The future of Sir James Dyson’s £56m design and engineering school in Bath is under threat ahead of a planning vote by local councillors on Wednesday. Sunday Times

The vacuum-cleaner entrepreneur, who wants to build a centre to teach 2,500 teenagers a week and start a diploma to reduce Britain’s shortage of engineers.

But council officers earlier this month recommended rejection of the scheme on the grounds that it would damage the historic character of the proposed site, a former craneworks. The Environment Agency is also arguing that the centre would pose an increased flood risk to the city.

It is the latest setback for the project, conceived four years ago on a site initially suggested by the council.

“Frankly it’s bewildering,” said Dyson. 'The same people who offered South Quays, and who we’re negotiating with to buy the site, are now jeopardising the school. Why? We have redesigned to the satisfaction of English Heritage and we’ve safeguarded against flooding. And yet seemingly it’s not enough.'