What is happening?

The proposals include the demolition of the current Dick Lovett BMW and MINI Dealership Bath buildings which will be redeveloped into residential and commercial use.


The redevelopment proposes approximately 360 build-to-rent (BTR) units including affordable homes, approximately 750 sq. m. of flexible commercial floor space, vehicular access off Lower Bristol Road and parking.


There is an extant planning permission for managed purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) units on part of the site and this use is to remain as part of the subject development and on that part of the site.

Where is the site?

The site is located on the Lower Bristol Road, Bath, BA2 3DR.


Is Dick Lovett closing down?

Dick Lovett BMW and MINI is not closing down. The company is building a new state of the art facility in Melksham, Wiltshire.


Who owns the site?

Dick Lovett.


Why is the site being redeveloped?

Dick Lovett is relocating to a new state of the art facility in Melksham, Wiltshire, therefore leaving the site unoccupied. The site is a highly sustainable brownfield site which is surrounded by significant new development including the recently completed Spring Wharf and Chivers House.


In 2014 Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES) identified the site within the Western Riverside allocation in its Core Strategy and subsequent Placemaking Plan (2017).


The proposal to provide approximately 360 Class C3 build-to-rent (BTR) units in a highly sustainable brownfield location is supported by policies DW1, B1 and SB8 of the Council’s Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan. There is also strong policy for mixed use development including an element of commercial floor space as is proposed within this scheme.


There is currently a student housing supply and demand imbalance and this is expected to increase which will continue to place unwanted pressure on the local private rented market.  The site is a desirable location to live for students of the University of Bath and Bath Spa University.


The managed purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) is located within part of the site previously granted outline consent for managed PBSA and commercial use at ground floor and which is also subject to a current reserved matters application.  The proposed quantum of managed PBSA is within the parameters of that granted along Lower Bristol Road under outline permission ref: 06/01733/EOUT.


The managed PBSA would not prejudice the vision and realisation of other aspects of the Council’s strategy as it would allow for delivery of a significant number of Class C3 units and commercial/employment space as part of a high quality mixed use scheme.


Who is redeveloping the site?

The Watkin Jones Group will be redeveloping the site, and with Dick Lovett are seeking permission to create approximately 360 build-to-rent (BTR) units including affordable homes on the site of the current Dick Lovett BMW and MINI dealerships on Lower Bristol Road, Bath. There is an extant planning permission for managed purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) on part of the site.


Established in 1791, the Watkin Jones Group is a market leading multi-occupancy residential developer with a proven track record in developing commercial, mixed-use and residential properties.


What other developments has the Watkin Jones Group completed in Bath?

Watkin Jones has an excellent track record for deliverability in Bath, having built 3 successful schemes which include The Depot (at Brougham Hayes), Avon Studios (former Argos car park) and Riverview Court (next to Victoria Bridge).


Who have you appointed as architects?

Brock Carmichael is UK-based and an accredited RIBA Chartered Architects Practice with expertise in education, residential, leisure and regeneration.


What will be on the site?

The redevelopment proposes approximately 360 build-to-rent (BTR) units including affordable homes, approximately 750 sq. m. of flexible commercial floor space and vehicular access off Lower Bristol Road. There is an extant planning permission for managed purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) on part of the site and this use is to remain as part of the subject development and on that part of the site.


When can I see the plans?

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on public gatherings, no physical consultation event will be held. Instead, an online public consultation will be held.


The consultation materials including exhibition boards, FAQs and feedback forms will be available online for an extended period from 9th April until 9th May 2020 on the project website www.lowerbristolroadredevelopment.co.uk. Members of the public can email enquiries to info@lowerbristolroadredevelopment.co.uk or telephone 01225 423400 to request paper copies of the proposals.


Where can I see the public consultation material?

All public consultation material will be available online at www.lowerbristolroadredevelopment.co.uk from 9th April to 9th May 2020.


What will it look like?

Contextual cues will be taken from the surrounding area to reflect the existing architecture. Existing buildings which will inform the designs include the Bath Press façade, nearby Victorian terraces and new build developments. Detailed plans can be found here.

What will the commercial space be used for?

The project team will apply for planning permission for the commercial space to be a flexible mix of uses which could accommodate shops, cafes, restaurants, gyms and offices.


How much parking is provided and who for?

The proposals include the provision of parking spaces for the BTR part of the scheme. No parking is provisioned for the managed PBSA units.


Why isn’t there parking for the managed purpose built student accommodation (PBSA)?

The car free nature of the managed PBSA works by a series of measures. The Watkin Jones Group strongly encourages students not to bring cars to their place of study, which is implemented by both the management plan and tenancy agreement. Planning inspectors have referred to this as an “effective deterrent”.


Parking will only be required for move in and out days at the start and end of the academic year. Before students move into the accommodation, they will be informed of an arrival strategy within a letter confirming their allocated time slot. A set time period for arrival and departure will be provided. The strategy is as follows:


  • Students will arrive and check in with the on-site Accommodation Warden who will give instructions to quicken the procedure;

  • Once checked in, the car will be driven to an allocated parking bay where the car will be unloaded;

  • It is possible that porters will be employed to help unload the vehicles and move belongings to the students’ room;

  • Once unloaded, cars should leave the parking space immediately in order to accommodate the next arrival. Car drivers can then use a car park located near the site, such as the Charlotte Street car park, which is within walking distance.


These procedures will be managed by the Accommodation Warden, who will also ensure car parking is temporarily made available.


In addition the site is in a highly sustainable location with access to direct bus routes to Bath’s city centre, Bath’s two universities Bath Spa University and the University of Bath, and Bristol. Large and secure cycle stores are included within the proposals. The site is not located within a residents parking zone, nor are areas to the north, south of west. Resident parking zones are located to the east and cover most central areas. However, we consider these to be too far away to have any influence on this site.


A travel plan will also be in operation, which will detail alternative non-car modes of transport. Therefore, the proposed managed PBSA will not introduce any pressure on existing parking provision in the surrounding neighbourhood.


Will cycle spaces be provided?

Secure cycle storage will be provided to encourage all residents to cycle thus promoting exercise and helping reduce congestion and emissions.


What enhancements are provided by the development and are there any sustainable measures provided?

The Watkin Jones Group is mindful of B&NES’ policies and guidance with regards to sustainability and energy and will seek full compliance. A range of sustainable design and construction features are proposed including the compliance with the Energy Hierarchy (‘Be Lean, Be Clean, Be Green, Be Seen’), to minimise carbon dioxide emissions.

Be Lean: Energy efficiency measures will be applied including efficient fans, lighting and controls and the incorporation of domestic appliances with an A+ rating.

Be Clean: Opt for a lower carbon on-site renewable solution with a view to future-proof the development to allow connectivity to District Energy Network at Bath Western Riverside.

Be Green: Renewable technologies have been considered including incorporating Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) and photovoltaics.

Be Seen: Smart meters installed.


It is proposed that the non-residential element of the scheme will be assessed against BREEAM, with the Watkin Jones Group voluntarily targeting an “Excellent” rating as a means of demonstrating the enhanced sustainability credentials.

When will the plans be submitted to Bath and North East Somerset Council?

The project team anticipate submitting the planning application in the summer of 2020.


If planning is granted, when will construction start?

It is intended that if planning is granted, construction will take place between 2022 and 2024.


How can I get in touch?

Please take the time to complete a feedback form under the ‘Feedback Form’ tab. Exhibition materials, FAQs and feedback forms will be available on the project website lowerbristolroadredevelopment.co.uk from: 9th April until 9th May 2020. For any queries please email info@lowerbristolroadredevelopment.co.uk or telephone 01225 423 400.