Bath: Royal Mineral Water Hospital hotel plan approved

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Royal Mineral Water HospitalImage source, LDRS
Image caption,
Campaigners who opposed the plans said the council's approval had set a "dangerous precedent"

Controversial revised plans to convert a historic hospital into a hotel have been approved despite opposition.

Hotel developers Fragrance Group, bought the Royal Mineral Water Hospital in the centre of Bath for £21.5m in 2018.

Its plan to convert the Grade II*-listed building had been turned down once and met by hundreds of objections.

The developers said the 167-bed hotel will boost the city's economy by £35m.

Image source, Fragrance UK - Bath Ltd
Image caption,
Historic England said the revised plan met their standards

About 460 people objected to the revised plans and more than 500 people signed an open letter urging Bath and North East Somerset Council to protect the city's heritage.

But the council's planning officers said Fragrance Group had overcome all the previous reasons for refusal.

Historic England judged that the level of harm being caused had been minimised as far as possible, while the Bath Preservation Trust said the reduced height, scale and massing meant the scheme was much improved.

'Dangerous precedent set'

Objector Jane Samson from Bath Campaigns said: "There are no significant public benefits to this proposal. The benefits are private and commercial.

"The wrong decision here could set a very dangerous precedent for heritage assets."

Fellow objector John Mountford said the city did not need any more hotel accommodation.

"Our heritage assets are not cash cows when money is tight," he said.

But councillor Paul Crossley said the application "deserved to be approved".

"I think what we've got is a really interesting application that's moved on quite considerably from the previous submission," he said.

"I think the applicant has listened carefully to what was said."

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