Make forced to redesign controversial Bath supermarket
Conservationists still not satisfied despite retention of historic facade
Make has been forced to redesign a controversial £50 million project for Tesco in Bath because of protests from heritage campaigners.
But the reworked scheme has still been branded “clumsy and unsatisfactory” by objectors.
Make was hired by Tesco and developer St James Investments to create a 4,000 sq m store on the site of an industrial building previously occupied by the Bath Press.
The scheme, which the developer and council have promoted as a regeneration initiative, also contains 3,000 sq m of office space, 4,500 sq m of creative work units, plus 10 houses.
After local protests Make offered to retain the distinctive 1930s facade and chimney stack. It plans to turn the facade into a screen for public art, attached to the new development by steel bars across a footpath.
The Bath Preservation Trust welcomed the original features’ retention but said the steel frame was “unnecessarily bulky and obtrusive” and would detract from the art.
Save Britain’s Heritage reacted with “amused disbelief” to the new design, which it said “presents a clumsy and unsatisfactory solution which fails to integrate the retained façade into the new supermarket in any meaningful way”.
But Justin Nicholls, a partner at Make, defended the new plans.
He told This is Bath: “The design is based upon a series of overlapping parallel stone façades – the historic retained façade, then a series of contemporary façades: supermarket, creative workshops, offices and housing.
“The building elements between these are then infilled with brick in reference to the existing industrial buildings and the Georgian terrace where a presentable public stone façade is backed by a working brick construction.
“This design approach hopefully demonstrates how integral the heritage of the Bath Press has been to us and how important the retained façade is in providing a physical reference to this past while being central in defining a new contemporary character of this site for years to come.”