Planning Applications Reference:18/02499/FUL

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Type of Application:Full Application
Status:Pending Consideration
Address of Proposal:32 - 33 Victoria Buildings, Westmoreland, Bath, BA2 3EH
Proposal:Provision of new skittle alley, a new community room, provision of new accessible toilets, refurbishment of the public house and the provision of 10no studio apartments at the Belvoir Castle Bath.
Planning Portal Reference Number:PP-07033152
Applicant Name:Rengen Development Limited
Agent Name:Mr John White
Agent Address:Studio 160, 3 Edgar Buildings, George Street, Bath, BA1 2FJ, United Kingdom
Case Officer Name:Tessa Hampden
Date Application Received:07/06/2018
Date Application Validated:07/06/2018
Neighbourhood Consultations sent on:08/06/2018
Standard Consultations sent on:27/06/2018
Last advertised on:14/06/2018
Latest Site Notice posted on:02/07/2018
Expiry Date for Consultation :23/07/2018
Target Decision Date06/09/2018


ConstraintsAgric Land Class 3b,4,5, Air Quality Management Area, Article 4 HMO, District Heating Priority Area, Flood Zone 2, Flood Zone 3, HMO Stage 1 Test Area (Stage 2 Test Req), Listed Building, MOD Safeguarded Areas, Policy B1 Bath Enterprise Zone, Policy B4 WHS - Boundary, Policy B4 WHS - Indicative Extent, Policy CP9 Affordable Housing Zones, Policy NE5 Ecological Networks, SSSI - Impact Risk Zones
Related Property:32 Victoria Buildings,Westmoreland,Bath,BA2 3EH.
Related Property:Belvoir Castle,32 Victoria Buildings,Westmoreland,Bath,BA2 3EH.
Reference Proposal Application Received Status
08/00732/FUL .Change of use from public house (use class A4) to 3no. residential units (use class C3)22/02/2008Application Withdrawn
08/00735/LBA .Internal and external alterations to include creation of three residential units at the Belvoir Castle Public House22/02/2008Application Withdrawn
09/02699/LBA .Alterations including new signage, proposed lantern, clock, repainting elevations and new casement window23/07/2009Consent
18/02499/FUL .Provision of new skittle alley, a new community room, provision of new accessible toilets, refurbishment of the public house and the provision of 10no studio apartments at the Belvoir Castle Bath.07/06/2018Pending Consideration
18/02500/LBA .Provision of new skittle alley, a new community room, provision of new accessible toilets, refurbishment of the public house and the provision of 10no studio apartments at the Belvior Castle Bath.07/06/2018Pending Consideration

The Comments tab lists all public comments received on this application (not statutory consultees, e.g. The Environment Agency, Highways DC, etc). The majority of comments are submitted via our Comments Form through the website and you can expand the comment to view all of the text by clicking on the plus button. A minority of comments are submitted by post or email and it is not possible to include all the text here, however when you expand the comment you will see a link to our Associated Documents page where you can search for the comment.

Name Address Comment type Comment1 Comment2 Comment3 Date
Andrea Robinson 8 St Peter's Place, Lower Bristol Road, Westmoreland, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA2 3EP O 05/07/2018: As a local resident I applaud the owners of the Belvoir Castle for attempting to improve the site, particularly the community facilities.

However, I am very concerned regarding the complete absence of parking provision for the proposed residential development. The local streets are already overcrowded with parked cars, and this situation can only get worse when the council’s proposed Clean Air charging zone is introduced, as the application site is right at the boundary of it.

The applicant’s agent has attempted to justify the lack of parking provision via the use of an Accessibility Assessment. It is claimed that the Assessment gives the site a value of 62, which, according to B&NES' Parking Strategy, allows the possibility of a 50% or greater reduction to the normally-required amount of parking provision. In this case, the agent is claiming a 100% reduction is justified.

However, there are a number of errors on the Assessment, as outlined below. After correcting the scores accordingly, the Assessment confirms the site as having a value of 56 (not 62 as claimed by the applicant), and therefore the maximum reduction to onsite parking allowed by B&NES' Parking Strategy would be 25–50%.

