Decision details

Milsom Quarter Masterplan - Funding and Next Steps

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes


To consider the Masterplan for the Milsom Quarter and next steps following the close of the public consultation on the draft.


(1)  To delegate approval to the Director of Sustainable Communities, in consultation with the S151 Officer, to accept the £2.475m Investment Fund grant from the West of England Combined Authority. These funds will be spent over a three-year period in line with the Strategic Outline Business Case.

(2)  To delegate approval to implement the interventions set out within the business case to the Director of Sustainable Communities in consultation with the Cabinet member for Resources and Economic Development and the S151 Officer in accordance with the requirements of the Grant Funding Agreement.

(3)  To note the Consultation Report on the Milsom Quarter Masterplan (Appendix 1 of the report) and to endorse the Milsom Quarter Masterplan, accepting it together with the amendments sought (Appendix 2 of the report) as part of the evidence base for the New Local Plan.

(4)  To delegate approval to the Director of Sustainable Communities, in consultation with the s151 Officer, to establish arrangements that will allow surplus rental income from the Old Post Office (after holding costs) to be ring-fenced for use to support revenue costs associated with the Fashion Museum redevelopment project and to cross-subsidise meanwhile use projects which align with the vision and values for the Fashion Museum development.

(5)  To explore options, including the use of any existing or new powers introduced to support vibrant High Streets in the forthcoming Levelling up and Regeneration Bill, to expediate delivery of sites in private ownership that have viability challenges or have been long term vacant.

(6)  To instruct officers to explore all options (including for example, Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) options) available to enable the historic former King Edward’s School building to be brought back into use and to ask officers to bring back an update report on those options to the Cabinet meeting in February 2023.

Reasons for the decision:

The Council has prepared a Masterplan for the Milsom Quarter, working with other key landowners and stakeholders. The Masterplan champions high quality design of both buildings and the public realm to help revive and regenerate the northern part of the city centre which in recent years had seen significant decline in retail demand, with reduced footfall into the area and increased empty units. This decline had been accelerated by Covid 19.

The Council is a major landowner within the Milsom Quarter and can use its public sector assets to create opportunities for change and high quality, locally distinctive design and will lead the redevelopment of the area. The Masterplan and delivery strategy provide the Council with a comprehensive strategy for future development which will bring economic, environmental and social benefits to the area including restoring a sense of community and giving residents pride in their city centre.

The ambition of the Masterplan and overall project objective is to transform and re-imagine the future of the Milsom Quarter, creating a more viable, vibrant and diverse part of the city with a greater balance in the mix of uses, becoming less reliant on retail.

Alternative options considered:

To decline the grant and not progress the Milsom Quarter Masterplan to delivery, or to rescope projects which have been prioritised. However, given the case made for the need for public sector investment in the Strategic Outline Business Case and the significant proportion of Council owned property in this area, failure to intervene could lead to decline in this part of Bath’s city centre.

To not endorse the Milsom Quarter Masterplan, however, this would not complete the project, and would give the draft Masterplan ambiguous status. This alternative option is not favoured as it would impact on the Council’s ability to use the Masterplan to lever in further grants and funding and would also leave the project incomplete and responses to the public consultation unresolved.

To create a separate Supplementary Planning Document or similar from the Masterplan, however, integration into key policies in the emerging New Local Plan by using the Masterplan and background work is part of the evidence base, is considered to be more efficient, streamlined and effective.

Various options relating to the scope of the Strategic Outline Business Case focus were tested as part of a delivery strategy for the Masterplan, these options are outlined in section 1.6 of the Strategic Outline Business Case (included in Background Documents).

Work to demonstrate the economic and social value benefits of the Milsom Quarter scheme was prepared by Cushman & Wakefield, working with the Regeneration team, as part of the Strategic Outline Business Case. This analysis anticipates that the scheme will result in significant economic uplift (as summarised in Section 2 of the Strategic Outline Business Case, included in Background Documents) including:

a)  Creation of 88 FTE jobs and 647 construction job years

b)  Creation of 80 new homes (including affordable homes), with a further 100 new homes anticipated overall

c)  Fashion Museum significant GVA uplift (quantification redacted from SOBC as commercially sensitive)

d)  Public Realm and significant Net Property value uplift (quantification redacted from SOBC as commercially sensitive).



Report author: Simon Martin

Publication date: 10/11/2022

Date of decision: 10/11/2022

Decided at meeting: 10/11/2022 - Cabinet

Effective from: 19/11/2022

Accompanying Documents: