Latest News

Hello from Lisa

Welcome to Latest News from the Development Directorate.  

The articles below really do illustrate the diversity of the team, from conservation areas to the natural environment, 3D mapping and policy making as well as meeting all of our targets in deciding planning applications and building regulation approvals.

I am delighted with the award that the ground-breaking WaterSpace Study received from the RTPI South West, see below for details. 

I hope you find these highlights interesting and informative.

Lisa Bartlett

Divisional Director - Development

New Validation Requirement for Planning Applications

Following adoption of the Placemaking Plan in July, we have introduced a new validation requirement called ‘Accessibility Standards for Market Housing Proposals Checklist’.  Applications which create dwellings, including conversions, will need to complete a checklist to demonstrate to the Council that enhanced accessibility standards in accordance with Placemaking Plan Policy H7 have been met.  Policy H7 reflects the Optional Technical standard 4(2) in the Building Regulations Approved Document M.  For more information please see the Local Planning Applications Requirements and the H7 Policy

Success for schemes in B&NES in the LABC West of England Building Excellence Awards 2017

Building projects in the B&NES area were successful in the LABC West of England Building Excellence Awards 2017 which were held in Bristol recently.

There were two winning schemes and one highly commended:-

Highly Commended - Best Extension or Alteration to an Existing Home: Hill Rise, North Road, Bath - Project Team: South West Contractors, SR Architects Ltd

Winner - Best Educational Building: University of Bath, Building 10 West, Claverton Down, Bath - Project team: Vinci Construction UK, AWW Architects, University of Bath

Winner - Best Small Commercial Project: Bath Mill Lodge Retreat, Bath - Project Team: Inside Out Architectural Consultants Ltd, Tracy Park Golf & Country Hotel

Conservation areas at Midsomer Norton/Welton, Saltford and Queen Charlton

Conservation area character appraisals provide the justification for designating an area as a conservation area by defining its special architectural and historic interest.  They also provide an opportunity to review existing designations and as part of the process to involve local communities in maintaining the character that gives such areas their local distinctiveness and special qualities.

Conservation area character appraisals and management proposals have been drafted for the Midsomer Norton/Welton, Saltford and Queen Charlton conservation areas.  When preparing a character appraisal it is best practice to review the boundary of the conservation area, and this is included in the scope of work carried out.

The draft documents are now completed for public consultation. They follow Historic England guidance, and for each of the conservation areas include:

*             An assessment of the special historic and architectural interest and character

*             A description of the architectural qualities

*             Recommended boundary changes

*             Opportunities for enhancement

*             Recommended management proposals

*             A record of community involvement

*             An explanation of the planning policy context

*             References for policy and guidance

Management proposals have also been drafted which will form the basis of a management plan for each area, including improvement and enhancement proposals. The final management plan will both compliment the appraisal and be informed by it.

The draft appraisals, management proposals and associated maps have been developed in close cooperation with key internal stakeholders, including the ward councillors, and externally with the Midsomer Norton Town Council and the Compton Dando and Saltford Parish Councils.

Public consultation will now take place on the draft appraisals, proposed boundary changes and management proposals.  Once finalised the appraisals will enable better informed development management decisions regarding the conservation and enhancement of local character, as well as informing current and future council strategies. 

The consultations will run from 30 May to 14 July.

50 Years - Bath Conservation Area

Developing a conservation area character appraisal for Bath Conservation Area

Bath today has one city wide conservation area which covers 1486 hectares and is home to about 50,000 people. The conservation area includes the city’s unique and much celebrated heritage, but it also encompasses less well known areas which have a range of different characteristics.

Bath’s conservation area was first designated in 1968, following the introduction of the Civic Amenities Act in 1967. It was one of the first six to be designated in the country.  The conservation area was enlarged in 1973, extended again in 1975, 1985 and most recently in 2002.  These extensions responded to changing conservation views about what was considered to be architecturally and historically important as well as ongoing changes in planning controls.  The importance of the area and its surrounds was further recognised by its inscription as a World Heritage Site in 1987.  The conservation area today is recognised but despite its longevity there has never been a complete character appraisal of the whole area.

The conservation area will soon celebrate 50 years of designation and it seems fitting to celebrate this by raising awareness of ongoing work to develop a full and comprehensive character appraisal for the conservation area to better understand all aspects of its importance and to support its ongoing and future management.

The work to complete a character assessment for the city wide conservation area is being developed by B&NES Council with input from heritage experts and the Bath Preservation Trust. There will be further opportunity for the public and local people who are familiar with the heritage of their neighbourhood to review the work and have an input through public participation and consultation.

You can read the briefing report attached (Conservation Area website copy).

