Nov – Dec 2011

Weeks 45-48

11/04548/FUL & 11/04549/LBA – Bluecoat House, Sawclose, City Centre, Bath

Internal and external alterations for change of use from mixed use within classes B8/D1 to a use within class A3 (Ground Floor and Basement) and class C3 (5 no. 1 bed flats), erection of single storey rear extension to replace existing and associated internal and external alterations and repairs including stone cleaning and secondary glazing.

SUPPORT The Trust gave its support to the previous proposals for alterations to this building. Upon reviewing these revised proposals, we maintain our position and will reiterate our support for this application which will bring this currently disused listed building back into an active use. Continued use and occupation is key to maintenance, upkeep and long term survival. Whilst there is some regret that this building cannot continue to have a community use, the Trust does not object to the proposed use of this building for a restaurant and apartments and will at least in part be accessible to the public.

We are particularly pleased to see proposals for sensitive repairs and cleaning to the exterior of the building, and we are satisfied that the proposed internal and external changes will not harm the historic fabric of the building or its special character.

The two issues we raised previously appear to remain outstanding, and so we will reiterate them for consideration: – We consider that the loading of supplies for the restaurant would be better taken place via Bridewell Lane rather than Upper Borough Walls. – It also ought to be considered at this stage whether there are any requirements for external advertising for the restaurant, and if so, where they might be appropriately placed. Detailed proposals should form part of separate listed building and advertisement consent applications. We would welcome the opportunity to engage with the applicants in the development of a suitable scheme.

111/04696/FUL – Newton Mill Caravan and Camping Site, Pennyquick, Newton St Loe

Siting of 17no static caravans to replace 28no caravan pitches (Resubmission).

OBJECT The Trust would not object to the proposal to site static caravans at this location if it can be ensured that they do not constitute a permanent development feature. Given that this location is within the green belt and the environs of the World Heritage Site, it is important that this application does not engender a situation at a later date which prejudices in favour of permanent development upon this site. We consider that it would be inappropriate to offer this application indefinite permission, and would prefer any permission to be conditioned to be temporary, lasting no longer than five years before review or renewal. This would help to mitigate any potential for this development to be viewed as a permanent fixture in the landscape of the green belt.

As such, the Trust objects to this application, unless it is given an appropriate condition to limit permission to five years. Without this in place, the proposals are considered to present a threat to the openness of the green belt and would therefore be contrary to policy GB1 of the B&NES local plan, and in such an instance should be refused.

11/04251/LBA – 174 Bradford Road, Combe Down, Bath

Alterations for the installation of PV solar panels to one roof face

COMMENT Valley roofs have been highlighted by the Trust in ‘its Warmer Bath’ publication as being potentially suitable places for solar panels and solar PVs on listed buildings. The Trust has previously offered general support for similar applications which ensure the sensitive installation of solar PVs on listed buildings provided that it does not compromise the special character of the building, causes no potential harm, damage to or loss of historic fabric and does not adversely impact upon wider views across the city. Furthermore, we expect that applicants should demonstrate that a range of alternative and less invasive measures have been explored to reduce energy use.

As such, the Trust considers that this proposal is acceptable in principle. However, regrettably this application, which has been submitted without a heritage statement and a Design & Access Statement which is only two-pages long, does not address the issues above. The relative depth and exposure of this valley roof suggests that these panels may be more exposed than those on some terraced roofs. While we are confident that this application would not have a detrimental visual impact to the north of this listed building, we regret that there has not been a more robust assessment of the visual impact to the south, in which the direction the panels will be orientated, or from wider views.

11/03899/LBA – 12 St James’s Parade, Bath

Internal and external alterations to repair and adapt the building as additional changing and storage facilities for the adjacent Mission Theatre and to create an internal connecting doorway between the two buildings.

SUPPORT The proposed works to the exterior would broadly enhance the architectural and historic significance of this building. Much of the existing joinery is to be retained despite its condition which will preserve the architectural and historic interest of the listed building. Sympathetic materials are detailed in the proposal – Cast Iron would be better than the aluminium rainwater goods proposed, but this is much better that UPVC. Although a new door in a previously external wall is proposed, the wall is now internal, and this element of the scheme is justified in the context of bringing a sadly neglected building back into a viable use.

