BPT notes the news story about a sale of the Min and looks forward to any formal announcement from either vendor or purchaser. We intend to continue to take an active interest the Min and how its future will be determined.
BPT last week heard that, disappointingly, our application to have the Min registered as an asset of community value was unsuccessful. As we said at the time, we will continue to campaign for:
• the existing public assets within the Min (the museum and archives, the Roman Mosaic and the paintings which tell a significant story of Bath’s history) to remain within public ownership and/or publicly accessible;
• there to be an element of public access and public benefit in whatever development comes forward for this historic building;
• the development plans fully to respect both the Grade II* listed status and the scheduled ancient monument designations; and
• any new owner to recognise the central role of the Min to the history of the City.
We hope that any developer has the imagination and commitment to Bath to deliver something which will continue to benefit the whole community.
We would like to remind the developer that the entirety of the building is covered by its listed status and all changes will be subject to listed building application considerations. We are concerned that the developer has apparently only stated that ‘we will not be changing the external façade’.
We regret that B&NES Council has remained silent on the role and expectation for the development of this large, complex and significant site. We have earlier called for the Council to prepare a development brief for this site and we reiterate that statement: failing that we would urge the developer to enter into an open, collaborative process with stakeholders to develop such a brief.
We would draw the developer’s attention to the adopted Council policy which states that
Where development viability assessments are required developers should demonstrate that the policy requirements, including to sustain and enhance the District’s historic environment, have been considered and reflected in the land or site value. [Placemaking Plan Policy HE1] The implication of this is that whatever the developer has paid for this site, they will be expected to deliver a plan which fulfils planning policy, not least in respect of the historic environment.
While BPT cannot formally ask for a review of the decision not to list the Min as an asset of community value, it is possible to make a further application which attempts to meet the perceived weaknesses of the earlier application. This would then apply to any future on-sale of the Min by Versant Properties. We are currently considering the likelihood of success for such an approach.