Somerset

Roman Baths learning centre planning permission granted

Archway Project artist's impression Image copyright BANES
Image caption The Archway Project learning centre will be linked to the Roman Baths via an underground tunnel

A learning centre at a Roman bath has been given the go-ahead.

The Archway Project in Swallow Street, Bath, will offer school children "exciting hands-on sessions" with Roman artefacts.

Planning permission and listed building consent has also been granted for a World Heritage Centre in York Street.

Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES) said the project would also "open up new parts of the Roman baths for public access."

Image copyright BANES
Image caption The council hopes the learning centre and the World Heritage Centre will open in 2019

It said the learning centre would include an investigation zone set within the Roman remains, enabling school children to "explore and record archaeological materials", and an excavation area where they could unearth replica Roman objects.

Plans for the World Heritage Centre include "imaginative displays" to explain why Bath is "so special". Admission to the centre would be "free for everyone".

A second stage application to secure a grant of almost £3.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has now been submitted towards the £5m project.

The HLF is due to make a decision later this year.

The council said if the fundraising target is achieved, building work would start in summer 2017 - with the aim for the learning centre and World Heritage Centre to open in early 2019.

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