11/04581/LBA – 7-8 Cheap Street, City Centre, Bath

Internal and external alterations for the refurbishment of the building; change of use of the first floor to residential and associated alterations to create 5no self-contained flats (net addition of 3 dwellings).

SUPPORT The Trust is broadly supportive of this proposal, which seek to bring the upper floors of this building into use. The proposed external alterations to the property appear to be sensitive and appropriate to the character of the building and its context. We further recognise the value of reusing existing building stock for meeting housing targets sustainably and maintaining vitality in the city-centre.

11/04509/FUL & 11/04510/LBA – Flat 1, 23 Henrietta Street, Bathwick, Bath

Internal and external alterations to include the provision of a separate entrance and repairs to external joinery.

COMMENT The Trust has not made an assessment on the internal works proposed within application. The Trust does not object in principle to the replacement of the existing window, which is recognised not to be original to the property; however, we feel that more detail and information must be provided by the applicant before a balanced decision can be taken. The application currently lacks information about the proposed glazing bar pattern or the profile of the replacement window. Furthermore, while the replacement window is specified as being double-glazed, there is no further information about the intended profile of the glazing. We suggest that only slim-line double glazing would achieve a profile appropriate to the age and character of this building, while the profile of a typical double glazed sash window would be too heavy and uncharacteristic of a building of this age.

11/04622/LBA – 14 Kingsmead Square, City Centre, Bath

External alterations for structural repairs to rear elevation to make the wall structurally stable without impacting the building’s appearance.

COMMENT The Trust claims no special expertise in structural engineering or surveying, and so these comments are provided speculatively. The cracking observes along the wall described in this application has manifested itself in a seemingly random pattern, which suggests that it is possible more localised structural problems may be at work. One example can be seen in the large photograph of the lintel, where there appears to be a new stone under the right hand corner which may be undersized causing the lintel to drop and crack. We also query the type of mortar which was utilised during the 2008 repairs, which if too hard may account for some of the cracking. The proposed Cintec anchors are an extreme and invasive solution, which ought to be avoided if possible, and so we suggest that a period of monitoring would be prudent to highlight the cause of the cracking and, if appropriate, provide stronger justification for the use of these anchors.

11/04587/FUL – 5 Kingsmead Square, City Centre, Bath

Change of use of 4/5 Kingsmead Square (Sui Generis) to café (Class A3)

COMMENT The Trust has no objection to the use of this building as a café in principle, which is felt to be a suitable use considering the location. Nonetheless, such a change in use is one that we anticipate may engender further changes or development which may contribute to clutter in the street-scene. In particular, we are concerned that such a use may later seek the siting of chairs and tables in front of the building or additional signage and A-boards. The clutter that this would cause would be a visual detriment to the special character of this building. We suggest that should the officer be minded to approve that this application be appropriately Conditioned to prevent the installation of seating, tables, and other associated paraphernalia.

11/04385/FUL – West Cornwall Pasty Co, 4a Burton Street, City Centre, Bath

Use of the public highway for the siting of 4no tables and 12no chairs (retrospective)

OBJECT Using the public highway for private seating at this sensitive and prominent location in the city-centre serves only to contribute to visual clutter. In addition the materials proposed are also objectionable, particularly the polished aluminium seating which entirely incongruous to the traditional vernacular of Bath. The Trust considers that this proposal is both unnecessarily garish and assertive, and would neither preserve nor enhance the City of Bath Conservation Area and has an adverse effect on the the setting of listed building and detracts from the special qualities of the World Heritage Site. We also regret that this application has been lodged retrospectively, which illustrated a disregard of the appropriate planning processes. This application is therefore contrary to policies BH1, BH2, and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan and should therefore be refused.

11/04448/FUL – 1 Milsom Place, City Centre, Bath

Change of use of units 1 & 2 Milsom Place from Use Class A3 to Use Class A1 and units 3-7 Milsom Place from Use Class A1 to Use Class A3.

