Bath and North East Somerset Council vote by five to four to approve Crest's controversial Western Riverside scheme

Crest Nicholson’s plans to regenerate one of the south west’s most important brownfield sites have cleared a key planning hurdle following a knife edge vote last night.

Bath and North East Somerset’s development control committee voted by a majority of five to four to approve Crest’s residential led scheme to redevelop the Western Riverside site, which is located one km from the city centre.

The committee’s decision followed a four hour debate last night. The scheme was opposed by the Environment Agency and a host of conservation bodies, including English Heritage, which are worried about the impact that the scheme will have on the nearby Georgian city centre.

The future of the 18ha former Stotard and Pitt crane factory, which lies inside the boundary of Bath’s World Heritage Site, has been the subject of passionate debate within the city for nearly a decade and a half.

Crest’s Fielden Clegg Bradley master planned scheme includes nearly 2300 homes, accommodation for 675 students and local shops and services, including a primary school. The homes will be accommodated in a mix of blocks, including two nine-storey buildings, and individual houses.

The council has referred the application to the Department for Communities and Local Government, which has the power to call a public inquiry.

Crest will now need to secure gap funding from English Partnerships to decontaminate the site, part of which used to be a gas works.