‘arts and crafts’ architecture and design of the scheme, and it is clear that the applicant wants to create a high quality new neighbourhood, however our continual and historic concern regarding potential ‘boundary creep’ and over-development of the site due to the lack of an overall comprehensive masterplan still stand. You can read our detailed response here: Sulis Down planning app July 2017. Following revisions in Feb 2018 we issued a further objection.
In June 2018 the Council’s Development Management Committee approved the Phase 1 application despite being presented with legal advice that the application was at risk of judicial review. The officer advised that the comprehensive masterplan was not proposed to be approved as it was not ‘comprehensive’ as per the provisions of policy B3a but that Phase 1 could be approved as an entity separate from the masterplan. Given that B3a sets the placemaking principles for the entire site, we fail to understand how Phase 1 can be agreed without an underpinning placemaking masterplan for the site being agreed. The absence of a masterplan means that piecemeal development will occur with the potential for harm to the GB/AONB and adjacent heritage assets increased and the potential for a local infrastructure vacuum as it is not properly planned for. In our view this is ineffective and substandard ‘placemaking’ in the true sense of the word.