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SB18 Bath Royal United Hospital

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The Placemaking Plan policy SB18 sets out the planning policy for the Royal United Hospital (RUH) and refers to the RUH Trust’s Estate Strategy 2014. The Trust is now updating its Strategy considering the future clinical and operational needs as well as increasing staff, patient numbers, forecast population growth and associated healthcare services demands. The Strategy would also respond to two NHS targets:

  • For the emissions they control directly; reach net zero by 2040, with an ambition to reach an 80% reduction by 2028 to 2032.
  • For the emissions they can influence; reach net zero by 2045, with an ambition to reach an 80% reduction by 2036 to 2039.

The Trust has been selected for HIP2 funding under the Government’s new Hospital Infrastructure Plan. Potentially up to £450m of investment could be available subject to approval of their business case and obtaining the necessary planning approvals. The Trust has been awarded seed funding to kick-start the process to proceed to the next state of developing their hospital plans.

Since Policy SB18 was first drafted the Trust has delivered, implemented and built the key elements of their Estate Strategy (2014) including the RUH North Redevelopment. The immediate current Trust priorities are to deliver new and refurbished staff accommodation on-site as part of the wider estate renewal programme which is essential to the recruitment and retention of staff.

Policy support and recognition of this significant healthcare investment opportunity should therefore be reflected within an updated SB18 Policy.

Key opportunities and constraints

  • Providing a specific policy framework that encourages and enables the delivery of the site in accordance with the Council’s climate and ecological emergency declarations and the RUH Estate Strategy.
  • Provide the parameters of development in terms of building heights, scale and massing particularly in relationship with Grade II listed Manor House.
  • A full and detailed specification of repair works and the authentic reinstatement of missing architectural features to the Manor House should be submitted as part of the listed building application.
  • Appropriate bat surveys are required to clarify the use of all buildings to be refurbished or demolished.
  • A Transport Statement is required, and the scope of the assessment needs to be agreed in advance of a planning application. The Statement will need to include the potential impact of the accommodation on the local highway network, and the car parking levels proposed for the site as part of the wider RUH Parking Strategy.
  • An Arboricultural Impact Assessment, an Arboricultural method Statement and Tree Protection Plan are required.
  • Provide clarity on use of staff accommodation (with key worker rental agreement), potentially allowing some flexibility for open market rental accommodation. Further dialogue with the Council’s Housing Team is necessary.

Policy Options (capacity)

The Trust with their advisors are seeking to procure a funding and development partner to refurbish and rebuild on-site staff accommodation with flexibility for open market rental accommodation. There are 152 existing staff accommodation beds on site and initial design work has identified the potential redevelopment capacity for between 150-350 net additional residential units.

No detailed schemes are submitted at this stage. Therefore it is proposed to amend Policy SB18 to include overall capacity of 150 units based on an estimate at this stage (The housing trajectory already include 50 units therefore a net 100 units are accounted towards the shortfall identified above).