Accessibility Assessment errors

Criteria 4 “Quality of nearest bus stop”...
Applicant states that the nearest bus stop has “shelter, seating and flag” and therefore qualifies for a “good” rating of 2 points.
Correction: The nearest bus stop is at the east end of St Peter’s Terrace and has neither shelter nor seating. This stop therefore qualifies for a “poor” rating of zero according to the Accessibility Assessment.
(deduct 2 points)

Criteria 6 “Walking distance to nearest railway station”...
Applicant states that Oldfield Park station is less than 400 metres from the site and accordingly awards itself 5 points.
Correction: The closest entrance to Oldfield Park station (i.e., the eastbound platform entrance) is 482 metres from the Belvoir Castle (this does not include the distance down the ramp to reach the platform). This score should accordingly be 3.
(deduct 2 points)

Criteria 8 “Quality of nearest railway station”...
Applicant states that the nearest railway station (Oldfield Park) has “toilets”, “some retail facilities” and a “taxi rank” and therefore qualifies for a “moderate” score of 1.
Correction: In fact the station has none of these facilities and should be rated “poor” (0 points).
(deduct 1 point)

Criteria 15 “Quality of pedestrian facilities”...
Applicant states that the footpath outside the proposed development “is at least 1.5 metres wide” and therefore the application should receive a “good” score of 3 points.
Correction: In fact the footpath here is just 1.14 metres wide, so this score should accordingly be downgraded to “moderate” (2 points).
(deduct 1 point)

