Bath Preservation Trust has this week submitted a nomination to Bath and North East Somerset Council for the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (the ‘Min’) to be classed as an ‘asset of community value’ under the Localism Act 2011.
The Trust has done this because of the Min’s central role in the social history of the Bath, its relationship to the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site and its place in serving the community for nearly 300 years.
The Trust is not in a position to bid for the Min but wishes to give the best opportunity for any bid to deliver substantial public benefit, substantial public access and the potential for some usage which relates to the health provision which has been based in this historic building.
BPT has participated in discussions which look at co-locating Bath Spa University’s Fashion and Textiles Department, the Fashion Museum and some of the Min’s Bath-related medical collections in the context of a commercial bid also offering hotel and treatment space.
Caroline Kay, Chief Executive of Bath Preservation Trust, said,
“We recognise that the RUH wishes to sell the Min in order to raise funds for the continuing treatment of sick patients, and of course that is a necessary and laudable aim. However, the listed building, created by John Wood, Ralph Allen and Beau Nash for public benefit, is central to the social and architectural history of the City and deserves to be given the best chance of retaining that spirit of public service.
Registering the Min as an Asset of Community Value would, we hope, encourage any commercial bidder to realise that the building has a cultural importance in the City of Bath which transcends its simple development potential. It would allow more time for a credible bid to come together which took these factors into account and recognised the need for continuing public access.”