Plans for housing at Bath hospital sites revealed

By Susie Watkins

20th Jul 2021 | Local News

Bath City FC and Greenacre Capital's Plans for Twerton Park. Bath City FC and Greenacre Capital. Permission for use by all partners.
Bath City FC and Greenacre Capital's Plans for Twerton Park. Bath City FC and Greenacre Capital. Permission for use by all partners.

Hospital sites in Bath could be freed up to deliver 150 new homes.

Mooted changes to Bath and North East Somerset Council's Local Plan say 100 key workers could one day call the Royal United Hospital's Weston campus home.

The trust is also set to consider decked car parking to cope with increased staff and patient numbers and forecast population growth.

Over at St Martin's Hospital, three historic buildings – Kempthorne House, Midford House and Ash House – could be converted and a portakabin redeveloped to deliver 50 properties, as they are expected to be deemed surplus to requirements.

What else is proposed?

Bath Spa University is also planning a shake-up of its estate, with a new strategy focusing on its New Park and Locksbrook Road campuses that would free up Sion Hill for redevelopment.

It could provide 100 flats, with 40 per cent of them expected to be affordable, while Locksbrook is set to become a creative industry hub, giving students and the public access to studios and specialist equipment.

Proposed updates to the Local Plan would only allow purpose-built student accommodation off-campus with the backing of a university or college.

The University of Bath is concentrating growth at its Claverton campus, where it wants to build another 870 student bedrooms to address its potential long-term needs. The eastern sports pitches are being targeted as part of a "rationalisation" of the provision.

Three car parks on the campus currently offer a total of 1,630 parking spaces. One would be redeveloped with academic, research or support buildings, while a pair of multi-storey car parks offering a combined 1,700 are planned on the other two.

Bath City Football Club's plans to replace its grandstand, install a 3G pitch, build flats and 356 student beds, and regenerate Twerton High Street were rejected in March 2020.

The proposed update to the Local Plan retains the "long-standing aspiration" to enable a mixed-use redevelopment of Twerton Park and accepts that the "residential accommodation that delivers small units and therefore, higher values is needed" – but it rules out purpose-built student housing.

The club said in December that after the disappointment of its plans being rejected it had ruled out an appeal and was working with the council on a "new, smaller scale and more deliverable scheme".

The council has decided not to change the existing local policy wording that relates to the principle of the development of a stadium for Bath Rugby on Bath Recreation Ground but review it in the new Local Plan, on which work is due to begin in 2022.

The partial update to the Local Plan is due to be considered by councillors next week.

If they approve the proposals, a formal public consultation will be held from August 27 to October 8.

The final updated plan could be submitted to the Secretary of State before the end of the year for public examination. Once adopted it will form the basis for determining planning applications until the new Local Plan is adopted in 2024.

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