B&NES is fighting to save its development plans for Bath’s historic Grand Parade by considering a leasehold sale of the Undercroft beneath to create space for restaurant and leisure activities.
Though the Council has planning consent for the proposals – in an area Bathonians will know as the Colonnades – it doesn’t have the money to develop them so Bath & North East Council’s Resources Scrutiny Committee is being asked to give feedback on proposals for a leasehold sale to allow a private concern to bring the historic space into public use and create jobs.
A report before the committee on November 22 says in July 2016 the council gained planning consent for the change of use of around 8,000 square feet in the Undercroft below the Grand Parade.
Plans were approved for the council to create a new restaurant and leisure area with access and links to the city via Boat Stall Lane and potentially Slippery Lane.
However to ensure the development comes forward and the space brought back into public use the council is now looking for private investment through a long lease which means it won’t lose ownership of the land.
Councillor Charles Gerrish, (Conservative, Keynsham North), Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency, said: “We want to see this historic but underused part of the city brought back into public use as a matter of priority.
“The council had considered undertaking this project itself but resourcing pressures and the number of other large projects we are overseeing mean it is no longer a viable option.
We don’t want to hold up the opportunity to breathe new life into the Undercroft because it deserves to be brought back to life for people to once again use and enjoy, as well as adding to the city’s offer and providing job opportunities.”
Once completed the Grand Parade and Undercroft area would add to the city’s attractions and provide a unique view of the famous Pulteney Weir and bridge.