OBJECT The Trust takes no particular position upon the proposals for change of use of these units. However, this application has implied physical alterations to the structure of this listed building without supplying sufficient detail of what changes are being proposed. The planning statement accompanying this application makes reference to the installation of a flue as an exhaust for air-conditioning on units 5-7. Furthermore, the applicant suggests that the detail of this flue’s installation ought to be agreed by a separate application as secured by a Condition to any permission for change of use. The physical alteration to the exterior connected to the proposed use ought to be considered through a listed building application in parallel with this planning application as the principle of the proposed use cannot be determined without a proper assessment of the impact on the listed building. Determination of this application without adequate consideration of the impact on the significance of the listed building poses harm, and as such is contrary to PPS5, and B&NES Local Plan Polices BH1, BH2 and BH6 and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and should therefore be REFUSED.

11/04686/AR – Pump Room & Roman Baths, Abbey Churchyard, City Centre, Bath

Display of 2no non-illuminated posted boards.

COMMENT The Trust is generally supportive of the desire to realign the poster boards with the fenestration at the entrance to the Pump Room. Though the reference to ‘brickwork’ is completely inappropriate for the limestone walls of this universally significant building! The proposed location of the replacement poster boards is considered to be much more appropriate aesthetically. We hope that this can be achieved without further invasion or damage to the stonework. However, we raise some concern about the materials that have been selected for the new poster boards. Neither powder coated aluminium nor Perspex are considered to be sympathetic or appropriate materials for use within a building of this prominence and significance in Bath. Perspex is particularly prone to tarnishing and scratching, and as such is not considered a durable material. We suggest that more traditional materials such as timber and toughened glass would be more sympathetic.

11/04465/LBA – 21 Cumberland House, Norfolk Crescent

Internal and external alterations for the installation of a valiant combination boiler, controls and flue and replacement of outdated storage heaters with radiators.

COMMENT The Trust is supportive in principle of measures to improve the energy efficiency of historic buildings. This application however fails to demonstrate whether alternative options have been explored in the process of arriving at this solution. The Design and Access statement also does not address the impact the appearance of the flue will have on the character and appearance of this listed building, or justify the benefit to outweigh any harm. An options appraisal would be helpful. A further difficulty with this application is the poor quality of the drawing provided, which do not make it clear from which façade the flue will be emerging. However, we recognise and support the applicant’s suggestion that the flue be finished in the same colour as the stone work and will use lime mortar. This building is located in a highly significant and sensitive part of the City and reflects the Outstanding Universal Values of the World Heritage Site. When considering the position of a boiler flue in sensitive historic areas the vertical discharge through existing stacks is the least intrusive option. If the air brick is redundant then this should be repaired with a Bath stone infill.

11/04519/LBA – Saracen’s Head, 42 Broad Street, City Centre

External alterations for the addition of 2no. new wall lanterns to external entrance elevation.

OBJECT The style of the lanterns attempts to achieve a ‘period’ effect; however, in practice this misfires and adds an overly ‘twee’ element to this historic façade. Furthermore, we consider that the size of these lanterns are excessive considering the proportions of the entrance façade. We are concerned about the copper material. Untarnished, it seems the lamp would appear too shiny, while the oxidised surface is sure to turn green, neither of which are considered a sympathetic or congruous finish within the Bath vernacular. Brass would have been a more suitable material in this instance.

These proposals are harmful to the character and setting of this listed building, and neither preserve nor enhance the City of Bath conservation area. This proposal is contrary to PPS5, B&NES Local Plan Polices BH1, BH2 and BH6 and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and should therefore beREFUSED.

11/04917/LBA – 13 Beauford Square, City Centre, Bath

External alterations for the installation of Christmas illuminations.

OBJECT Disregarding the subject matter of the display the proposed works will necessitate the installation of six anchors into the primary façade of 13 Beauford Square, necessitating drilling into the ashlar frontage of the building. Drilling into the frontage of listed buildings is objectionable even for permanent signs and advertisements, so the ephemeral nature of Christmas lights make such an installation and damage to historic fabric entirely unjustified and unacceptable. The Trust feels that the proposal is further undermined by a poor justification for the works required to mount this display upon this listed building.

