Securing planning permission on behalf of a client always gives us a sense of fulfilment. But achieving this on one of the most prominent vacant sites in our home city of Bath brought an extra level of significance.

The original hospital building was designed by renowned Georgian architect John Wood in 1738. It was given royal approval in 1888 by Queen Victoria and became known as the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases. Latterly, it was more commonly referred to as the Royal Mineral Water Hospital – and more locally as simply ‘The Min’.

The hospital became part of Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust in 2015. In the following years, the hospital’s services were transferred to other locations in the city, including a newly constructed site at Combe Park.

PlanningSphere were appointed by the new owners of the site, The Fragrance Group, in 2018. The site’s historical and cultural significance – and location just a few doors down from our office – made this a project that was especially close to our hearts.

Following an iterative design development and planning process, B&NES Council granted planning permission and listed building consent in November 2021.

The permitted scheme comprises the conversion and extension of the former hospital building to create a 160-bedroom hotel with associated dining and ancillary facilities, along with a comprehensive scheme of landscaping. A parallel Scheduled Ancient Monument Consent was also secured.

This transformative project is expected to be completed by 2025, and we look forward to seeing the building becoming as revitalised as its former patients.

Image courtesy of Stride-Treglown