Bath Western Riverside

Convenor: Jeremy Douch

Debbie Aplin

Head of Urban Renewal, Crest Nicholson;

Sonny Masero

Principle Consultant, Energy for Sustainable Development, Limited

9 May 2006

Debbie Aplin introduced some other recent urban development projects that Crest Nicolson has been working on. These included: Portishead; Gloucester Docks; Bristol Harbourside; Attwood Green (Birmingham) and Ingress Park (Thames Estuary).

Overview of Planning Application

Crest Nicholson has put forward an outline planning application for the Bath Western Riverside re-development. Crest Nicolson owns part of the site, which covers 35 acres in central Bath encompassed by the Higher and Lower Bristol Roads. The site is industrial land which includes an operational gasometer – the developer hopes that this gasometer will become redundant.

The SPD area stretches from Windsor Bridge Road to Green Park covers an area of approximately 70 acres, the Eastern end of this area is being worked up by Bath City Council. Crest Nicholson are developing the western end of the site.

The development is anticipated to take between 8 and 10 years to complete and will be mainly residential ranging from 3 storey town houses to 9 storey blocks. It should be noted that the height of the current gasometer is equivalent to 12 residential storeys. There will be approximately 2,000-2,200 high density units, including a 25% provision of affordable housing, managed student accommodation, local retail and a community centre.

In addition there is the potential for a primary school, 2.5 hectares of park space along the riverside to ‘open up’ the amenity of the river with a visitors landing/mooring stage...

The site will develop its links with other Bath attractions including the city centre and Victoria Park.

The first phase detailed application of Bath Western Riverside will be delivered in July 2006 and the plan will see access from Pines Way. The Outline applies for a replacement Destructor bridge and access on to Lower Bristol road. The roads within the development will be designed for shared space and this will give priority to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. The plans will "not make it easy" for rat running, by the provision of restricted access through bus gates. Car parking provision on site will meet sustainable planning guidance targets. There will also be a bus based rapid transit scheme operating through the site from circa 2011.

As the site is adjacent to the river, flood compensation has been considered. The 1 in 100 year flood can be accommodated in the river flood plain. However PPS25 (White Paper on climate change) envisages a 20% to 30% rise in flooding levels. Therefore the developer in consultation with the Environment Agency has planned for a "volume area" to compensate for predicted increases in flood water levels.

Other components of the plans include:

Consideration of views from the site;
Habitat creation – there are currently slow worms and badgers on the site. The developer has looked to create a habitat that will encourage wildlife;
Vast tree planting;
A fitness trail through the development;
Art in the landscape; and
Strong and quality public spaces.
Local architects including Feilden Clegg Bradley and Grant Associates along with other local consultants such as Energy for Sustainable Development Limited have been used in order to improve the understanding of local issues.

Sustainability Issues

The site is located in close proximity to Bath city centre, which is ideal for promoting sustainability. The site has been planned on drivers from planning policy guidance, climate change issues and sustainable development plans. The development team are aiming to make lifestyle choices easy and to promote sustainable development on the site. Some of the plans for sustainability include:

Energy efficiency – for example biomass, combined heat and power (CHP) and solar water heating to be used on the development;
Transport efficiency – promote cycling, walking and public transport use and accessibility. There will for example be 1,200 cycle parking spaces designed into the plans;
Waste recycling – create a ‘zero waste’ strategy for waste and recycling. There is a 50% target set by Bath and North East Somerset Council for recycling by 2010;
Rainwater recycling for a number of dwellings in order to preserve water use; and
Primary school – if built, the developer will aim to make the amenity ‘carbon neutral’.