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The City Of Bath, England

The City of Bath and the beautiful countryside which surrounds it have been described as one of England’s most beautiful places to visit. Bath is situated within the south west of England and is a fabulous city to visit. The population [1] of the city is 169,040. It was granted city status by Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1590.

The city was founded, among surrounding hills, in the valley of the River Avon around naturally occurring hot springs where the Romans built baths and a temple, giving it the name Aquae Sulis. Much later, it became popular as a spa resort during the Georgian era, which led to a major expansion that left a heritage of exemplary Georgian architecture crafted from Bath Stone. Bath and its stunning surrounding countryside offer’s tourists a multitude of fantastic places to visit from stately homes and gardens to the impressive Stonehenge.

As City of Bath the city became a World Heritage Site in 1987. The city has a variety of theatres, museums, and other cultural and sporting venues, which have helped to make it a major centre for tourism, with over one million staying visitors and 3.8 million day visitors to the city each year [2] . The city has two universities and several schools and colleges. There is a large service sector and growing information and communication technologies and creative industries, providing employment for the population of Bath and the surrounding area.

Source: www.maps.google.co.uk Historical Background: –

A city which is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, making it the ideal city break destination and Bath is a World Heritage City (UNESCO), featuring the famous Roman Baths & Pump Room and simply stunning Georgian period architecture. The history of city came across the different periods started from Roman era.

Roman Period: – After the Invasion of Britain by Romans in 43 AD, Bath was also occupied by Romans. The worship of Sulis continued in the Roman times. That’s why during Roman period, grand temples, and bathing complexes were built. In the 3rd century, the city was given defensive walls. But with the start of 4th century, the Roman Empire and its urban sprawl declined while the some of the suit of Baths were in use.The Roman Baths

Post Roman and Saxon Period: – In this period, the Anglo- Saxon Chronicle mentioned the falling of Bath into West Saxons after the battle of Deorham in 577 AD. The name `Bath` came from the “Baoum or Baoan” given by Anglo-Saxons. By the 9th century, after the Royal possession, the old Roman street pattern had been lost and with King Alfred laid out the town afresh leaving abbey precinct in the south.

Norman, Medieval and Tudor Period: – By the 15th century, some major churches were badly dilapidated like the abbey Church. After the status of Spa city, the baths were improved and maintained; city began to attract the aristocracy again. Finally in 1590, Bath was granted as city status by Royal Charter.

17th Century Period: – In this period, the heath giving properties of the hot mineral waters came to the attention of whole country and the aristocracy also started to partake in them, invented by the Thomas Guidott, a student of chemistry from Wadham College Oxford in 1676. Also he wrote “A discourse of Bathe, and the hot waters there” with some inquiries into the nature of water.

Old Character of Bath Streets Georgian Period: – There had been much rebuilding in the Stuart period, but this was eclipsed by the massive expansion of Bath in Georgian times. The old town within the walls was also largely rebuilt. This was a response to the continuing demand for elegant accommodation for the city’s fashionable visitors, for whom Bath had become a pleasure resort as well as a spa. In the early 18th century, the development of first purpose-built theatre, assembly rooms etc came into existence. The use of Sedan Chairs also can be seen into this period by Grand Georgian people (rich people).

Victorian Period: – In this period, Bath crossed the population of 40020 according to Census 1801 & it came into the list of largest cities of Britain. Bath Spa rail station was also built in this period for the Great Western Railway.

20th Century Period: – During World War II, Bath faced three air raids, 400 people were killed and more than 19000 buildings were damaged & destroyed. Houses in the Royal Crescent, Circus and Paragon were burnt out along with the Assembly Rooms, while part of the south side of Queen Square was destroyed. All have since been reconstructed, and regeneration work is continuing. Since 2000, developments have included the Bath Spa, South Gate and the Bath Western Riverside project.

