Controversial plans to flip a historic Bath hospital into a 160-bed hotel have been approved after opposing threats of authorized challenges.
The revised plans for the RNHRD web site | Image © Fragrance Group
The Fragrance Group, which purchased the Royal Mineral Water Hospital in 2018 for £21.5million, warned it could lodge one other attraction if Bath and North East Somerset Council refused its revised software.
Now opponents say the authority might face a judicial evaluation after branding the choice illegal and alleging that councillors had been put underneath strain to approve the scheme – a declare denied by planning committee members.
Following the committee’s resolution, Fragrance Group consultant Kevin Murphy confirmed the continuing attraction can be dropped.
Addressing members on twenty eighth July, he stated the proposals would safe the long-term way forward for the listed constructing, create 120 jobs and enhance Bath’s economic system to the tune of £35million, supporting town’s post-Covid restoration.
The software was met with greater than 460 objections and greater than 500 folks signed an open letter urging the council to “defend our heritage for future generations”.
Despite refusing the unique plans, committee members accepted the precept of turning the former hospital into a hotel.
Objector Jane Samson from Bath Campaigns stated: “There are not any vital public advantages to this proposal. The advantages are non-public and business. The unsuitable resolution right here might set a really harmful precedent for heritage belongings.
“Please perceive that if the error is just not averted the choice shall be challenged in judicial evaluation as an error in regulation.”
Her colleague John Mountford stated it was “astonishing” for officers to say it was not the planning system’s function to intervene out there, regardless of them recognising that Bath doesn’t want any extra hotel lodging.
He stated: “The planners are supposed to make democratic choices that profit all members of our communities. Their job is to protect the character of our stunning metropolis.
“Our heritage belongings usually are not money cows when cash is tight.”
Another objector stated the developer’s menace of one other attraction “seems like a tactic to put strain on you as choices makers with the menace of a prices award”.
Councillor Duncan Hounsell insisted that committee members had not come underneath strain.
He stated: “Certain folks within the public misunderstand what our function is. We aren’t resolution makers you’ll’ve discovered within the Soviet Union. Our solely accountability is to see if the applying is coverage compliant.”
Recommending approval, officers stated Fragrance Group had overcome all of the earlier causes for refusal.
The plans attracted some notable supporters. Historic England judged that the extent of hurt being brought about had been minimised so far as potential, whereas the Bath Preservation Trust stated the decreased peak, scale and massing meant the scheme was a lot improved.
Likewise, the Abbey Residents’ Association concluded that the builders had made a “critical try” to handle the problems and provide you with a “moderately convincing resolution”.
Cllr Paul Crossley added: “The solely good final result is one you agree with so that you’re all the time going to upset folks in some way, notably with a controversial one like this.
“I’ve been actually upset to hear the implications of malpractice happening right here.
“I feel what we’ve received is a very attention-grabbing software that’s moved on fairly significantly from the earlier submission.
“I feel the applicant has listened rigorously to what was stated. This software deserves to be approved.”
Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter