Today (Wednesday 5 April) Bath & North East Somerset Council’s plans to develop Bath Quays South have been granted planning consent.
Bath Quays South has been derelict for the best part of half a century. After several attempts to get a development on the site, today’s decision is a key moment in the contemporary history of Bath and will make a dramatic change to the way the riverside looks and works.
The development will provide a new city centre location for businesses and is being led by the Council and regeneration specialists TCN.
· Refurbishment of Newark Works building to create a 4,530 sqm innovation and digital campus providing workspace for creative businesses in affordable short-let commercial units
· One new Grade A office building at 5,017 sqm
· Two buildings for residential / specialist office use to accommodate up to 5,027sqm of residential space and up to 193sqm of retail space (outline planning consent only)
· Completion of flood defence and river walls, new public spaces and landscaping.
The redevelopment of Bath Quays is Bath & North East Somerset Council’s flagship project, designed to create economic growth in the city.
“We look forward to continuing to work with B&NES to ensure the whole Bath Quays South regeneration is a great success for the region,” said Richard Pearce, CEO of TCN.
It is envisaged that building work could begin in the summer of 2017, with the office building complete by the end of 2018. The Newark Works regeneration will be undertaken simultaneously by TCN and is also anticipated to be completed by the end of 2018.
John Wilkinson, Divisional Director - Community Regeneration, Skills & Regeneration, shared the news: “At the heart of the new Bath Quays Central Business District, the development is linked to Bath & North East Somerset Council’s economic strategy which sets out plans to bring new jobs to the city by encouraging the growth of local companies and inspiring business chiefs to bring their businesses here.
“Despite the withdrawal of BMT from the scheme, demand is proving buoyant for the new offices and early discussions indicate that they will be snapped up. The office building provides a highly flexible opportunity which may suit one single large business or multiple smaller ones. It will be built to British Council of Office guidelines and has been designed with high sustainability standards.
“In 2017, we will see work begin on the new bridge and the new offices creating new job opportunities for our residents.”
The development of Bath Quays South offices and creative workspace is good news for the historic city’s hi-tech and creative sectors. According to the Tech Nation 2017 report which launched in Bristol on 28th March, the Bristol & Bath digital cluster is the third in the UK for turnover, and is a heavyweight when it comes to digital talent across the five biggest programming languages.
Ian Bell, Executive Director of Bath Chamber of Commerce and The Initiative in B&NES, supported the planning application for Bath Quays South. He is well aware of the pressing need for suitable office space in the city for growing local businesses and attracting new investors. He said:
“I am delighted to see this development taking an important step towards its fruition. We have waited far too long to see a successful scheme on Bath Quays South. There is widespread concern among the business community that a lack of modern office space in the city will damage the local economy. This development will not only do something to help with that, but it will underline the fact that the Council is determined to address the issue in a positive way.”
Another exciting development for the city is the proposed Pioneer Building. To be funded by the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the new Pioneer building is proposed to support entrepreneurs who have grown out of the Bath University SETsquared Innovation Centre and The Guild Hub. As their businesses grow, they will be able to move into the flexible and adaptive accommodation which will be available. The facility will offer the perfect conditions for rapid growth, allowing businesses to move through the building as their team numbers increase.
Bath Quays’ neighbours in the SETsquared Innovation centre were also celebrating this week as 13 entrepreneurs from Bath were announced as being among the top 50 SETsquared entrepreneurs nationally. Ali Hadavizadeh, Deputy Head of Enterprise and Innovation at the Innovation Centre on Broad Quay, said:
“Tech entrepreneurs and high-growth companies are vital to the future of the UK economy. Bath has always had a vibrant and thriving culture of innovation but without the right support, these companies will not grow into global leaders. SETsquared has played a key role in supporting tech companies in the south of England, helping put Bath on the global innovation map.”