A brand new community for the heritage city of Bath

Bath Riverside is a mixed-use community located in the shadow of the UNESCO World Heritage City of Bath. This brand new community compliments Bath’s iconic character and architecture, and is already proving its sustainability credentials as a major regen- eration development.

The Bath Riverside community will eventually be set across 44 acres of landscaped grounds bordered by the River Avon.

Located on the site of the former Stothert & Pitt crane manufacturing plant, Bath Riverside has planning consent for up to 2,281 new homes of which at least 25 per cent will be affordable. These are being delivered in partnership with housing provider CURO, Bath & North East Somerset Council and the Homes and Communities Agency.

Crest Nicholson purchased the site in 2006 and, following an extensive consultation, began work on a masterplan for phase one (299 homes) in 2007. In December 2010 the Outline Planning Application and Detailed Planning Applications were both approved and the first properties were built and occupied at the end of 2011.

Overcoming challenges

To build Bath Riverside Crest had to overcome both the financial challenges of the economic downturn and the sensitive historic context of Bath’s architecture and UNESCO World Heritage City status.

Creating a new community over almost two decades, only a short walk from Bath’s iconic and World Heritage protected architecture, the development’s design had to respect and complement, but not imitate, the City’s historic buildings.

Many of the new buildings have been clad using locally sourced Bath Stone and Crest has already used more than 400 tons of stone from the local Limpley Stoke quarry. The soft opal stone helps Bath Riverside’s homes complement Bath’s iconic architecture, while creating contemporary, new neighbourhoods.

Sustainable Development Strategy

Crest Nicholson also consulted with local stakeholders to create the Bath Riverside Sustainable Development Strategy. The Strategy will ensure this exemplar community is built with embedded sustainability measures that will make it easy for the residents to adopt sustainable lifestyle choices.

Each of the residences is powered by an onsite energy centre, providing electricity for more than 1,000 homes, and heated by centrally located boilers. These features met Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4, and they are expected to reduce carbon emissions across the site by around 45 – 50 per cent.

The centralised plant will consist of a mix of gas-combined heat and power (CHP), biomass boilers (with biomass used in place of bio diesel due to concerns regarding transparency of sustainable sourcing), and gas boilers for periods of peak heating demand. These together meet both the 10 per cent renewable energy requirement, and the mandatory carbon reduction required to ultimately achieve CfSH Level 3.

The CHP communal heating system was selected to provide energy efficiency and on-site energy generation and should provide residents with some protection against future energy price rises.

Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH) Level 4 was achieved as a minimum standard on all homes completed after 1 January 2013. Also, all homes achieve an average Energy Performance Certificate rating B. In order to achieve the target CfSH rating all homes are built to exceed Building Regulations 2010 part L requirements.

However, Crest recognises that to help encourage residents to recycle, reuse and reduce household waste they must be provided with ways to easily achieve this essential environmental objective. All Bath Riverside homes are therefore, provided with waste separation bins to encourage the separation and storage of metal, paper, card, plastics and compost.

Water management

The position of Bath Riverside demands a strategy to protect homes from possible flooding. As a result the flood mitigation measures have been designed to allow for increased (+30 per cent) flood risk associated with climate change.

In addition, recognising the need to save water all homes are installed with appliances selected to reduce water usage and houses are equipped with individual water butts.

To help reduce rain-water run-off by at least 20 per cent, porous paving has been introduced throughout the development, supported by water features and underground attenuation incorporated into the landscaping strategy as Sustainable Urban Drainage measures.

Bringing life back to the Riverside

Designed to benefit both the existing and new communities Bath Riverside has also opened up a pedestrian walkway along the River Avon that has not been publically accessible for decades. The new public, landscaped riverfront and unique waterside ‘scoop’, a tiered public amphitheatre, allows residents and the wider community in Bath to enjoy the river while also forming part of the sustainable flood management strategy for the site.

As part of its commitment to bring the riverside back to life and open it up to local people, Crest Nicholson has also commissioned a public art strategy with the majority of the art features designed by nearby schools, Bath College and local artists. With stone carvings, bronzes and historically significant artifacts, Bath Riverside has a public art trail that includes ships, slow worms and even a centurion’s helmet.

The scheme also displays art window friezes in the common areas designed by a local artist which when lit can be seen by both the residents and those visiting the development in the evenings.

The carefully designed private square is located on a raised car park deck and includes sensory and productive planting. The garden is completed with topiary bushes sculptured into the shape of cranes, gooseberry and strawberry bushes as well as pear trees and herb gardens to create a unique communal area for all owners. Homeowners with direct access to the square are encouraged to pick fruit from the trees and forage for strawberries along the edible walkway.

Biodiversity

To support and enhance Bath Riverside’s local biodiversity an ecological baseline was established by identifying the area’s valued and sensitive ecological resources. A desk study consultation included the proposed development site and the surrounding 2km area.

As a result of the study, action has been taken to replace lost brownfield habitat by means of brown and partial green roofs, which will include more than 20 different native species grown from seeds collected from the site in 2001.

Habitat pallets were built, planted with plugs or seedlings and left in-situ within the remaining brownfield habitats to be colonised by invertebrates. The pallets were then temporarily moved to a secure area of the site when the brownfield habitat was cleared. They are then transferred to the brown and green roof areas as soon as practicable.

Crest Nicholson constantly review and monitor the site, revising the project programme where necessary to prevent any disturbance to the wildlife during construction.

Exemplar Regeneration

Bath Riverside, is already a stunning collection of new homes and an important regeneration site. The development is transforming Bath’s western riverfront into a modern residential quarter, which will benefit both residents and visitors for years to come.

Crest Nicholson is still transforming this unique 44-acre, brownfield site into what will be an exemplar regeneration, mixed-use development of sustainable homes, student accommodation, a primary school, local shops, restaurants, and other community services and public facilities.

To further support the development’s biodiversity Crest also created:

  • An on-site ‘soil hospital’, through which 45,000 tons of soil has already been moved and cleaned on-site for re-use
  • Areas to support over 18,500 trees and shrubs planted as part of Phase 1, which were a mixture of mature and semi-mature plants and seedlings
  • A new riverfront park created to include new habitats for wildlife
  • Landscaped spaces between buildings that include play space for families
  • New habitats created as part of landscape design, including a wetland area

By David Mote, Editor