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HOTEL PLANS: Revised plans unveiled for hospital conversion

HOTEL PLANS: Revised plans unveiled for hospital conversion

Image: LDRS

Scaled-back plans to transform Bath’s Royal Mineral Water Hospital into a luxury lifestyle hotel have been unveiled after the first bid was rejected.

In its new proposals, Fragrance UK has cut the number of bedrooms to 160, removed all but essential equipment from the roof and reduced the building’s footprint.

The firm – which paid £21.5million for the Min and plans to invest another £35million –  is also committing to providing managed public access and guided walks and tours to the two Roman mosaics discovered in the Grade II*-listed building.

The scale of the original proposals sparked concerns from neighbours, with one telling planning bosses: “We’re going to lose our privacy, natural light, our view of the sky.

“I’m really angry and upset about how I’ve been treated. I’m at a loss. I’m gutted. To lose the greenery is disgraceful.”

Planning officers had recommended approval, saying securing an “optimum viable use” for the Min outweighed the impact on neighbours, who would still have “appropriate living conditions in this city centre location”.

But Councillor Manda Rigby said the extension would make life in the neighbouring properties “almost untenable”.

Planning committee members voted in September to reject the application, saying the extension’s scale, mass and height was unacceptable.

Fragrance UK’s revised plans will feature a “sensitively designed” four-storey extension “typically 4.7 metres further away from existing properties”. The upper floor windows have been removed to prevent overlooking.

The glazed ‘atrium’ link between the Min and the proposed extension has been removed, creating a usable open space.

Residents raised concerns about the impact on trees and habitats. Fragrance UK says biodiversity is at the core of its revised plans. It plans to plant extensively and create a reflective pool.

The development, which is expected to create 120 full-time jobs, will offer spa facilities to guests and members of the public, including a mineral water pool, treatment rooms, themed spa bedrooms, a fitness studio, and changing facilities.

A spokesperson for Fragrance UK – Bath Ltd said: “Since the refusal of the previous application we have listened carefully to the feedback received from councillors and residents and have worked hard alongside officers, statutory consultees and Historic England to address these concerns.

“Our proposals represent an opportunity to preserve the history and heritage of the Royal Mineral Water Hospital.

“We look forward to seeing the public’s response to our revised plans ahead of submitting a new planning application and listed building consents to B&NES Council in the coming weeks.”

For more information on the plans, visit theminexhibition.co.uk.

Words: Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter


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