Total deductions = 6 points
Correct score = 62–6 = 56 points

A so-called “car free” development would be a disaster at this site and has not been justified.
Bath Preservation Trust Bath Preservation Trust , 1 Royal Crescent, City Centre, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA1 2LR O 05/07/2018: Object: The Trust objected to the previous iteration of this application, registered under a different address, and we would request that the property history for this site includes the previous withdrawn application so that a proper record of application history is noted. We also understand that heritage assessment has not been amended in light of the additional information discovered by BHW.
Despite the design changes which go some way to a more contextually comfortable scheme, there is little to change our opinion that this scheme is harmful to the listed pub and adjacent heritage assets at Park View. Though we are not viability experts, we continue to be sceptical of the justification given by the applicant that the addition of TEN studio apartments is needed to essentially keep this well-placed pub as financially viable and to provide a community room. In our view this is overdevelopment on a significant scale, without regard for the setting of heritage assets and also harmful to the special historic and communal interest of the public house; which has been in operation for well over 100 years. The loss of both the amenity of the garden and the skittle alley, both of which contribute to the pub offering, should be weighed against the benefits of the development itself, of which we can see little besides developer financial gain, especially in that it does look likely that these units will either be holiday lets or student studios, given the compromised open living space. The community room could be achieved without this level of development occurring on the site, in fact the skittle alley itself is an ideal candidate for this space.
We refute the claim that the overdevelopment in terms of height and massing can be justified due to the nature of the nearby BWR townscape. The immediate area of this scheme is the most important element to focus on, namely Victoria Buildings and Park View. The proposed scheme, regardless of its nominal separation to the primary listed building, is too high and of a massing that dominates the surrounding heritage assets, it is not subservient in any way but instead is an oppressive and discordant element that sits high and wide on the site, piggy backing a heritage asset, obliterating any sense of the historic group (pub, skittle alley, beer garden) and further reducing the ability of the pub to offer space and outside amenity in an already built up area. A high level of harm is also caused to the setting, views and outlook of Park View and we are very concerned by this. The use of a dockside design idiom is also out of place. In our view, the character of the emerging urban townscape in this area provides much justification for NOT developing this pub site, as to retain the openness, human scale and sense of place of this historic site ensures that a welcome breathing space remains in a heavily developed urban landscape.
We are not in principle opposed to some form of residential development on this site, but in our view it should be much reduced in scale, height and amount, it should seek to retain and respect the special historic and communal interest of the historic skittle alley and the setting of both the pub and Park View; ideally a more spacious pub garden should be retained to ensure the pub can service the needs of its clients.
In short, we see little in this revised application which overcomes our previous concerns regarding the overdevelopment of this historic site and the apparent lack of reference or respect for the setting of heritage assets. Arguably the scale of harm to the setting of Park View and the historic skittle alley could be substantial. The proposed scheme by virtue of its design, height and massing would be harmful to designated heritage assets and their setting, would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area, would be detrimental to the visual amenity of the street scene and would detract from the special qualities of the WHS. The scheme would be contrary to Section 12 (Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment) of the NPPF, policies B1, B4, and CP6 of the B&NES Core Strategy and policies CP6, D.1, D.2, D.5, D.7, HE1 of the Placemaking Plan. We would therefore recommend the application be withdrawn or refused.
Carol England 2 Worcester Park, Larkhall, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA1 6QU R 13/07/2018: I am totally against the plan to build these apartments. They would tower over the back of my garden at 5 Park View. Far too close to the rest of my property. They would block the light, on my Primary Amenity. The front garden at the Western side of my house has already been spoilt , since Crest Nicholson were allowed to demolish the railway embankment at the rear of the terrace.
Three, five and six Park View were bought by Christopher Hill, over forty years ago, to save the terrace from being demolished. What an appalling thought that this pretty terrace of houses were going to be pulled down. Mr Hill went on to do a lot for the preservation of these houses, including repairing and restoring the Anderson shelter in the garden of number three. I sincerely hope that the thoughts and facts outlined will be taken into consideration by the planners in due course. Carol England
Malcolm Lippiatt Greystones, Ashton Hill, Corston, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA2 9AR S 13/07/2018: Excellent scheme. Retains the important local social asset of the public house, meeting facilities and skittle alley and provides much needed affordable accommodation in a highly sustainable location. The existing building is a total eyesore and something has to be done with it before it falls down. The proposal would bring it into line with its new surroundings and compliment both the listed buildings to the Lower Bristol Road frontage and the new developments springing up in this part of our City. When you look at several current developments being constructed nearby this proposal really looks good and has great merit. I would urge the planning authority to approve the scheme. 13/07/2018
James Lee The Old Schoolroom, Denmark Road, Twerton, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA2 3RE O 18/06/2018: too many units,on the limited site.No provision of parking spaces.Students do have cars these days! 18/06/2018
Edward Tyler Flat 3, 26 The Paragon, Walcot, Bath, BA1 5LY, S 19/07/2018: I take issue with the assumption that a line on a photograph of the skittle alley is "evidence" of there being a tide mark/flood damage. The line is not level with the dado rail. The line is caused by a build up of paint around what used to be a shoot to return balls from the end of the skittle alley. The line goes downwards, and therefore does not reflect lying water.

I also have to challenge the inference that the current Landlords have deliberately neglected the Belvoir Castle. I was there when Steve and Claire took on the pub (5 years ago) and every effort was made to look after the property. The comment that previous Landlords achieved profitability does not take into account that Pubs were much busier historically, and its viability came through opening at antisocial times, and being very noisy. The love which needs to be put back into the Belvoir Castle, is not through any sort of negligence over the last 5 years, but will have come through decades of previous Landlords choosing profitability over reinvesting back into the Pub's fabric. Steve and Claire are actively trying to do this so to preserve the Belvoir Castle's character and historical context. If the Pub does not survive then neither will the skittle alley, and I consider it a slur to suggest that Steve's and Claire's keenness to provide a community room is not about provision for the local community. People may not like the plans but there is no need to get personal.

I also have to take issue with negative tones towards students. I can categorically say that Bath Students contribute extensively to the local community. Yes, they may come and go but no more or less than those who have come to Bath from overseas to work in our restaurants, bars and hospitals. They all contribute extensively to the local economy and its culture. If anyone would prefer to avoid such "transience", then they should live in towns or cities without Universities, and without the prosperity they bring.