Christmas lights mounted within the city centre have a commercial and wider social justification, which does not extend to this proposal. These fixings, which the applicant suggests as a precedent, are used on a yearly basis to mount the City’s Christmas display, minimising the intrusion upon the historic fabric of these buildings. It would be inappropriate to permit private residences to mount such anchors for temporary displays upon other listed buildings, since it would harm not only the fabric of the building but could also lead to a cumulative impact if such installations are seen as permissible.

The Trust suggests that the applicant considers other alternative measures of mounting their desired display, and in particular suggests that projection mapping of the building could provide such an alternative. Projection mapping is an effective and completely non-invasive technique which is used across the world to transform buildings into dynamic and illuminated canvasses. This has in fact already been done with Bath Abbey, with impressive results that did not leave permanent damage upon that building.

These proposed illuminations and methods of fixing would harm the special character of this listed building, neither preserve nor enhance the conservation area, and will fail to protect the special qualities of the World Heritage Site. The proposal is contrary to policies BH1, BH2, BH6, (and BH17) of the B&NES Local Plan, PPS5 and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and should therefore be REFUSED.

11/04925/LBA – Basement Flat, 11 Cavendish Crescent, Lansdown, Bath

External alterations for replacement steps to front basement area.

OBJECT The Trust recognises the need to replace the existing and damaged staircase, and also recognises the desire to use metal instead of wood as a more durable and secure material for the replacement staircase. We also have no objection to the siting of the replacement staircase on the opposite side of the courtyard, particularly since this will reduce the visibility of the staircase.

However, we consider the contemporary and utilitarian design of the replacement staircase to be inappropriate and unsympathetic to the character of this listed building and the street-scene, which draws much of its character from the repetition of architectural detailing along the crescent. We suggest that a revised design which incorporates some detailing and period elements will harmonise the staircase with the character of the building. We also express some concerns and reservations about the decision to repaint the walls with masonry paint. This is particularly regrettable, as it misses and opportunity to remove the existing paint which may be causing considerable damage to the Bath Stone underneath, and restore the building facade to its original character.

In its current form this proposal is contrary to policies BH1, BH2 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan, PPS5, and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and should therefore be refused.

11/04390/AR – Mill House Audi, Prior Park Road, Widcombe, Bath

Display of 1no internally-illuminated fascia sign, 1no internally illuminated sign and 2no non-illuminated signs (Retrospective)

OBJECT The Trust will continue to object to illuminated signs within the City of Bath Conservation Area and in the World Heritage Site, and therefore objects in principle to these proposals for two internally-illuminated signs. Moreover, the materials that the applicant has selected are not considered to be sympathetic or appropriate at this location, and do not reflect the amenity value and local distinctiveness of the Widcombe area. Neither extruded aluminium, composite plastic, Perspex nor LED-lit formed plastic lettering can be considered part of the Bath vernacular, and as such these signs will appear incongruous to the character of the conservation area. The necessity to illuminate a sign outside of business hours, as the applicant has stated, is at best questionable, but from the Trust’s perspective is further illustration of that the illumination of these signs is wholly unnecessary.

On a general note, we consider that this application does not provide a sufficient level of information and detail to make a reasoned assessment. Specifically, the applicant has been vague about the exact siting and orientation of the signs proposed, and has provided little justification for the duplication of these signs. The Trust also takes a dim view of this flagrant breach of planning control, and this application having to be lodged retrospectively.

By way of the choice of materials, inappropriate and unnecessary illumination would be visually intrusive, would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area and would detract from the visual amenity value of the area. The absence information about the location and orientation of these signs further prevents a fair assessment of this application. The proposal is contrary to Policies, D2, D4, BH1, BH6 and BH 17 of the B&NES Local Plan and therefore should be refused.

11/04522/LBA – 2 Bennett Street, City Centre, Bath

Internal and external alterations to include alterations to the back door, removal of a non original clinker block wall and replacement of the existing electric panel heaters with new vertical radiators.

COMMENT The Trust wishes to make a general comment in relation to this application, and specifically the works proposed to the back door. It is considered that the existing back door is more appropriate to the age and character of this listed building than the proposed replacement, which would include glazing on the lower half. We suggest that the applicant give consideration to maintaining the existing door or replacing like for like.

