Dec 2011 – Jan 2012

Weeks 48-52

11/05038/FUL – Tanglewood, 14 Warleigh Lane, Bathford

Conversion of existing barn to a self-contained annex to the main house.

COMMENT The Trust does not object to the design scheme proposed, which is felt to be of an appropriate style and scale. However, we do suggest that any permission should apply a condition to ensure that this accommodation remains ancillary to the main house, so as to prevent an unreasonable bias in favour of it becoming a new dwelling in the green belt or AONB. We are also concerned that this application has been submitted without a Design & Access Statement which significantly undermines the ability to make a balanced and thorough assessment of the proposals. All applications of benefit from having a succinct Design and Access Statement being drafted and submitted for consideration, as they elaborate upon design process and choices made in the application can be assessed and understood.

11/05117/FUL – Manor Farm Cottage, Pump Lane, Bathford

Change of use and conversion of existing studio barn to holiday let accommodation including new pedestrian access from public footpath.

COMMENT The Trust does not object to the design scheme proposed, which is felt to be of an appropriate style and scale. However, we do suggest that any permission should apply a condition to restrict the use of the building as holiday accommodation only.

11/04694/FUL – Leigh Cottage, Sharpstone Lane, Freshford

Demolition of existing garage and addition of external insulation, render and cladding.

COMMENT The Trust suggests that greater detail about the material of the existing walling, beyond it being ‘stone’, is necessary to understand whether the cladding and render would be appropriate. However, we do not object in principle to its application onto this building, provided a lime render / Bath Stone colour can be applied. Any timber cladding ought to be untreated and of an indigenous wood, such as oak.

11/04511/FUL – Avalon Service Station, Lower Bristol Road, Westmoreland, Bath

Erection of 14no dwellings following demolition of existing garage building.

OBJECT The Trust strongly objects to this application, which we feel embodies a particularly poor attempt at meeting an acceptable standard of architectural and urban design quality. The Trust does not wish to comment on the principle of demolition or change of use at this site; however, the poor quality of the proposed development undermines any justification for the demolition of the existing garage. The urban design scheme proposed is particularly uninspiring; presenting a monotonous and uninspired scheme positioned around a car-focused cul-de-sac arrangement and represents a poor attempt at reflecting the local grain of development. A greater amount of variety in the size and type of the dwellings would help to counter the monotony of this urban design, and would help to create greater distinctiveness. The quality of the materials proposed is particularly objectionable, and the cumulative mix of reconstituted Bath Stone, reconstituted slate and uPVC windows will mire these developments even further. If Bath Stone and slate are to be employed they ought to be natural, and timber is preferable for fenestrations.

Such is the poor quality of this development that we feel it would also have a detrimental impact upon the setting of neighbouring Rackfield Place, a grade II listed terrace. The development does not respond appropriately to these buildings, and indeed would partially obscure them from view along the Lower Bristol Road. The difference in the quality of building materials would also clash unfavourably.

Whilst not making comment on the internal dimensions of these dwellings, we reserve concerns that the quantity of development proposed is excessive, and the houses appear distinctly crammed into the available land. Efficient use of land is understood as an important imperative in Bath, and though higher densities can help to achieve this it cannot be at the expense of basic amenity and good design. Indeed, higher densities demand higher standards of design in order to succeed. Furthermore, given the paucity of storage space between the houses, we retain concerns about whether storage of bins and refuse would be adequate. We also comment upon the site’s need for a flood-risk assessment and appropriate sequential testing in compliance with PPS25.

The poor quality of design within development will neither preserve nor enhance the City of Bath conservation area. This application is therefore contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1, BH2 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan and should therefore beREFUSED.

11/05208/FUL – Empty Premises, 3 New Bond Street Buildings, New Bond Street

Use of the highway outside the premises for the siting of 2no. Tables and 4no. chairs.

COMMENT The materials proposed for these tables and chairs are objectionable, and the polished aluminium seating and tables would be entirely incongruous to the traditional vernacular of Bath. Traditional materials, such as timber or natural wicker would be preferable and would make a positive contribution to the setting and street-scene at this location. Should the Officer be minded to approve then we urge that a condition be applied that these receive only temporary permission.

