Somerset

Bath's new heritage centre plans unveiled

Bath Heritage Centre plans
Image caption Underground spaces will be opened up to the public

Rundown Victorian buildings near the Roman Baths in Bath may be transformed as part of plans for a heritage centre.

The plans also involve using existing underground spaces and building a tunnel to link to the famous landmark.

In the application, the council's heritage team said the centre would improve "understanding and enjoyment" of the Roman Baths, and explain why Bath is a World Heritage site.

Bath and North East Somerset Council is due to decide on the plans in November.

Image caption Disused Victorian buildings will be transformed

A proposal has been submitted detailing how it will take shape.  

It involves converting three Victorian Spa buildings into the centre, and using the underground space as well.

Previously unseen areas of the Roman Spa complex, such as a Roman laconicum (similar to a sauna) and a possible Roman exercise yard will also be opened up.

The project has secured £3.4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Image caption The centre will attract 100,000 visitors a year, the council's heritage team said

Cabinet member for communities at Bath and North East Somerset Council, Paul Crossley, said: "Until now there has been nowhere in Bath for residents and visitors to find out why the city of Bath is a World Heritage site. 

"The centre will be free to enter and will have displays showing why Bath has World Heritage status, but most importantly it will encourage visitors to go out onto the streets and see it for themselves. 

"The new spaces will be accompanied by exciting community events, activities and learning opportunities - from well-being courses for local community groups, to a dig pit where schoolchildren can unearth replica Roman objects."

The centre, if approved, will open in 2020 and is expected to attract 100,000 visitors a year.

Image caption The heritage centre will show why the Roman Baths and the city as a whole is a World Heritage site

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