Would you like to get involved?  We would value input in drafting the character appraisals for the remaining character areas. If you have a heritage interest and knowledge and are interested in helping with this then please get in touch with:

Joanna Robinson, Bath Preservation Trust; or
Paula Freeland, Bath and North East Somerset Council

As part of this year’s Civic Day celebrations on 17 June Bath Preservation Trust would like to invite anyone interested to come to a guided walk around one of the character areas Lower Lansdown and Camden where they will identify and talk about the matters that the character appraisal will address.

Please see the Bath Preservation Trust website at for more information.

'WaterSpace' Project

...wins at RTPI South West Awards for Planning Excellence – taking the award for best spatial planning project and the overall award for best project. The WaterSpace Project, which is aiming to improve and encourage development along waterways across the Bath area, has won the top award at this year’s Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) South West Regional Awards for Planning Excellence. The RTPI South West represents more than 1,500 professional planners across the region.

The RTPI South West Chair, David Lowin comments “The Water Space Project is an excellent example of partnership working to realise the potential for future investment along these waterways whilst balancing economic and environmental issues. An impressive feature is the extensive consultation undertaken, in particular with the boating community. This study, and its evidence base, will be a significant factor in the establishment of future planning policies and the determination of planning applications in and around the city of Bath”.
The project has also been identified by the Royal Town Planning Institute at the National Awards it is now one of 8 finalists in the Natural Environment category.‘water-space’-project-wins-at-rtpi-south-west-awards-for-planning-excellence/

Festival of Nature

The Environment & Design team will be running a series of activities in June 2017 as part of the Bristol to Bath Festival of Nature, come and visit us at the Bath and Keynsham family days to find out more about exciting projects such as the HLF Funded Bathscape Project and the WaterSpace project.

Neighbourhood Planning Update

Chew Valley Area Neighbourhood Development Plan was made and brought into force by B&NES at the Cabinet meeting in April. The Publow with Pensford Neighbourhood Plan has passed its Examination and community referendum. It now has full legal effect as part of the Development Plan and is due to be made by the Council at its Cabinet meeting in July.  The Draft Whitchurch Village Neighbourhood Plan has been submitted to the Council and published for consultation from 19th May to 30th June.  Further information on these and other Neighbourhood Plans can be found on our Neighbourhood Planning web page.
An interactive map has been created to help people see which areas have or are developing Neighbourhood Plans.  The map enables quick access to the plans and relevant websites, and is available on the Council’s Services in Your Area.  It will be regularly updated to ensure you have easy access to the latest information.
More information at:-

Neighbourhood Planning and the Natural Environment

On 31st May a Neighbourhood Planning event was held in Keynsham, focusing on planning for the Natural Environment in Neighbourhood Plans – in particular, landscape and ecology. You can see all of the presentations and information on our webpage:

Thanks to DCLG and Locality for funding this event and to our partners in delivering this the Mendip Hills AONB Partnership and the Bathscape Partnership.

The Joint Spatial Plan

The Joint Spatial Plan and Transport Study is being prepared by the 4 West of England Authorities to cover their combined area of Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Councils.  The plan will provide a new strategic planning context for all four West of England areas including Bath & North East Somerset.  It will set the revised housing numbers for Bath & North East Somerset and an affordable housing target up to 2036. Following consultation on the Emerging Spatial Strategy late last year and the consideration of the comments received work is progressing on the preparation of the Draft Plan, which it is anticipated will be published for public consultation in autumn 2017.

GIS News

The 3D aerial imagery which was flown earlier this year will be available for use in June. A couple of samples are shown below.  In a trial of the technology, 39 km2 was flown, covering the urban area of Bath and its immediate surrounds, using a camera that can be fixed to a lightGIS 3D image Royal Crescent Bath aircraft rather than the standard aerial photo-reconnaissance plane. The imagery will allow buildings to be viewed at any angle but will also be processed to form a standard overhead aerial photograph.  The trial will be used to assess how useful such a survey is to the Council, and whether it should be extended to cover other parts of B&NES.  This new tool will enable our officers to understand the current situation and support decision making.

We are also about to embark of our photographic survey of the River Avon through Bath, using a boat hired from the Canals and Rivers Trust. This will use the same technology as used from car based surveys, but mounted on a boat. As with the 3D photography, this is a trial to test the technology. If it is successful and proves useful, a wider survey may be commissioned.

Building Control joins Twitter

The Building Control team have joined Twitter to provide useful infomation and advice to their customers. If you want to pick up the Building Control tweets look for @bcbathnes on Twitter or go to 

Planning Performance Agreements

Following a successful review of our PPA service, and with Member approval, we are introducing some improvements including an upfront charging schedule.  This was in response to some customer concerns over a lack of clarity on the full cost of the service at the start of a PPA.  The new service will launch on 10 July.

Fond Farewells

Julie O'Rourke - Planning Policy Officer


Catherine Parker - Planning Policy Officer (Secondment)

New Faces

Hayden Foster - Planning Officer

Alina Game - Technical Support Officer

Last updated: June 2017

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