MARCH 6, 2024

 By Harry Mottram: The former Bath Press site on Lower Bristol Road has been bought again – this time by City & Country for £13.8 million who have announced plans to develop the five acre brown field site with homes and offices.

Aberdeen Standard Investments bought the site in 2017 and outlined plans for a similar scheme of residential and commercial properties. The site housed a sprawling industrial set of buildings for the printing and publishing company Bath Press constructed at the end of the 19th century and still features the one remaining part of the building that of the frontage.

It became vacant in 2007 and most of the buildings were demolished in 2018 and has been the subject of a number of proposals since then – all of which in the end did not proceed. They included St James Investments and Tesco who put forward plans for a supermarket, offices and homes in 2011, while Spenhill Developments submitted plans for 244 homes and a basement car park. With public consultations and calls for a proportion of affordable housing and some form of park area the site has been the centre of arguments over this large section of central Bath. Bath Voice understands that outline planning permission was agreed meaning City & County feel they can move onto the development stage sooner rather than later.

City & County believe they can press on now with their proposals bringing to an end the long running saga of speculation over the future of the site. Land and property director Simon Marner said: “This is a significant acquisition for the business, with the site due to deliver more than 250 units in addition to the commercial space. Bath is a thriving city, known for its status as a World Heritage Site and a centre of international cultural significance, and is an excellent fit for our brand. We have ambitious plans for the next five years as a business, as we continue expanding our new-build arm and restoring heritage buildings to provide beautiful, modern high-specification homes. As with all our new-build homes, we pride ourselves in the quality of our design and the creation of community.”

The new owners are behind the Factory Number One development in Bristol formerly the first tobacco factory of W.D and H.O Wills along with a number of other sites including Burderop Park in Wiltshire.

The question is whether this time the development will take place – since it has had a long history of nothing happening in a city where there is shortage of housing. With the price of flats in Bath anywhere between £300,000 and a million pounds then even with construction costs it would seem a good investment. Now it will be up to the planners to see what those proposals are and what sort of opposition there may be to the plans.

Bath Voice Monthly Newspaper is distributed free to thousands of homes and some supermarkets – distributed from the first of the month. Harry Mottram is the News Editor

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Harry Mottram is a freelance journalist. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Telegram, TikTok and Mobile: 07789 864769