11/05115/LBA – Empty Premises, 3 New Bond Street Buildings, New Bond Street

External alterations for the display of 1no. non-illuminated hand painted fascia sign and window vinyls.

OBJECT While the Trust welcomes bringing these premises into use, we do not consider that vinyl is a sensitive or appropriate quality of material for use upon this shop frontage. This building is listed and in a prominent city-centre location at the heart of the Conservation Area. Signage should therefore respect the architectural qualities and character of Bath, and be of a traditional construction and appearance rather than vinyl lettering. By virtue of inappropriate design and material of the signage the work neither preserves nor enhances the character and appearance of the Conservation Area, and has harmed the special architectural and historic interest of the listed building. This proposal is contrary to policies D1, D2, BH1, BH2, BH6 and BH19 of the B&NES Local Plan and should therefore be refused.

11/04869/FUL – 1 Rose Cottages, Kilkenny Lane, Englishcombe, Bath

Erection of a two storey side extension, detached garage and provision of drive (Revised resubmission).

OBJECT The Trust objects to these proposals to extend this end terrace dwelling. The dwelling is located within the green belt and as such these proposals will have an impact upon the character and openness of the greenbelt. The extension, inclusive of the proposed garage, is of a size that is disproportionate to the existing dwelling and exceeds the 30% limit indicated by the SPD. The design’s inclusion of an additional roof ridge to the existing will also create an uneven and unattractive rhythm to the building. This application is contrary to policies D2, D4, GB1, GB2, HG15 and BH1 of the B&NES Local Plan and should be refused.

11/04606/FUL – Pack Horse Farm, Old Midford Road, Midford

Change of use and conversion of existing redundant barn building to 2no. Live-work units to incorporate new principal rider and grooms accommodation, addition of 2 stables to existing stabling for 7 event horses and conversion of existing outdoor turnout area / starvation paddock to an all-weather riding arena.

OBJECT The Trust objects to these proposals which would constitute inappropriate and undesirable development within the green belt and AONB. The erection of two additional stables on site and the associated activity would have an adverse impact on the character and amenity at this location. We observe that this is the third such application in the area to attempt to convert a barn into a dwelling, and we have deep reservations about the possibility that any permission for such a development may set an undesirable and dangerous precedent. We urge the Local Authority to be mindful of this, and the possibility of proliferating indirect development and spread of dwellings in the green belt.

Policies GB1 and ET9 suggest the re-use of existing buildings in the green belt for dwellings will not be permitted if the applicant has not made every reasonable attempt to secure suitable business re-use. The applicant has not clearly demonstrated why the barn can no longer perform its original function as storage, and therefore the proposal to create two dwellings at this location is not complaint with these policies. We suggest that if the immediate site proves unviable as an agricultural holding the barn could serve as storage for another farm, or as storage for other goods or materials. This would ensure that the barn retained a useful purpose. This application is contrary to policies GB1, ET9, BH1 and NE2 of the B&NES Local Plan and should be refused.

11/05057/LBA – 3 Cavendish Crescent, Lansdown, Bath

External alterations for replacement of hood porches at Nos. 3, 4 and 5 Cavendish Crescent.

OBJECT The Trust takes strong objection to the inadequate documentation which has been supplied with this application, which means that it is impossible to make a fair assessment of the proposal. There is no heritage statement, and the design and access statement scarcely makes any appraisal of the character and significance of these buildings. Nor does it provide any robust assessment of the historic fabric which is proposed to be replaced. Furthermore, the photographs provided are of such a poor quality as to be useless for the assessment of this application. We therefore have no alternative but to object to the application.

The canopies themselves appear likely to be a later addition to the buildings, rather than an original feature of their design. A proper heritage assessment would have shed light on this. If this is the case, and the canopies are all beginning to fail, the Trust would suggest that their removal from the whole of the Crescent might be considered in order to restore the original character and appearance of these buildings.

We note that the application refers to ‘like for like’ replacement. It is unfortunate that the information supplied fails to specify the materials used for the current canopies, and cannot justify whether the proposed mild-steel galvanised with aluminium is appropriate on these terms.

