Artists want to grab a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to turn a bus depot in the middle of the River Avon in Bath into an arts island.

Currently used by First Bus, if it relocates Weston Island’s future could soon be up for grabs. Painting the 2.3-hectare site as the city’s “best kept secret”, campaigners at Bath Arts Depot want to develop it into a world-class arts quarter that will engage local communities.

Its future will be shaped in an update to Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Local Plan that proposes relocating Bath businesses to the island to free up land elsewhere for housing and office space.

But Nicola Turner, one of the group’s directors, said the authority had a golden opportunity to think big. “Let’s not just see the island as real estate, but rather see it as an opportunity to attract investment into the west of Bath. The island has two huge hangars, which could be made available to artists and performers from around the world, as well as creating space for the local community. ”

The plans include a gallery, studio, an outdoor sculpture park and an education programme.

Bath Arts Depot said: “As the bus depot relocates, we believe this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to reclaim the island for Bath and to fulfil its potential as a landmark destination linking Twerton to the city and connecting with the cycle routes and river experiences.

“Our project will give the riverside a stronger identity, nurturing the wellbeing of Bath’s residents and visitors.” S. Sumner, LDRS