Latest News

Hello from Lisa

Welcome to Latest News from the Development Directorate. 

It has been a busy first few months of the year for the teams so far.  In Planning Policy particularly work has continued on the Draft Joint Spatial Plan and the proposed new Article 4 Direction.  The team have also been successful in bidding for grant from the Government’s Planning Delivery Fund for additional design resources.  The WaterSpace project and Bathscape team have both continued to be busy implementing environmental improvement projects and a range of activities around the district.
We have also seen two excellent examples of collaborative working between Conservation Officers, community groups and many others which has resulted in the original and pioneering Keynsham Shop Front and Façade Study and the reopening of the Packhorse Inn.

Lisa Bartlett
Divisional Director - Development

Development Team pre-application advice changes 3 April 2018

Development Team pre-application advice has been popular with developers of large and controversial sites for many years now.  It provides an opportunity to present schemes to all the B&NES officers involved with a comprehensive report delivered shortly after.  Feedback has been very good.  A recent review of the this discretionary service has resulted in a number of improvements:
• Shorter timescales possible between submission and meeting
• Longer meeting to present proposals with more officers at the meeting
• No additional charges; a follow up meeting is included in the fee
• Fairer fee for the excellent service provided based on site area with a supplement for 4 or more floors
For more information on Development Team see webpage

West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP)

The Draft JSP was published for consultation in November 2017 and around 2000 respondents have commented.  The Draft Plan, all responses along with all supporting documents will be submitted to the Secretary of State for examination at the end of March by an independent Planning Inspector.  It is anticipated the Hearings will start during Autumn 2018 and the JSP adopted by the end of the year.  To keep up to date with progress on the JSP, visit

New Local Plan 2016 - 2036

It is now proposed that the two periods of informal public engagement, previously proposed for Spring 2018 and Summer 2018, are combined into one consultation exercise in the Summer to address the comprehensive range of Local Plan issues.  This will help avoid the potential confusion caused by more than one consultation exercise each on different parts of the Plan.  It will also align with consultation on transport infrastructure route options associated with the Strategic Development Locations at North Keynsham and Whitchurch.  However, this programme is related to and contingent upon progress of the JSP through its Examination.

New Article 4 Direction (Office to Residential)

The Council made an Article 4 Direction on the 25 January 2018 to withdraw permitted development rights for the Change of Use from Office (Class B1) to Residential uses (Class C3) in parts of central Bath.  This decision will be subject to a 6 week consultation and the results will be considered before it is decided to confirm, amend or abandon the Direction. If the Direction is confirmed it will become effective on 9 March 2019.  The proposed boundary of the Article 4 Direction is shown on the map below.

Proposed boundary Central Bath Article 4 Direction

Successful application to the Government’s Planning Delivery Fund

Bath & North East Somerset Council have successfully bid for a Government grant of £310,000, covering 2017/18 and 2018/19, focusing on Design Quality.  The bid was one of only 68 successful projects, out of a total of 383 applications nation-wide.

The Government’s Planning Delivery Fund is intended to support authorities in areas of high housing need to plan for new homes and infrastructure, equipping them with the requisite resources to deliver the agenda set out in the housing white paper and the Autumn Budget.

As part of the West of England Joint Spatial Plan, two Strategic Development Locations (SDL’s) have been identified within B&NES at Whitchurch and North Keynsham that will deliver in excess of 4,000 new homes that will contribute to the national priority of delivering new housing.

The Planning Delivery Fund grant will help the Council to achieve a step change in design quality at the two SDL’s, securing well-designed and attractive places to live, and enable the local communities to have a greater say over the design.   

The funding will allow the Council to devise a comprehensive stakeholder engagement strategy and programme, allowing local communities to influence the design of development at an early stage of the process. The funding will also allow for further masterplanning to take place, building on what has already been achieved, which will be subject to independent, impartial review by a Design Review Panel of multidisciplinary built environment experts. The two sites will then in due course be allocated as development sites in the new Local Plan.   

Further information on the announcement of the funding is here:

Keynsham Conservation Area: Shop Front and Façade Study - Design and Conservation Guidance

Keynsham Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan were completed and formally adopted by the Council in February 2016. The Management Plan identified and proposed enhancements to improve the public realm and one of those was shopfront and front façade improvement and enhancement in the commercial area in the centre of Keynsham: High Street and Temple Street. As part of other overarching, strategic Council proposed public realm enhancements to the centre of Keynsham this was identified as being a complementary piece of work.

