Current Planning Issues

Local Plan: BFA presses for stronger policies for Bear Flat

In our response to B&NES Council on Local Plan options, we’ve asked for a pro-active approach to grow and enhance local centres, of which Bear Flat is recognised as one. We support the aim to safeguard and expand locally available services and facilities, but call for other policies such as employment and economic growth to include strengthening of local centres.

We draw attention to the BFA Vision for Bear Flat and say that Bear Flat would benefit from policies to reduce travel to work in the city centre by car, and improve the public realm for people walking and cycling. Bear Flat, we state, is a sustainable neighbourhood with buses, shops, open spaces etc., within walking distance for most residents. It is an exemplary 15-minute community.

On housing land availability, we wish to see self-contained neighbourhoods created with their own employment, retail, community facilities (not housing estates that would generate lots of traffic). We point to the risk of new development in southern Bath (see below) or the Somer Valley adding to traffic through Bear Flat.

Read the BFA submission in full.

The Consultation, outlined in the Flyer in February, has now closed. More on the B&NES Local Plan is at

More houses at Sulis Down rejected

BFA was among many to oppose the scheme for 290 homes on the South Stoke plateau (between Odd Down Park & Ride and Southstoke Lane) that was refused planning permission by B&NES Council this month. The scheme was criticized for being car-dependent, with no bus service near the homes. BFA’s objection was the extra traffic generated on Wellsway and Wells Road.

Awning go ahead

The Good Bear has won consent for an awning, as mooted in the Flyer in February. BFA supported the planning application. In fact, the consent allows the awning to over sail the pavement but not the outdoor seating. It will help keep the interior cool in summer.

Communications Mast for The Gore

The mobile infrastructure services company Cornerstone is planning to install a communications mast on The Gore to increase the mobile coverage to include 5G. You can find the proposal plans here and the associated covering letter here.

Bear Flat Association and Bloomfield Bath Residents’ Association have registered their objection to the proposal on the grounds of its negative visual impact and proximity to listed heritage assets. You can find the BFA / BBRA objection letter here.

Transport proposals for Bath City Centre

The latest phase of the WECA corridor schemes concerns the City centre. Part of this is an improved east-west cycle route that has little bearing on Bear Flat. But the other part will affect our journeys to and from town by bus, taxi, cycle or car (less so on foot): this is a scheme for St James’s Parade and the Ambury Gyratory. The biggest change would be that buses and taxis (but not other traffic) would be able to turn right from Churchill Bridge into the bus station or Dorchester Street instead of going round by Ambury. You can find out more on the WECA website. BFA responded in December 2023, and you can read our comments here. We give broad support as we think the benefits for bus, taxi and cycle users would outweigh the inconvenience to car users. So it would be beneficial to air quality and health. We also make a number of comments and suggestions.

Transport proposals for Bear Flat Summer 2023

WECA consulted on their scheme for the A367 through Bear Flat in summer 2023.  There is more on BFA’s response here.

Footpath consultation Autumn 2023

B&NES Council is drawing up a legal record of public rights of way: footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways and BOATs (byways open to all traffic) in Bath, consulting residents and residents ‘ associations like BFA. We circulated the draft map and the draft list of paths to be sure that the list is as comprehensive and accurate as possible. It could be years before another such consultation comes along for our area so it’s important we help the Council to get things right. The BFA response to the consultation supports most of the paths shown, but also raises some queries and points out a few possible omissions.

Keep Snowy snowy!

When we heard that The Bear pub was to be refurbished and its lighting and signage revised, we asked the brewery to confirm that the polar bear over the front door would be retained. We then heard first that it was to be removed, and then that it would be retained – but painted brown! Consultation on this closed on 23rd December and a decision is expected on or after 18 January 2022. Read our statement to see what the Bear Flat Association is doing to protect this much-loved landmark.

Liveable Neighbourhoods

BFA responded to the Council’s consultation on Liveable Neighbourhoods. There is more on the consultation at The BFA response is here.

Plan for student accommodation, corner of Wells Road and Wellsway

The scheme
Planning application 20/01591/FUL was submitted to B&NES Council for an extension to 138 Wells Road and 2-6 Wellsway, to create 28 units of purpose-built student accommodation. This concerns the block containing Fidelis, Menu Gordon Jones and the single-storey shop round the corner on Wells Road. The scheme would mean adding a fourth storey slightly set back from the frontage. The single-storey shop on Wells Road would become three storeys. Alterations at ground floor level would be minimal, and apparently Fidelis and Menu Gordon Jones would continue. The plans can be seen on the B&NES web site.

The planning application (20/01591/FUL) was refused by B&NES Council on 1 September 2020. The stated reason was: The creation of purpose built student accommodation (sui generis) would result in the loss of 6 residential units (C3). There are no demonstrable and substantial conservation, economic, social or environmental benefits that would outweigh the harm resulting from this loss of residential accommodation. The development is therefore contrary to Bath and North East Somerset Placemaking Plan policy H5.

BFA view

After an email consultation with BFA members, the Planning and Transport Group submitted an objection to the proposal.  You can read the text here.

Existing block