Fair play to what Steve and Claire are trying to achieve with the Belvoir Castle. Anyone less scrupulous would have gone for a change of use for the site as a first choice, rather than a means of last resort, and if the Belvoir Castle has to close - and instead, for example, becomes a residence - then the skittle alley's significance and listing will go with it also. The current Landlords are bending over backwards to undertake the difficult task of trying to please everyone, so to preserve the Belvoir Castle's future, and I sincerely hope that a project is approved of which is able to be the most positive outcome for all interested parties.
Louise Betts 29 Denmark Road, Twerton, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA2 3RE O Documents Tab 05/07/2018
Georgie Strube 61 Abinton Avenue, NN1 4PB O 29/06/2018: It frustrating and stressful to find that we are having to fight this application again. I have already put my objection in the previous application so it seems a bit pointless having to write it out all over again (I'll apologise in advance for the repetition) but some of it is included underneath.

Dear reader, this isn't about a bunch of residents spoilt for their incredible views, light and space; we lost those things many moons ago. I used to own a little house 'tucked away' down an alley. I used to turn off the busy road and walk down towards a quiet bank of green. It really was a little hideaway/haven. That's already all gone. We don't have views, our gardens are small, the rear east ones smaller. Our privacy at the front has been lost: the green bank with trees and birds is now a car park with huge buildings beyond. Now we are having to defend our only area of privacy at the back of the houses. For those that don't know the area, come and see our situation: a path runs the full length of the houses at the front and obviously offers no privacy whatsoever. You can perhaps imagine why we don't want to lose what little privacy and 'feeling' of space, we have at the back.

I mention feelings because they are important. Our physical and mental health is affected by our feelings. Our gardens at the back are small but offer some degree of privacy and somewhere to relax with friends if you don't feel like engaging with the neighbours etc at the front. We will lose this if the development is allowed to proceed. We will lose that feeling of space and privacy. How hemmed in must we be? I'm baffled why anyone thinks that's this proposal is a good one and that we won't mind simply because they think our back (east) gardens are secondary use. They are not. I don't want to lose the sky we currently see and the space we currently feel. I don't want to lose the wall that separates our boundary- the current fencing is not being maintained. This is not about provision for the local community, it is simply about profit. If there was any consideration about the community the pub and skittle alley would have been maintained - why is it in such a state of disrepair? It seems to have been deliberately neglected. The skittle alley has a wonderful history and was a very popular when I was living at park view. The pub doesn't need a new skittle alley - fix the old one - retaining the character and history of the building.

One other concern I have is the effect of 10 studios sold to individual young people and how that will affect our community. At one point 3 of the 6 houses in park view were rented out to students. It was a transient place at the time, with students coming and going and not interested or having the time/longevity in contributing to their local community. I'm concerned that feeling may be the same for the young people living smack bang up against our back garden walls and how that will affect us.

Some of my previous statement below.
Both gardens are primary amenity space if you are are resident in Park View. When my daughter was little the East garden was the primary outdoor space used daily in the summer as it was a safe, enclosed area for my daughter to play. Furthermore, one particular feature which seems to have been overlooked is that we get the afternoon sun in the back garden - a feature that will be quashed with the increase in height of this building.

The East gardens are not ‘much larger’ - they’re bigger but have a communal path running along the front of all our houses so are not private or attached to the house. When guests come to the house we sit in the back gardens as these are private and at the moment not overlooked! If we have a party/barbecue etc we do this in the back (west) garden so they are certainly not as suggested by the pub as ‘secondary’ rather unused areas that require less light!

If there was consideration for the community there would at least have been a mix of accommodation. It is suggested that these studios are going to be sold to first time buyers? Where are they gong to park? When the development went ahead for the Wester R. D. we negotiated parking for all residents of park view and victoria buildings - we were desperate for somewhere to park! Despite the proposed site being described as highly sustainable it should be noted that I the 2011 census data is obviously approaching 7 yrs out of date. There used to be parking for the public by Twerton Infants School but this was altered to timed use a few years ago as the parking became an issue for the school: commuters were using the spaces, there was no room for parents to pick up and drop off children. This is a very busy area so it is something that I feel should be looked at in a little more detail. Access should also be considered - it’s all double yellow lines in that area so no stopping or parking short term outside their studio which I’m sure they will need to do.