Historically part of the county of Somerset, Bath was made a county borough in 1889 and hence independent of the newly created administrative Somerset county council. Bath became part of Avon when that non-metropolitan county was created in 1974. Since the abolition of Avon in 1996, Bath has been the main centre of the unitary authority of Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES). Bath remains, however, in the ceremonial county of Somerset, though not within the administrative non-metropolitan county of Somerset.

Spatial Integration of Bath City: –

The Spatial Integration of the Bath city will also be analysed with the help of city landuse assessment method and the changes in it with time and the spatial planning tools & techniques, which are used for the integration of the city will be analysed. The Bath city is now days under a unitary authority “Bath & North East Somerset Council” (BANES or B&NES) which was created in 1st April, 1996. The total area under authority is 220 Sq. Miles and city of Bath is the principle settlement in the district.

The Former Bath City Council prepared Local plan as a Statutory Local plan in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended by the Planning and Compensation Act 1991. The Plan guides development in the City of Bath up to 2001 with the co-ordination of public and private investment decisions. This Local Plan supersedes the Bath City Plan that was adopted by the City Council in June 1990. But after objections, ratifications & modifications at different stages, On 12 June 1996 a letter was received by the Council from the Government Office for the South West on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Environment stating that the Bath Local Plan was now in accordance with the Direction which was henceforth lifted. The Council issued its Notice of Adoption of the Bath Local Plan on 20 June 1996.

Bath and North East Somerset Council adopted this Plan on 20th June 1996 and it now forms part of the statutory Development Plan for the new Authority. The Plan was, however, progressed through all the formal procedures outlined above by the former City Council, and it has been considered appropriate to retain the text which was the subject of public consultation and examination, including references to the “City Council”. These references will serve as a reminder that the Policies are applicable only within the City of Bath, but it should be understood that in most instances the “Council” referred to is that of Bath and North East Somerset. However a High Court Challenge in August 1996 resulted in Bath and North East Somerset Council having to re-adopt the Plan on 19 June 1997.

The Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) council prepared a Local plan which is adopted in October 2007; establish a robust policy framework to provide clarity for all those involved in the development process. The Local Plan includes other spatial planning tools & techniques like Public consultations, Government Guidance, the Joint Replacement Structure Plan, the Council`s Local Transport Plan & the Strategies of the Council (Community Strategy, National and Regional Planning Guidance) and other organisations etc.

The Local plan sets out the key objectives for the development of policies in different aspects: Living and Working (Social Inclusion, Resources, Housing, Economy, Urban & Rural Areas, Shopping, and Services & Leisure), Environmental Assets and Transport & Access etc.

Housing: –

Housing Affordability: – The Housing section assesses the housing situation of the City of Bath. If we look at the housing scenario of the city, the affordability of housing is least in City of Bath as compared to whole of the district. The following figures represents as:

Source: –

So many people are migrating due to high cost of living in the City of Bath. This is leading to recruitment difficulties and skill shortages which could have a knock-on effect on the local economy.

The need for affordable housing (per year) is also much in Bath city as compare to the other areas in the district. The following figures represent it as:

Source:

The land supply for housing development is also limited in the City of Bath. This places considerable pressure for development both on sites allocated for housing and on other sites in the City to meet the demand for housing.

Problems/Issues in City of Bath: –

In the listed Georgian properties in Bath can resulted in an additional challenges and improvement works due to large number of high risk houses in multiple occupations.

Due to the relatively high property values in Bath, the refurbishment of converted buildings often results in higher rents being charged and people are moving off to City of Bath.

The problem of decent housing type is also major concern in the private rented sector which is mostly occupied by university students. It includes the Abbey ward in Bath City and Bathavon wards surrounding city.

The current and future needs of older residents are generally exceeds then Government funding allocations in housing schemes.

Traffic and Transportation: –

The city of Bath is a small & complex city as compared to other cities and it has well defined activities like commercial areas and employment areas. The various sectors of its transportation systems are like parking facilities and public transport services are not only interdependent but all are affected by the other activities and decisions made for them e.g. new developments to meet the housing objectives, conservation of the historic buildings or streets etc. The traffic management system came into force since 1970 rather than building only new roads in the city and at boundaries.

