Walcot Yard, Bath

Securing a new future for a challenging site

After years of declining use and poor maintenance, Walcot Yard had passed gradually into decay. It was in serious need of re-investment and re-use.

Working over 20 years, Nash Partnership has assisted investment owners London & Argyll to forge a new future for all four parts of the site. As architects and planners, we have worked on a series of development applications to combine a rare investment in new office floorspace with convenient living and working opportunities.

The project certainly had its challenges. Complex design and planning issues included the proposals to demolish the existing building and the impact on surrounding heritage assets. The site also posed issues, as it falls within the setting of a number of listed buildings and a conservation area as well as an archaeological zone. It was also subject to flood risk, transportation and contamination issues. Access was very tight and working on a confined site posed logistical issues. Other factors to consider included light levels and overlooking for future residents, and a 6m change in levels.

However, a thorough assessment of every issue meant our proposals for a new scheme were approved – a scheme which responds to the site’s constraints as well as its qualities. Final designs consider the character and contribution of the new buildings in their context, responding to the site’s surroundings as well as its past.

The development creates a unique and respectful place. It benefits from a private courtyard which adds to the rich character and diversity of Walcot Street, running perpendicular. The homes utilise a steep fall on the riverside site to hide parking away in an undercroft, and – reflecting their industrial surroundings – have a unique quality in the place they create.

The current phases are being delivered by local developer Kersfield. They show how a complex urban site surrounded by historic buildings can be developed to enrich urban character and bring new visual richness to this part of Bath.