11/05146/FUL – Development Site Granville Road, Lansdown, Bath

Erection of 5no. detached dwellings.

OBJECT The Trust has looked carefully at the previous applications of a similar nature which have been submitted in this area, and we remain concerned that there is a risk of cumulative overdevelopment. Furthermore with an anticipated redevelopment of the Ensleigh MoD site next door, the quantity and quality of development on this site and the cumulative impact around this location is a critical issue. We urge the planning authority to consider the impact this is already having upon this sensitive and prominent part of the landscape in the World Heritage Site and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Trust recognises the Government demand that the best use be made of urban land, and we support B&NES’ commitment to implementing this policy in Bath. However this is not to be at the expense of other imperatives, such as retaining the purposes and values of the green belt, AONB & World Heritage Site.

The nature of this site breaks the logical green belt boundary and encroaches further down the hillside. At present, the site is predominantly garden space and so this encroachment is relatively unobtrusive; however, the quantity and scale of the dwellings proposed will change the characteristics of the site considerably. Bearing in mind the overall depth of the site and its constraints, we are concerned that this scheme represents over-development and that it would compromise the openness & setting of the Green Belt and AONB as well as negatively affecting the character and local distinctiveness of the Charlcombe Valley, especially given the absence of landscaping or trees proposed to screen these buildings from view.

Considering the design scheme itself, while we welcome the use of local materials and the cohesion of the design scheme with the neighbouring Crown Hill development, we remain unconvinced of the overall quality and appropriateness of the design and architecture of these buildings. We also consider that development of this type and quantity at this site will have an adverse impact upon the setting of grade II listed Ensleigh House, as the dwellings ‘hug’ the curtilage of this building along its most prominent boundary. These proposals will neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area, and would be harmful to the setting of Ensleigh House, the AONB and World Heritage Site. Therefore, on balance, we object to this application. This application is contrary to policies D2, D4, NE2, NE3, BH1, BH2 & BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan and should therefore be refused.

11/05105/FUL – Bath Marina and Caravan Park, Brassmill Lane, Newbridge, Bath

Alterations to 6no. Existing moorings and the installation of 5no. Moorings with associated pontoons and infrastructure.

OBJECT The Trust objects to these proposals which we consider to be excessive and which would have a detrimental impact upon the environment along the Avon and the openness of the green belt. The proposals seek to nearly double the number of moorings along the river, which in itself will result in a marked impact upon the character along this stretch. The design and access statement indicates that this development is intended as a leisure and tourist facility, rather than for permanent residences. If this is to be taken on face value, then the proposed works are certainly of an excessive and invasive scale and quantity. The Trust considers that all that is necessary for tourist moorings is a safe pontoon with secure access up the bank to shops and local facilities. Permanent enclosed sitting-spaces are not a necessary for this purpose and therefore cannot justify the impact upon the topography and character of the river bank, in addition to probable loss of flora and fauna. The ramps onto the pontoons, by nature of their quantity and colour (a stark white) would also impact the openness of the green belt. This application would undermine the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage Site, and is therefore contrary to policies BH1, GB1, GB2, NE1, NE4 and NE12 of the B&NESLocal Plan and should be refused.

11/04997/OUT – 5 Grosvenor Bridge Road, Lambridge, Bath

Erection of two 3no. bedroom dwellings and two 4no. bedroom dwellings following the demolition of the existing dwelling, garage and swimming pool.

OBJECT The Trust does not take objection to the principle of development at this site and does not regret the proposed demolition of the existing dwelling, which is felt to have only a neutral contribution to the street scene, though demolition ought to be subject to a suitable design scheme being proposed. Furthermore, the Trust recognises the Government demand that the best use be made of urban land, and we support B&NES’ commitment to implementing this policy in Bath, though these proposals are felt to engender a crammed and overdeveloped site. We consider that the two dwellings proposed closest to the highway would be more comfortable were they two-bedroom dwellings rather than three-bedroom dwellings. This application is contrary to policies and D2, D4 of the B&NES Local Plan and should therefore be refused.

