Case study

Turning Bath’s neglected riverside into an exciting new community

Funding from the government is turning a derelict industrial site on the banks of the River Avon in Bath into an exciting new place to live, work and socialise.

Bath Riverside
Bath Riverside

In early 2011 work began to turn the derelict western riverfront area of Bath into a thriving community that fits well with Bath’s world famous heritage.

The site is just 1 mile from the centre of Bath and is part of the Bath City of Ideas Enterprise Area. It was once the site of the Stothert and Pitt ironworks and after that a gas works. It is 28 hectares in size and is one of the Britain’s most significant regeneration schemes. The government’s funding is being managed by the Homes and Communities Agency. More than 2,000 new homes are being built for rent and sale, as well as buildings for use by businesses, and cafes, bars and restaurants. When the site is finished more than 3,000 jobs will have been created.

The first stage of building has already finished and more than 120 of the 200 new homes built so far are for affordable rent or sale. They are managed by a local housing association called Curo. The house builder is Crest Nicholson.

People first moved into their new homes in 2011. For the second stage of building the house builder received funding from the government’s Get Britain Building programme, which helped to re-start work on the site after it had stopped because of difficult economic conditions. The second stage is expected to be finished by April 2014. A primary school, restaurants and health and leisure facilities are also planned.

The project is environmentally sustainable with features including a biomass central energy system and brown and green roofs. Good storage for bikes and easy access to the city centre along the new riverside walk and towpaths will help to reduce the use of cars. Local building materials such as Bath stone and traditional techniques are used where possible, and the design of the surrounding park is based on the city’s historic gardens.

Plans to use art based on the site’s industrial history are being developed which will help to make sure the community’s new identity is connected to its heritage. These plans include the display of one of Stothert and Pitt’s old cranes to mark the entrance to Bath Riverside quarter.

Quick facts:

  • Government investment: In 2011, the government gave more than £8 million to the project, made up of £6 million from the National Affordable Housing Programme to build 200 new and affordable homes, and £2 million to provide infrastructure to support the site. Around £2.8 million of government funding was given through Get Britain Building to build 240 homes in the second stage of the project. All of the government funding is managed by the Homes and Communities Agency.

  • There are up to five apprentices working on the project, some of whom come from City of Bath College. It is estimated that around 100 jobs would be created locally in various trades during the building work. When it is finished the project is expected to have created around 3,000 local jobs. Find out more about one of the apprentices.

  • There is a ‘soil hospital’ on site, which is used to clean up the soil from the site, which may be contaminated because of its industrial use in the past. 45,000 tons of soil have already been cleaned on site ready for re-use. This helps protect the environment because it means soil does not have to be transported in lorries to and from the site.

  • More than 400 tons of Bath stone from a nearby mine at Limpley Stoke has been used for the buildings in stage 1 of the project.

Find out more on the Bath Riverside website

Find out more about the Bath Riverside public art strategy

The project is part of the Bath City of Ideas Enterprise Area

The Crest Nicholson website has further detail about the project

Published 4 September 2014