The distance to redbridge is 5 m. But that doesn’t mean it is 5 m from us. It is considerably further away and therefore much less imposing but Yes Redbridge does take light away from our gardens (we can’t enjoy a sunset because of this building) and now we have a new building proposed that will affect our afternoon light for sure. The newly proposed building is much closer therefore increasing the depth of shadow from the buildings but according to developers that doesn’t matter as our back gardens are secondary - this is incorrect.

It would be great if the pub simply updated its current facilities but to turn it into a housing complex as well is I feel totally innapropriate for this particular site. The location is not good and clearly the development will have a very negative physical and psychological affect on the current residents of Park View.

T Cartwright 6 Park View, Lower Bristol Road, Westmoreland, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA2 3EJ O 09/07/2018: My house which has windows that face to the north, is at the end of the Park View terrace next to the Riverside apartments currently being built by Crest. When this development is finished it will considerably affect our house which means that if this new proposal Belvoir Castle is passed there will be an increase in the general noise and disruption levels that we are already living with . However, my main objection to this application is that it is going to massively encroach and impact on my house and primary amenity which is my rear garden. This will remove any sense of space around the house, reduce the light in the house and garden as well as spoil the air space of my property. The proposed buildings are so high compared to our small home and will have an adverse effect upon the residential amenity of our property. The proposed development would be facing my rear garden which is definitely my primary and only private space due to the fact that my front garden is open to being overlooked by Park View, Victoria Buildings and Riverside properties as well as being separated from my house by a public footpath leading to Lower Bristol Road. To conclude I believe that the size and shape of the proposed buildings will completely over shadow Park View houses which is totally unacceptable and will ruin one of the oldest residences in the area. 09/07/2018
Susan Walker 4 Park View, Lower Bristol Road, Westmoreland, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA2 3EJ O 17/07/2018: I remain STRONGLY OPPOSED to the proposed development described in this application. This is a resubmission of an application originally put forward in September 2017 but withdrawn by the applicant. The proposed Scheme is STILL not the correct one for meeting the stated aims of “saving the pub” and of providing a disabled accessible community space within the Westmoreland Ward.

One of the key factors in creating a community space with 21st century facilities is in the provision of sufficient WCs including wheelchair accessible ones. But the proposal actually would DECREASE the amount of toilets available to the pub’s customers and community groups attending meetings and other functions! The existing skittle alley ALREADY is wheelchair accessible via the side entrance on Midland Road. Putting additional (and accessible) WC facilities in the outbuilding as part of a general refurbishment of the space would benefit the community groups that use the meeting room AND the teams that use the skittle alley. These improved facilities might also encourage more teams to use the skittle alley, since the game continues to be a popular past-time in the City. (Alternatively, WCs could be sited in a small extension to the outbuilding at its northern end near the boundary wall.)

Bath Heritage Watchdog in its 2018 Objection Comment continues to be concerned about a “Trojan Horse” development, particularly in the absence of clarity as to whether the building owners or the developers made the initial approach for this scheme. I, too, am aware of this possibility but am also very conscious of the fact that the pub business is currently being marketed for sale (and has been since the planning application was first presented in September 2017).

The human scale of the historic site encompasses the pub and its outbuildings as well as the houses of the artisans who might once have been “regulars” at the pub. Bath Heritage Watchdog has mentioned Joseph Sparks who took over the pub in 1862 and definitely brewed his own ale. The deeds to my house include mention of someone associated with Park View who worked as a brewer (and, maybe, worked with Sparks?). This is the sort of detail that constructive interaction with neighbours could elicit, building on the history and heritage of the Belvoir Castle and its environs – and a possible marketing tool for the future.

Currently, this plot within the Conservation Area remains an OASIS within the frenetic building work proceeding apace to the south (Bath Press site) and to the north (Bath Riverside, in particular the B40 apartments immediately adjacent to the pub and the Park View terrace). The surrounding areas along the Lower and Upper Bristol Roads have a myriad of new developments (agreed and planned) that will provide HUGE NUMBERS of homes and business spaces for the growing population. Do we really need a mere 10 additional (student) apartments if that means the loss of unique historical detail?

