Plans for a new self-storage facility in Bath that could help support one hundred jobs have been given the go ahead.

Vanguard landed planning permission to redevelop the former Regency Laundry site on the Lower Bristol Road at Bath and North East Somerset Council ’s planning committee on Wednesday, 28th June.

Head of property at Vanguard, Mike Lamplough, told the committee that the facility would help to tackle the “chronic shortage” of industrial space in Bath. He said: “Self-storage is very attractive to business customers. At our Bristol store which we built in 2019, they account for more than 50% of the utilised space.”

He added: “We estimate that more than 100 people are employed by businesses operating from our Bristol store. The council want to retain employment use on this site in Bath and we expect the numbers to follow the same trend.”

But the Bath Preservation Trust objected to the size and design of the building with chief executive Alex Sherman telling the council: “The standardised,anywhere, off the peg approach proposed very clearly would not contribute positively to local distinctiveness or the site’s townscape context.”

Despite reservations about the design, councillors voted to grant planning permission for the plans.

Shaun Hughes, councillor for Midsomer Norton North, said: “I think the Lower Bristol Road has taken more than its fair share of residential in recent times. […] I am very happy that this is going to remain some sort of commercial site.”

Lansdown councillor Lucy Hodge said she approved of how the site would be used but added: “I not happy about the design really and I really would like to see our committee aiming for better design.”

She added that the height of the building could reduce sunlight in neighbouring gardens.

The new building will be taller than the current disused laundry building, but will be set further back from the road. The sides of the building will have metal cladding, while the front will be mostly glass with a section of Bath stone.

Like their premises in Bristol, the new Bath facility will have a plane suspended above the entrance lobby. Asked what it could be, Mr Lamplough said: “We haven’t decided yet.”

He added: “We’ve got the Lightning [in Bristol] and the Hunter in London. It will be something else.”

But one neighbour who submitted a comment on the council’s planning portal said: “I think it’s distasteful to have a weapon of war design to kill people hung in the entrance. Why not a peaceful plane? Or a reconnaissance plane?”

“I’d find it distressing to look out at guns and missiles pointing at my home.”

LDRS, John Wimperis