Not surprisingly perhaps, B&NES has given its Archway Project – which includes the creation of a new Learning Centre for the Roman Baths in Swallow Street and a World Heritage Centre at 10 York Street – full planning permission and listed building consent.
The Roman Baths Learning Centre will be a fully accessible state-of-the-art centre where school children will participate in exciting hands-on sessions with Roman artefacts and where projects and activities will be run for members of the local community. It will be linked to the Roman Baths via an underground tunnel.
Now they’ve just got to hope the Heritage Lottery Fund comes up with the bulk of the money.
The Learning Centre will also feature an investigation zone set amongst Roman remains, where school children will be able to explore and record archaeological materials, with an excavation area where they will be able to unearth replica Roman objects. This space will be used for family events at weekends and during the school holidays.
The World Heritage Centre will contain imaginative displays that explain why the World Heritage Site of Bath is so special and will encourage people to explore the heritage around the city. Admission will be free for everyone.
The project will also open up areas of Roman remains that have never before been open for regular public access, including a laconicum (sauna) and exercise courtyard.
Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “We are delighted that planning permission and listed building consent have been granted for the Archway Project. The project will transform learning at the Roman Baths and create a world-class visitor centre where people can find out more about our World Heritage City, as well as opening up new parts of the Roman Baths for public access.”
The Roman Baths has submitted a second stage application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to secure a grant of nearly £3.5 million towards the £5 million project. The HLF is due to make a decision later this year.
If the fundraising target is achieved, building work will start in summer 2017 and the new Learning Centre and World Heritage Centre will open in early 2019. This will be followed by a programme of activities and events for local communities, school children and visitors.
For more information about the Archway Project visit www.romanbaths.co.uk/archway-project.
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Heritage Grants applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk @heritagelottery