The main problem of the City of Bath is the congestion within the city by through traffic because most of the traffic in city has an origin and destination in the city. The following figures show the mode of transport in the City of Bath to travel to work as:

The table above represents that the all the residents which are living and working in Bath or outside the city and vice-versa, are mostly dependent upon their own vehicles especially car is the most common mode of travel.

But in case of comparison with other area in the district and national level, the figures in following table represents that the residents within Bath are more dependent upon private mode of transport i.e car or on the walk which is much higher as compared to other areas & at National level but

more interesting point is that the City of Bath has percentage of residents who has no car as compared to other areas and National level.

These figures clearly show that the private mode of transport is creating congestion in the City of Bath and through traffic generated by them. Parking and pedestrian safety are also important issues in the City of Bath.

Problems/Issues in City of Bath: –

Traffic problems have been a dominant issue in planning for Bath but the development of new major road schemes within the City is no longer seen as a solution. The emphasis now is on careful management of traffic and the integration of policies for use of land in order to make the best use of existing road space and minimise the congestion, pollution and danger caused by vehicles.

The road and rail network are at capacity and congestion across the area is a problem in terms of journey times and public transport travel times, a key impediment to maintaining a healthy economy. Congestion is also affecting air quality and in areas of Bath City Centre air pollution has reached levels that are higher than the Government recommended acceptable limits.

The lack of parking spaces and their capacity is also an important issue and recent studies have indicated that there is a greater need for pedestrian management schemes, such as improved signing of information etc, and areas given over to pedestrian priority.

Heritage & Management: –

The city is internationally known for its Roman and Georgian heritage and archaeology, its culture as a spa that stretches back over two thousand years, the innovative architecture and town planning, and the harmony between the city and the landscape. The city of Bath was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987 for its unique and outstanding universal value for its Historic character. The city is a blend of history and modern life, continually changing, growing and adapting to modern requirements which attracts approximately 3.7 million tourists each year and lies on strategic road & rail transport routes. The City of Bath has a close relationship between the success of modern city and heritage due to the wide range of business, industries and regional centre for employment, shopping and entertainment etc.

The City of Bath (World Heritage Site) is vulnerable to change and growth with the time, but this is both inevitable and desirable in a living city. There are threats to the fabric and character of the World Heritage Site and its setting, and uncontrolled or inappropriate change in these areas can become a threat to the very values for which Bath is inscribed as a World Heritage Site. So even to tackle these kinds of situations, the local authorities were much concerned about them. They identified various issues related with the World Heritage Site & its management etc. But along with these threats and vulnerabilities, the City of Bath has also many opportunities as a World Heritage Site which are helpful in many ways to the City of Bath.

To address those threats and vulnerabilities, incorporating opportunities, The B&NES and English Heritage prepared a World Heritage Site Management Plan for the City of Bath for the period of 2003-2009. They have identified various issues which are described as:

Problems/Issues in City of Bath: –

Due to the scale and complexity of site, numbers of people are involved in the management, ownership and cultural assets. So it’s really an important from management point of view which requires the coordination of a large number of disciplines and agencies

The protection of World Heritage Site is achieved only through the planning system of plans and designations so for the appropriate protection, and according to World Heritage Site criteria, a appropriate legal system is required because there are number of actions like risk assessment, mitigation & awareness campaigns etc which are necessary for the appropriate protection of World Heritage Site.

There are number of planning applications involved in the whole process as general due to the complexity of the site and the number of listed buildings.

There are number of new developments on the outskirts of the city which may or are degrade the historic fabric of the World Heritage Site which gives an authenticity and outstanding universal values to the site. So there is a need of development controls in and around the city keeping in mind the character of the city.

In the recent times, the condition of contemporary architecture is not good with the test of time & other physical changes in climate, due to which it doesn’t match with the historic architecture of the city. So it’s more challenging from integration of contemporary design into a historic environment.

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