The Lansdown Plateau

Redeveloping a former Ministry of Defence site.

For over 70 years, a visitor’s first view across the Lansdown Plateau of the World Heritage City of Bath was of the monotonous single-storey brick buildings of MoD Ensleigh. This started to change in 2016 as demolition of the former MoD buildings on the 9ha site began. Today, a new western gateway is taking shape with a new neighbourhood of 247 houses, complete with shop, park, new primary school and elderly accommodation.

Creating a masterplan

The Lansdown Plateau offers residents convenient access to Bath, while enjoying direct access to open countryside. The site sits on the plateau of Lansdown Hill on the Western outskirts of Bath.  From the city centre it can’t be seen.  Bath, however, is surrounded by hills and from other important viewpoints with features of historic interest, the site was visible and the impact of development required careful consideration.

We decided that the masterplan for Ensleigh should respond to the rural context surrounding the site. Our approach focused on creating attractive, pedestrian-friendly streets and public places. The listed buildings of Beckford’s Tower and Ensleigh House, a line of mature trees and pedestrian footpaths beyond the site provided reference points to connect to.  Our concept was to have a very large formal area of public open space at the heart of the layout acts as a focal point from which a grid of residential streets of different scales and character would radiate.

A collaborative approach

We worked on this project since 2013 to provide masterplanning, consultation, urban and architectural design. Political engagement and buy-in has been essential to push the project through the planning system. Our team worked closely with the local authority to manage expectations of how much the site could offer both physically and commercially.

Creating a new neighbourhood

The aim was to create a new community with a distinctive identity, strongly routed in the character of the place.  It is now a new part of the city and welcomes residents and neighbours into its heart and connects the countryside and historic routes that surrounds it. The overall development will provide 347 houses, an elderly care facility and a new primary school.

For more information about the project, watch this video from IM Land.