Mulberry Park November 2017
The Trust has responded to plans for the Phase 2 of the Mulberry Park scheme, which includes 2 large apartment blocks overlooking the new park and with city views. Our primary concern is that the proposals look to use every centimetre of the available height agreed at outline stage, creating flat roofed monolithic buildings that will, we believe, be visible from the city and will therefore harm one of the most important qualities of the WHS, the wooded green undeveloped landscape ridge of the bowl in which the city sits. We strongly call for a reduction in the height of these buildings and for roof articulation to ensure this scheme blends more comfortably with its wooded city-facing context. In addition we felt the proposed ‘anywhere’ architecture takes no reference from local or city-wide context, and the use of extensive bronze coloured cladding is at odds with the Bath materials palette. You can read our response here.
Hollis Building, Lower Bristol Road, Twerton (August 2017)
The Trust’s committee reviewed plans for this proposed student accommodation unit adjacent to Twerton Mill and the Weston Bus Deport on Lower Bristol Road. Aside from our usual objection to yet another purpose built student accommdation (PBSA) we felt that the site was at risk of being over developed with a large and bulky form that provided no links to the river or any outside amenity space. In particular the very tall west elevation was of concern, being blank and overbearing in the domestic scale townscape. You can read our detailed objection response here: Hollis Building, Twerton
Lansdown Ridge (summer 2017)
The Trust has been increasingly concerned regarding the cumulative landscape encroachment and harm that occurred as build out of permitted applications has occurred on Granville Road by the MOD Ensleigh site. The once wooded and relatively undeveloped ridge has been overtaken by hard built forms and the green skyline of Bath in this area (part of the Outstanding Universal Value of our WHS status) has been lost. Two applications came forward for further development on the ridge this summer (Mawingo 17/02264/FUL and Ensleigh Cottage 17/023311/FUL), both of which were deficient in that they did not examine landscape harm or provide Landscape Visual Impact Assessments, and both schemes were overly large and visually intrusive on their small plots. We are pleased that B&NES has taken on board our concerns and those of other stakeholders and case officers are carefully assessing these applications to ensure that further harmful impact is avoided.
Herman Miller Building, Locksbrook (June 2017)
The Trust has been heavily involved in consultation regarding the refurbishment and repurposing of this important Grade II factory building which is to become the Art & Design School headquarters for Bath Spa University. The application for these works was submitted in May. The proposed repairs and renovation of the building are largely highly sensitive, appropriate and commendable, as is the way in which the University and their team of architects and planners have conducted their extensive research and assessment of the significance and particular needs of the building and its fabric. The only concern has been the proposed roof top pavilion which gives the university much needed extra space but which also changes the character of the listed building. After extensive discussions with the scheme’s architect ( who is the original architect of the scheme Sir Nicholas Grimshaw), the 20th Century Society and other stakeholders, a solution has been agreed that includes a roof top pavilion but with materials, siting and massing that is the best possible option to complement the listed building and retain its unique significance. You can read our response here.
The American Museum (June 2017)
The Trust has responded to major plans put forward by the American Museum for a new planting scheme, accessible pathways, a new entrance driveway and two new entrance pavilions on the site of the current summerhouse. This proposal is part of an ambitious masterplan by the museum to increase visitor numbers and enjoyment of this unique attraction. Our response to the scheme can be found here.
The Archway Centre (Summer 2016)
The Trust has been pleased to support the planning application for the Archway Centre in Swallow Street which will incorporate a World Heritage Site centre with education spaces. This project, which is supported by HLF grants, will open up more areas of the Roman Baths as well as allow for much increased education and interpretation activity regarding the WHS. The scheme is situated in the Old Laundry on Swallow Street and will include a contemporary extension echoeing the rooftop water tank of the old laundry building.
Walcot Yard (September 2016)
A scheme for 7 townhouse style dwellings is proposed on the backlands site of the old ‘Walcot Rec’. Unfortunately the proposals include the demolition of the old workshop building due to its instability. The Trust’s main concern regarding this scheme is the further loss of artisan workshop space that is cumulatively eroding the traditional artisan industry character of Walcot Street. Whilst we understand the need for residential units, we question whether some provision could be made for ground floor creative workspace in order to maintain at least some of the character of this important historic street. You can read our full comments here: Walcot Yard
Colonnades – Grand Parade (May 2016)
In Spring 2016 a new application for restaurants and a museum space within the Colonnades was submitted. The Trust has objected to this application on the basis that we cannot see how any scheme in the Colonnades can be a success unless a higher level masterplan for open access from Parade Gardens and the overall area (including the historic Boatstall Lane and the Victoria Art Gallery) is produced. We do however welcome the opening up and revitalisation of this important heritage asset. Our full response is here:Colonnades Grand Parade.
In July 2016 the scheme was considered by the Development Management Committee and it was permitted. The Trust is disappointed that B&NES has not take the opportunity here to ensure that this historic area becomes fully accessible to the public, as it stands the space will be mainly exclusive to restaurant goers.
Hinton Motors (Pegasus Homes) – Upper Bristol Road (Jan 2016)
The Trust has commented on design and height/massing issues with this development for assisted living units with a wellness centre and café in a prominent location near the city centre. The Trust supports in principle the development of this site and the repair of the streetscape. We have some concerns outlined in our response: Hinton Motors site and in a subsequent comment: Hinton Motors2. In May 2016, after further revisions to the scheme, we submitted a further comment: Hinton Motors 3.
In July 2016 the scheme was refused by the case officer on the basis of harmful impact on the surrounding historic area and riverside, partly from building heights. It has now gone to Appeal.
The Old Gas Works – Windsor Bridge (Jan 2016)
The Trust commented on this application that whilst we have no serious reservations design-wise and we noted that pre-app comments on design issues had been taken into account in the final submission, we did have concerns about the proposal for a wholly student use for this site in this mixed use neighbourhood. You can read our response here: Old Gas Works site. In July 2016, after revisions to the scheme, we submitted a further response in which we objected to what we see as a step backwards in terms of the treatment of the riverside blocks. You can read this response here: Old Gas Works.
In July 2016 the scheme was refused on the basis that a complete student accommodation development would detract from much needed local housing supply in this area, and that the proposed riverside blocks remained too high and thus harmful to local character.
Pinesgate (Dec 2015)
December saw the submission of a new planning application for the Pinesgate site. The Trust still has serious concerns about the overbearing height, scale and bulk of the proposed development. You can read our response here: Pinesgate response 12.15. In February 2016 the application was heard at Development Management Committee and despite the case officer’s recommendation to refuse (and the objections of the Urban Design Officer and Historic England amongst others) the scheme was permitted by the committee. The Trust has contacted the DMC members to raise our serious concerns regarding the soundness of the decision and the potential significant harm to the World Heritage Site and conservation area that this scheme will cause. The Trust has also requested that the decision be ‘called-in’ to the Secretary of State for review but unfortunately this request was refused.
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