Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bath's Heritage at Stake

"The tendency to pass "desirable" planning applications regardless of planning policy and guidelines appears to be nationwide, so a press release has been sent to the national dailies bringing attention to the issues.!

Latest news from Bath Heritage Watchdog


A bid to use Bath's international heritage status to fight off plans for new development to the south of the city looks likely to fail.Bath and North East Somerset Council had argued that housing and business developments on the southern edge of Bath could threaten its status as a World Heritage Site.But an independent panel analysing comments on a massive blueprint for the future of the South West has rejected this argument - and has also angered council chiefs by suggesting that around 3,000 extra new homes could be built around Keynsham.It has told Communities Secretary Hazel Blears that development can be allowed to the south of Bath, and that the "critical area" intended to be protected by the rare WHC status was "the compact city set in the hollow in the hills".The panel concludes: "We consider that there is some scope for development that would not threaten the special character of the city. Bath is a living city and needs to be planned accordingly. We conclude that consideration should be given to the provision of employment land on the southern edge of Bath."The panel was commenting on the South West Regional Assembly's Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) document, which looks at the way the housing and employment needs of the region can be accommodated in the next 20 years.The panel says the RSS's estimate of the number of jobs that can be created in Bath is higher than the 8,500 suggested by B &NES Council.It adds: "We are not convinced that development on the southern edge of the city adjoining normal suburban development threatens the integrity of the historic, high density city within the hollow in the hills."It also says that just because land is in the official Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty zone around Bath, this should not mean it cannot be developed. The search is on for sites to the south of the city to accommodate 1,500 new homes.People in Keynsham have pledged to fight any suggestion of development that might weaken the green belt that separates Bristol and Bath.But the panel says 3,000 new homes can be accommodated in and around the town and says these can be built without blurring the distinction between the two cities.The panel also calls for better rail services between Bath and Wiltshire and says the need for action to protect Bath from the effects of through traffic must be kept under review.B &NES Council cabinet member in charge of planning Cllr Charles Gerrish (Con, Keynsham North) said he was "shocked and disappointed" at the recommendation for the town he represents.He said the council would "make the strongest possible representations" on the issue.If the panel's suggestion is taken up, the number of new homes to be built in B &NES over the next 20 years would rise from an original suggestion of 15,500 to 18,800.The panel also rejected a suggestion that the green belt should be extended in the Midsomer Norton and Radstock area.Last year, the draft RSS was examined by an independent panel appointed by Ms Blears, who invited more than 200 organisations and individuals to take part in public hearings held in Exeter.Following the publication of the RSS last week, the next stage will see the minister consider the report along with the representations which were previously submitted.Her proposed changes are expected in the spring, which will be followed by a 12-week period of consultation on any suggested amendments.The panel report can be downloaded from the website ....the rest of the article can be found at the following link...

The 'bowl of Bath City' seen from the West

Taken from Kelston Hill

Looking towards Bitton

Looking towards Keynsham and Bristol

Document as to redevelopment of 1500 houses. area of Urban extension to Bath. The Cotswold outstanding Natural Beauty

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