11/04996/LBA – 2 Brock Street, City Centre, Bath

External alterations for the replacement of sash windows with Georgian bars, cleaning of stonework and removal of paint from porch, basement and window reveals.

COMMENT The Trust is generally supportive of the proposals to reinstate the glazing bars, and considers that the profile of the bars has been appropriately considered. We also are generally supportive of the desire to remove the paint from the porch, and consider the methodology proposed to be appropriate. In relation to the cleaning, we are also generally supportive of the applicant’s proposed works, since it is clear there are damaging deposits which would be better removed for the health of the stone. We suggest, however, that the cleaning ought to be localised and selective, since it would appear that parts of the stone have already been cleaned. We raise concerns that the eroded modillion mouldings appear to be in a fragile and friable condition, and as such use of a JOS system may cause further damage. A gentler method as outlined in the Cleaning Bath Stone technical guidance, published by B&NES and BPT, would be more desirable.

11/04759/LBA – 7 Charlotte Street, Kingsmead, Bath

Internal and external alterations for erection of a ground floor and basement extension and a timber carport following demolition of existing garage, conversion and refurbishment of existing upper and lower maisonette apartments into whole house occupation together with associated environmental upgrade measures.

SUPPORT The Trust offers its general support to this application, which is felt to be sympathetic and appropriately considered. The alterations proposed to the rear of the property are well justified through the foot-print and we also consider that the technical interior insulation elements have been properly considered by the applicant. The Trust supports the applicant’s decision not to damp-proof the basement, which is in line with the Trust’s general position regarding basements and vaults. With regards to the external alterations to the roof we have no objection to the proposed roof lights, since they will not disturb any historic fabric of the building. We also take no objection to the proposals to install solar thermal panels upon the roof. We have not considered the proposed internal alterations as without a site visit we have limited understanding of the impact, however if the rooms do not have significant architectural details such as plaster work and cornices we would support internal wall insulation in principle on Condition that it is regularly monitored as used a pilot for this approach to traditional construction.

11/04515/FUL – Field Parcel 7712, Tow Path, Kennett and Avon Canal, Bathampton

Erection of a temporary agricultural dwelling to the west of Meadow Lane, Bathampton. (Retrospective)

OBJECT The Trust objects in principle to this development which is insufficiently justified and undermines the purposes of the green belt. We strongly urge the local planning authority to refuse this application.

The site is located in a sensitive location within the green belt, and within the environs of the World Heritage Site. The erection of any dwelling at this location is objectionable in principle, as it poses a threat to the openness of the greenbelt at this location. We further consider that the poor quality design and appearance of this dwelling compounds this issue. Development at this location, particularly of a poor quality and inappropriate nature would also undermine the setting of the World Heritage Site, which is outstanding universal value.

Planning policy guidance note 2 (PPG2) and Policy GB1 of the B&NES Local Plan rules that there is a presumption against development within the greenbelt and that construction of new dwellings in the green belt is inappropriate, though an exemption is offered for development associated with agriculture and forestry. We dispute that this application qualifies for this exemption, since the primary purpose of the development is as a dwelling, rather than land for an agricultural use. The site is itself too small to be considered a viable agricultural holding on its own account, the structure too is of an insufficient size to accommodate any agricultural activities, which suggests that if the applicant is seriously suggesting this as a sustainable business, that this application could be followed by others for further structures to accommodate agricultural activities at this location. Neither has the applicant demonstrated ‘very special circumstances’ which circumvent this protection.

The proposed dwelling is therefore clearly inadmissible under current rules and policies protecting the green belt. Since the green belt is to remain protected under the proposed NPPF, we do not anticipate that these proposals will become any more admissible in future.

The Trust takes a dim view of this breach of planning control, and this application having to be lodged retrospectively, particularly in light of the planning history of this site. Considered in relation to other applications of a similar nature around Bath, and we hold a very serious concern about the potential of setting a precedent if this application were to receive permission. In view of the non-planning related comments that we note have been submitted, urge the planning authority to maintain focus upon the green belt issues, which are central to the consideration of this application.

This application is contrary to PPG2, and policies GB1 and BH1 of the B&NESLocal Plan and should therefore be REFUSED.

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