Bath City Council applied to the then Department of the Environment (DoE) for funding under the Derelict Land Grant (DLG) programme to undertake a series of reports looking at possible remediation options. This grant was not approved; however, Halcrow Engineers were appointed to carry out the studies. Following their assessment of potential stabilisation options, Bath City Council submitted a further application to English Partnerships under the Land Reclamation Programme (LRP) funding regime, following the demise of DLG in 1996. However, this funding application was unsuccessful. Given the considered opinion amongst engineering experts that the mines were highly unstable Bath & North East Somerset Council campaigned, with the help of MP Don Foster, for a funding stream to be established that would solve the problem. This resulted in the establishment in April 1999 of the Land Stabilisation Programme, managed on behalf of the Government by English Partnerships.Back to Top
Once the Derelict Land Clearance Order (Combe Down Stone Mines, Bath) was in place in August 2002, the project was able to get up to 100% funding. The Order, authorised by the Secretary of State, was necessary for the full stabilisation project to proceed. The Council submitted a number of applications for interim funding and the project proceeded piecemeal according to the level of funding approval, which meant that procurement was carried out for each stage rather than for the whole project. The Council did not want to stop the project because of the urgency of the situation and the safety risk posed by the mine, but was dependent on central government funding. A Stone Mines Project team was set up in 2000 within Bath & North East Somerset Council and small work sites were set up and expanded in phases.
Initially the two mines, Byfield and Firs, were not connected underground and two worksites were established, one outside Byfield mine entrance and the other on Firs Field. Following the redrafting of the bylaws concerning a constraint on the use of Firs Field, an underground link was established in 2004.Back to Top
In 2005, following a fall of c.200 tonnes of stone in the mines, it was concluded that the scheme needed to be intensified and a programme was agreed for the Main Scheme, with full project funding agreed in 2005. The main contractor Hydrock was appointed in 2007 and a large worksite was set up on Firs Field.
Once the main funding was in place, a framework was established for the Main Scheme contract and external project managers and quantity surveyor services were appointed.Back to Top