Please enable JavaScript in your browser to use this page.

Policy SB8: Bath Riverside

View Policy SB8: Bath Riverside on a map


Bath Riverside, on land formally occupied by Stothert & Pitt – ‘Cranemakers to the World’ and various railway lines and associated infrastructure, has been transformed over the past ten years. The first phase of development on the main site has delivered over 800 new dwellings, provided new and refurbished bridges and enhanced public realm and open spaces.

The second phase of development on the main site is due to be delivered over the next ten year period. To facilitate and enable this development and to ensure that it better reflects the Council’s priorities with regards to the climate and ecological emergency, it is proposed to replace the adopted Site Allocation Policy SB8 with an up to date planning policy framework that will help to facilitate the appropriate development of this site, providing clarity and certainly on the development requirements and design expectations to help shape this next major phase of regeneration.

There is also a potential opportunity to update the supporting policy framework such as the current Bath Western Riverside Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and Masterplan (2008) that applies to this area. How this could be taken forward is to be resolved but given the limited resources available to the Council, one option is that the lead developer team for the next phase could commission the update of the supporting policy framework, informed by a detailed site and contextual analysis., Such work would need to be undertaken in close collaboration with the LPA and the community and any update to the SPD would need to be adopted by the LPA after going though all statutory public consultation requirements.

Key opportunities and constraints

1. A key priority and opportunity for this site is the delivery of a mix of high quality homes that contribute to vibrant and healthy communities, and which support and are aligned with the economic growth aspirations of the city. The number of homes that are required as part of the development will be informed by the site and contextual analysis that needs to be undertaken.

2. This next phase of Bath Riverside must continue to evolve the innovations introduced in the first phase, such as district heating, and deliver an exemplary development with regards to reductions in embodied energy and in carbon emissions, as well as delivering on renewable energy.

3. That the recently declared ecological emergency must be a core consideration in the formulation of development proposals. As an example, this is likely to require a biodiversity led approach towards the treatment of the riverside edge. The arrangement of streets and open spaces could enable the planting of large species trees.

4. To transform opportunities for walking and cycling, this phase of the development must be designed around the delivery of the existing safeguarded sustainable transport route that runs through the site. This safeguarded route will connect to the Two Tunnels route (through Roseberry Place) and align with the reopening of the dis-used railway bridge over the river See green hatched line on the map.

View the sustainable transport route on a map

5. Delivery of social infrastructure as appropriate, such as the new one form entry primary school, early years provision, and community infrastructure.

6. Development proposals will need to be informed by a comprehensive understanding and full appreciation of the sensitive context in which this area sits. Height, scale and massing, roofscape design and treatment, materials, the relationships between buildings, streets and open spaces are all critically important issues within the context of the World Heritage Site.

Policy Options (capacity)

1. In line with the scope of the existing Site Allocation and SPD, any updates to the policy framework will need to ensure that the delivery of the site is comprehensive. This will require collaboration with adjacent landowners to agree key principles, and for an overall masterplan to be approved as part of an outline planning application which covers the entirety of the site.

2. The provision of open spaces for recreational purposes needs to be responsive to the existing provision within the wider area. The existing requirements in Policy SB8 from the Placemaking Plan requires ‘public access to and alongside the riverside’. It is recognised that there is a potential conflict here between providing public access and providing ecological mitigation and enhancement along the river edge. In recognition of the Council’s recent ecological emergency declaration, it is proposed that the policy should require development to be set back from the riverside edge to enable habitat creation and dark corridors and only allowing public access, where this doesn’t compromise the biodiversity habitats.

3. Development in this location will need to deliver affordable housing in accordance with the adopted policy. In relation to market housing there are a number of options in relation to requiring a mix and range of residential sizes, and typologies. Options include:

  • i) Specifying the numbers or percentage of 1, 2 or 3 bed properties
  • ii) Defining the split between flats and houses on the site
  • iii) Being clear that Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) is not appropriate on this site given the strategy of prioritising general housing delivery.
  • iv) Subject to supporting evidence specifying a limit on the proportion of Build to Rent (BTR) that may be proposed.

4. The overall dwelling capacity of the site will be increased to around 1,750. (Currently 928 homes are assumed to be delivered during the plan period, this will increase by 340 to around 1,270 homes. Around a further 480 homes are anticipated to be delivered beyond the plan period)

5. Given its highly sustainable location and as long as any potential adverse impacts on adjacent/nearby areas are addressed, there is an option of significantly reducing the level of car parking that is required to be provided on the site. To do so, access by sustainable modes of transport will need to be significantly improved and prioritised.

6. The site on the junction of Windsor Bridge Road and the Upper Bristol Road has been unused for a considerable period of time. There have been attempts by the landowner to secure planning permission for the redevelopment of the site, particularly for student housing, but these have not proved successful. Whilst the Council is supportive of the principle of development coming forward on this site, it will only be acceptable where it complies with the adopted policy framework and delivers a high quality development that responds to the site and its wider context.

7. It is proposed that the update to Policy SB8 will include the following:

  • i) a specific policy reference to the delivery of the site in accordance with the Council’s climate and ecological emergency declarations.
  • ii) a clear route network and the connections to the surrounding context, including into the proposed redevelopment of the waste site.
  • iii) specification of the appropriate land use mix for the development and how particular uses need to relate to surrounding streets such as to Windsor Bridge Road and the Upper Bristol Road. This will align with the Council’s policy approach of not allowing student housing on this site.
  • iv) clarification on the parameters of development in terms of building heights, scale and massing.