The Bathscape scheme area covers a hundred and one square kilometres, centred on the historic city of Bath and encompassing its landscape setting. Around 80% of the area comprises natural features including woodland, grasslands, river corridors, common land, parkland and green spaces that form the green setting of the World Heritage Site.
The Circular on the Protection of World Heritage Sites states:
‘The setting of a World Heritage Site is the area around it …. in which change or development is capable of having an adverse impact on the World Heritage Site, including an impact on views to or from the site.’
The boundary for the scheme largely follows that drawn up in the document ‘The City of Bath World Heritage Site Setting Supplementary Planning Document’ of 2013. Produced by Bath & North East Somerset Council the document describes the setting and its extension from the city as being dictated by the need:
- To include sufficient area around the WHS to protect the distinct character and relationship of the city to its surroundings
- To include sufficient area to include key topographic features of the setting such as river valleys and slopes including views from the WHS and key heritage assets to undeveloped slopes
- To incorporate areas which provide views of the WHS and its key heritage assets within their wider setting and which therefore reveal and provide understanding of the significance of the WHS
- To incorporate key historical sites, buildings and features associated with or revealing the significance of the WHS.
The boundary was reviewed for the Bathscape phase 1 bid as, unlike the planning document, the scheme is not constrained by administrative boundaries. As a result, based on a topographical review it was extended on its eastern edge into Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire where it had previously been curtailed at the district boundary.