Mixed use scheme judged discordant addition to historic city

Two alternative schemes involving mixed use development in a Bath suburb were judged by an inspector to be overly harmful to the character and appearance of the area and would adversely affect the setting of a listed church.

Both proposals involved the construction of student accommodation together with Class B1 and B8 commercial units, a fitness centre and coffee shop. The first proposal involved buildings up to 16 metres in height, the inspector noted, with approximately 60 per cent of the 0.34ha site being occupied by their footprint. The scale of the buildings would sit awkwardly against rows of terrace houses opposite and be unduly tall, its height and mass overwhelming. It would also block views across the city. While the second scheme involved a less intense form of development one elevation would appear unduly intrusive and dominant.

Allied to these concerns was the potential adverse impact on the setting of a grade II* listed church. While this would be less than substantial in extent the inspector nonetheless placed significant weight on this impact. This harm would not be outweighed by the benefits of increasing the supply of student accommodation and redeveloping a brownfield site.

Inspector: Neil Pope; Hearing

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