11/04747/FUL – Carriage Court, Circus Mews, City Centre, Bath

Change of use from 5 office units (Use Class B1) to 6 dwelling houses (Use Class C3) and associated alterations (Revised Proposal)

COMMENT The Trust does not wish to comment upon the detail of the proposals contained within this application, but does consider that the documentation provided with it is lacking and creates an undesirable ambiguity within the proposals. Specifically, we are concerned that this application has been submitted without a Design & Access Statement which significantly undermines the ability to make a balanced and thorough assessment of the proposals. All applications benefit from having a succinct Design and Access Statement being drafted and submitted for consideration, as they elaborate upon the design process so that choices made in the application can be assessed and understood.

11/04954/LBA – Flat 3, Bathford Manor, Manor Drive, Bathford

Internal alterations for the installation of innoglaze secondary glazing to all 6 sash windows of Flat 3 Bathford Manor.

COMMENT The Trust is supportive in principle of measures to improve the energy efficiency of historic buildings, and as such we recognise the benefit that secondary glazing could provide to this building in principle. However, the application documentation does not provide sufficient information and detail regarding the design and appearance of the glazing bar arrangement, which would be necessary to ensure that the integrity of the existing windows is protected.

11/05225/LBA – Café au Lait Ltd, 7 Pulteney Bridge, City Centre

External alterations for the retention of two external lanterns attached to the front of the shop [Retrospective]

OBJECT The Trust regrets that this application has been lodged retrospectively, particularly given its location in such a sensitive and prominent part of the City. The design and access statement does not provide adequate information or evidence to justify the installation of the proposed lamps. We recognise that the shop-front itself originates from 1975, and so loss or damage of historic fabric is not considered an issue in this instance. However, there is a key issue regarding the justification of lighting this shop-front and the impact of lighting and these lamps upon the character and appearance of Pulteney Bridge. In context, we consider that these lanterns are neither attractive nor appropriate in the historical context of Pulteney Bridge. We suggest that if Pulteney Bridge is to be lit there ought to be clear policy or guidance to ensure that appropriate fittings are used and that there is coherence between shop-fronts. This application is contrary to policies BH1, BH2, BH6 and BH17 of the B&NES Local Plan and should therefore be refused.

11/05199/REG03 – Ralph Allen School, Claverton Down Road, Claverton Down

Erection of a school building to provide an Applied Learning Centre and provision of an All Weather Sports Pitch with associated works and landscaping.

COMMENT Though this proposed development extends further into the green belt, the Trust recognises Ralph Allen School as a major existing site in the green belt, and also recognises the very special circumstances cited by the school to justify this development. Concerning the proposals to move the existing pitch and create a new all weather sports pitch, it is understood that this application makes no provision for lighting arrangements. We are concerned that this raises possibilities for later addition of lighting, particularly powerful floodlighting, of the pitch. Floodlighting of recreation pitches, particularly those on the hills surrounding Bath, creates a considerable amount of light pollution and undesirable glare, which should be prevented to preserve the character and landscape setting of the World Heritage Site. One current example is the light pollution visible as a result of the floodlighting at Beechen Cliff School, which is intrusive upon the landscape setting by night. As such, if permission is to be granted then a condition ought to either prevent the addition of flood-lighting or restrict its use to the early evening.

11/05383/REN – Transport Depot, Brougham Hayes, Westmoreland, Bath

Renewal of application 08/02199/FUL (Erection of new offices (Use Class B1) and associated works following demolition of the former depot building)

COMMENT The Trust has previously commented regarding the design proposals within application 08/02199/FUL, and does not seek to expand or amend the detail of those comments. We do recognise, however, the changes which have occurred in national and local policy since that application was drafted. PPS5 requires that any applications concerning heritage assets should be submitted with a description of the significance of the heritage assets affected and the contribution of their setting to that significance. In this instance, we support the Historic Environment Team’s consultation response to this application, which suggests that an assessment of the historic significance of the site and the impact upon heritage is now appropriate and necessary for the proper assessment of the original proposals.

Designed by Ice House Design