As a resident of Park View, I am particularly concerned about the lasting effect on this small corner of the Conservation Area should planning permission be granted. I would like to remind everyone of what has happened to the area immediately adjacent to this proposed scheme. Permission granted to Crest Nicholson has resulted in the removal of the railway embankment, destroying any sense of the cosiness and seclusion enjoyed by former generations of the residents of Victoria Buildings and Park View. After being granted permission to continue the row of townhouses along Stothert Avenue, Crest had “second thoughts” and the result is the B40 apartments (currently being constructed). These apartments will not only take up the remainder of the south side of Stothert Avenue but also continue down Midland Road to within a very short distance of the boundary with the pub and Park View. A reminder of how the northern end of the plot used to look in 2009 may be had by looking at some images in the “Bath Pubs and Bars” archive. [See which shows a view of the skittle alley along Midland Road when the railway embankment was still in place.]

Like in September 2017, I have detailed comments that I wish to make about the application. My Supporting Statement (SDW SS4) details how the applicant repeats their perverse interpretation of primary amenity (an obviously crucial part of their case in seeking to justify building so close to the rear of Park View). In addition, the applicant continues to rely on outdated information in several of the reports submitted since they have not updated the Heritage Statement or the Ecological Assessment Report.

The short term cost of funding the community amenities in the pub is intended to be covered by the residential aspect of this proposal, but the revamped scheme is no better than the first suggestion made in September 2017. The long term cost would be paid FOREVER by the residents of Park View (who would see the charm of their homes removed) and by the wider community in Bath (through loss of an important historical site which provides valuable reminders of the area in the past). That’s not a fair quid pro quo, and far too high a price for the residents of Park View to be expected to pay for their local community.
Gavin Hyde 44 Corinthian, Midland Road, Westmoreland, Bath, BA2 3FT, O 23/06/2018: I object to this proposed development, It is too much of an over development for a small plot, Whilst I recognise the need for a way for the Pub to generate income and develop the site. This is too much.
I also object due to the lack of provision for parking spaces. It is not realistic to say to the tenants/owners of these apartments if built that they can not park there. Maybe they should reduce the number of units to put car parking on the ground level?
Midland Road along the stretch directly outside this proposed building is double yellows, which means parking will be pushed up into the main riverside development that is already congested.
MIdland Road has already seen extensive development and is already subject to contentious parking practices, Being a highway it is somewhat of free for all. People on the riverside site park all along it and on pavements. When Crest Nicholson finish there works this is only going to get worse with more people parking on the road /pavements as no permits or tickets are required. They have for the time being installed red and white bollards to allow construction lorries access without having to risk hitting parked cards but once removed it will again be a long car park.
There is also the issue of when the new destructor bridge opens how these apartments will fit into the plans of maybe making Midland Road one way upto Stothert Avenue. As Midland Road at the site of this application is very narrow it could cause issues for police vehicles entering and leaving the police dispatch depot on MIdland Road above Kia.
Additional cars could cause congestion.
This entrance is also used for Kia/Ford garages and is very congested. You struggle to get more than one vehicle along the route.
There is also the issue of the new school that is supposed to be built on The riverside development, as it stands this will be between Kia and the Riverside energy centre, This could generate large numbers of vehicles and children into a condensed and crowded area. This will further magnify any impact this development has.

The planning team should in my view consult with The Police to ascertain if this would impact their ability to respond quickly to incidents as if people did park outside it could cause issues for vehicles.
Banes planning dept, should liaise with The Highways team to ascertain how the new destructor bridge and proposed opening will impact on traffic directly in front of the proposed building. Likewise the developers should have to explain fully how the lack of parking will be addressed. If sufficient attention is not given to the lack of parking then I would expect interested parties will almost certainly seek judicial review as there are many failings in this application.
Transistion Bath 19 Maple Grove, Oldfield Park, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA2 3AF O 14/06/2018: The application doesn't conform with B&NES policy SCR1 (10% renewables) and doesn't contain a Sustainable Construction Checklist. Our understand is that because this application is for 10 dwellings of more it is therefore an invalid application.

Could B&NES please state why this application was accepted if key documents are missing?
Bath Heritage Watchdog Not Given. O Documents Tab 27/06/2018