Plan for Bath’s creative and technology hub to go before Govt inspector

January 24, 2012

Plans to develop a much-needed centre for Bath’s creative and technology firms are to go to before a Government planning inspector.
Developer St James’s Investments (SJI) is working with Tesco to regenerate the historic Bath Press site on Lower Bristol Road as a mixed-use scheme with workshops and studios for creative businesses.
SJI has appealed to the Department for Communities and Local Government over Bath & North East Somerset Council’s failure to decide on the scheme within the recommended timescale. It drafted its plans three years ago.
Meanwhile, SJI, which recently bought the former print works, and Tesco have submitted a revised plan with increased community space.
SJI says its redevelopment will create more than 600 jobs by regenerating an important site which has largely been derelict since closing as a book printers in 2007.
It says the scheme will bring a range of new facilities to the city, including creative workshops, modern offices, new homes as well as a Tesco store.
Although not a listed building, the proposed plans incorporate the existing facade.
The site dates from 1889 when Sir Isaac Pitman, the inventor of the Pitman shorthand method, built his printworks.
Tom Dugay of Alder King Property Consultants, sole marketing agents for the development, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to bring such an important site back to life.
“We have been encouraged by the support for this scheme and believe that a new centre for creative/technology-based industries is essential, to help businesses in Bath during these challenging financial times.”
The proposals for the 7.5-acre site include 67,813 sq ft of retail space; 49,299 sq ft of creative work units; 28,094 sq ft of office space; 8719 sq ft of residential space including 10 dwellings; 2,368 sq ft of community space and 425 basement car parking spaces.
Workshop and office accommodation will be made available from 500 sq ft, targeting Bath’s small to medium sized companies.
Once completed, the new mixed-use site is expected to house 40 to 50 businesses, creating more than 600 jobs. The local traffic infrastructure will also benefit from improvements as part of the development.
SJI managing director Christopher Borkowski said the scheme would be similar to Bristol’s Paint Works development where a former industrial site has been transformed into a thriving hub for creative and artistic businesses.

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