Historic England, Keynsham Town Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council jointed funded project entailed a detailed condition survey and audit of over 60 historic buildings located in High Street and Temple Street. The survey comprised:
• Historic Development: detailing each building’s changes over time, augmented by archive photographs
• Designation: identifying its status i.e. designated or undesignated and where it is located in the Conservation Area
• Integrity and Condition: an assessment of the condition of the building including the shopfront, signage, windows etc
• Actions: essential works for enhancement and improvement

The Actions element of the survey is seen as critical to this piece of work and typically these include replacement of plastic windows with appropriately detailed timber windows, removal of redundant services including wiring or more discreetly located, faithful reinstatement of lost architectural features and detailing, use of more appropriate paint colours, removal and replacement of inappropriate modern signage with traditional signage and, in some cases, the entire replacement of appropriately detailed, traditional shopfronts.

The survey is accompanied by over-arching, general design and conservation guidance that includes advice on appropriate paint colours, signage and design approach to the adaption or replacement of shopfronts.

This work has been designed as a three-part process with each subsequent stage informing the other:
1. Survey and guidance
2. Detailed design
3. Implementation

Key to the success of this project has and will continue to be collaborative involvement between the Council, Historic England and the community including the Town Council, Chamber of Commerce, amenity groups, landlords and retailers.

The survey and guidance are also useful as a development management tool when assessing development in this part of Keynsham.

The methodology and approach to producing the survey and guidance are seen as being original and pioneering and not only can this be replicated in other towns in Bath and North East Somerset but Historic England will also seek to promote and encourage other local authorities around the country to adopt the same approach.

WaterSpace Project

It has been a busy few months:

• We have appointed Landscape Architecture and Urban Design Consultancy Chris Blandford Associates Studios to work on our River Avon Park Management Plan
• We have organised a big community litter pick by boat and on foot as part of the Great British Spring Clean 2018
• We have raised 50% of the funding needed to buy a community workboat, and we are awaiting news on a grant application which would enable us to buy a boat for our local waterways team at the Canal and River Trust
• We have been implementing improvements to Kensington Meadows riverside path and angling swims in Bath
• We have received approval for the Saltford Mooring trial to be extended another 12 months

Over the last year the WaterSpace project has secured over £61,000 of external grants for environmental projects such as £5k to support access and angling improvements at Kensington Meadows in Bath.

Bath Quays Waterside is now open, check out our animation which explains how it works as a park and city flood defence:

Follow us on twitter at @waterspacebath

Bathscape Landscape Partnership

The Bathscape team is working hard to develop the projects for the Bathscape Scheme.  It will comprise a number of projects aimed at conserving and restoring the green setting of the World Heritage Site – the natural landscape that surrounds the City.

A successful Round 2 submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund later in 2018 will secure funding for a programme of activities encouraging people to access and care for the countryside.

The second Bathscape Walking Festival will take place between 15th and 23rd September 2018. The programme is being developed, and you’ll find details of how to book on the website, when bookings open later in the year.  If you’re interested in volunteering or leading a walk, please get in touch.

You can follow us on twitter @bathscape

The Packhorse Inn

The Packhorse Inn in South Stoke became a public house in the 1840s having previously been a farmhouse dating from the C17.  It operated as a public house until 2015 when it closed its doors and was put on the market. It was purchased with a view to changing the use to residential. However, significant interest was expressed by the local community to retaining it as a pub and it was purchased as a community pub following a campaign to raise the funds required to restore the building and refurbish it to provide improved facilities including a kitchen extension.

The Council has worked closely with the director and community involved in the project. Pre-application assistance was sought and, in particular, a location agreed for the new modern kitchen extension so that it would not harm the fabric of the building including notable historic architectural features.  An extension using appropriate, contextual materials was agreed to be the best way forward.  This has enabled utilising the cellar as part of the kitchen facilities,  the provision of modern kitchen facilities required to successfully operate a public house and the historic building to be conserved, restored and for its presentation to be improved.

Other positive heritage outcomes have been the repair of an original C17 ornamental fire surround located on the ground floor, the reinstatement of traditional materials including lath and lime plaster, elm floor boards and the removal of modern paint from surviving C17 plank and ledge external front and rear doors.

We are pleased that we have been able to work with the community partnership to achieve positive outcomes including social, economic and heritage. The pub will hopefully be reopening in mid-March 2018.

Fond Farewells

Rachel Tadman - Senior Planning Officer

New Faces

Emily Smithers - Planning Officer

Last updated: March 2018

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