Aug – Sept 2011

Weeks 37-40

11/03321/FUL & 11/03322/AR & 11/03651/FUL – 9 Southgate Street, Bath

Display of 1no internally-illuminated fascia sign and 1no internally-illuminated hanging sign. Use of the public highway for the siting of 8no tables and 16no chairs.

OBJECT Whilst the Trust has previously conceded that the Southgate shopping centre is able to tolerate a more unconventional design approach compared to the rest of Bath, we will continue to object to illuminated signs in the conservation area. The proposed illumination of the lettering for this sign is a completely inappropriate form of advertising in the World Heritage Site within close proximity to listed buildings. It is also disappointing to see the poor quality of materials proposed here, principally acrylic – a higher quality of material ought to be expected in the conservation area regardless of the contemporary age of the building.

We regret that the proposed development at this site is already underway, and indeed began despite public consultation being open at the time. We consider this presumption to be contemptuous of public consultation and the wider planning process.

The inappropriate and visually intrusive illuminated sign and materials would be harmful to the visual amenity value of the location and would neither preserve nor enhance the character of the conservation area. The proposal is considered contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1, BH6, BH17 and BH19 of the B&NES Local Plan and should therefore be refused.

11/03885/FUL & 11/03888/LBA – Rose Cottage, Pipehouse, Freshford, Bath

Provision of 2no dormer windows, erection of link to outbuilding and erection of a new oak framed garage barn.

OBJECT The Trust welcomed the opportunity to discuss proposals with the architect prior to the submission of this application and has previously noted concerns about the dormer window to the front and the size and materials of the extension to the stair tower. . In our pre-application discussions we expressed concern about the installation of dormer window to the front which has since been amended to a more acceptable vernacular style, which is a recurrent feature within local dwellings of a similar age. However, we remain concerned that the design of the proposed extension of the stair tower will harm the special character of this listed building. Whilst we recognise that evidence suggests that the stair-tower would have extended to the roof level we are concerned about the size and design of the contemporary style dormer proposed to top the stair-tower. The apex of the dormer reaches nearly the height of the main roofline, and the volume of the dormer will present an overbearing and unbalancing aspect to the rear-facade. We are also unsure that the contemporary design solution is appropriate to this building, with the glazing of the gable-end appearing excessive and uncharacteristic in contrast. We would encourage a more modest approach that harmonises with the shape of the original stair-tower. We are also concerned that the amount of glass at this level would be visually intrusive into views, and may have a harmful effect on the visual amenity of the Green Belt.

We do not wish to comment upon the remainder of the proposed alterations which are considered to be uncontentious.

The Trust therefore on balance objects to the design of the proposed development in its current form. The rear roof extension in particular would have a detrimental effect on the character and significance of the listed building. and would be contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1, BH2 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan, and PPS5.

11/03430/FUL – 1 Beauford Square, City Centre, Bath

Replace all existing single glazed aluminium and steel crittal framed windows to the front and rear elevations with new double glazed aluminium units to match existing layout and style, replace aluminium and timer glazed entrance doors to the residential dwellings with new double glazed aluminium doors (at no 5-111 & 23-29 Barton Street and no 1-5A & 21-24 Beauford Square, Bath)

COMMENT The Trust supports the principle of these efforts to improve the energy efficiency of these buildings. However, we would like to comment upon the choice to use aluminium frames in the replacement windows. Whilst we recognise the applicants’ desire to minimise any changes to the aesthetic of these buildings, this proposed development presents an opportunity to enhance these buildings which currently have a neutral to negative impact upon the street-scene and the conservation area. We suggest that the applicant consider installing timber framed windows instead to replace the existing steel and aluminium, since this material is much more aesthetically sympathetic and reflective of Bath’s palette of materials, and would do more to positively enhance the character of the conservation area, and the setting of listed building. .

11/03877/FUL – 11 Old Newbridge Hill, Newbridge, Bath

Provision of loft conversion with 1no side and 1no rear dormer (resubmission)

OBJECT The Trust objects to this proposal which is considered to be of an insufficient design quality and would therefore detract from the appearance of the street-scene. While the dormer proposed to the rear will have only a limited impact upon the building and will not be widely visible from the Old Newbridge Hill, the proposed eastern side-dormer will appear as an unsympathetic addition to the existing dwelling and our objection applies principally to this addition to the property.

The appearance, form and design of the window in fails to respond sufficiently to the appearance of the existing dwelling. The materials chosen, principally concrete pantiles cladding the walls, are unsympathetic and do not reflect the walling material to the rest of the property and does not engender a sense of cohesiveness to the building. The elevations presented imply that this dormer will be uncomfortably large, giving the dwelling an unbalanced appearance, particularly since it is a semi-detached property with an established sense of symmetry.

We are concerned that this roof extension may have a detrimental impact upon the street-scene and visual amenity of Old Newbridge Hill. Though there have been dormer additions to buildings along this route they have been confined to the rear of the properties, and have not been imposed upon the primary or side facades. As such the integrity of the original street scene, roof profile, and group value remains relatively intact. Permitting this development will threaten this integrity, and though the aesthetic of the route is only of local significance or interest it is important to maintain and respect this.

This application in our view is therefore contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan and should therefore be refused.

11/03947/RES – 1 Englishcombe Rise Southdown

Approval of reserved matters with regard to outline application 10/00471/OUTallowed on appeal 11th March 2011 (Erection of a single dwelling (Use Class C3) with associated access on land to the rear of 1 and 1a Englishcombe Rise)

COMMENT This reserved matters application follows an allowed appeal and covers landscaping, scale & appearance only; it is sufficiently contentious locally that Cllr Romero has asked for it to go to committee. The building scale is appropriate to the site. The building form, with metal-covered butterfly roof, is unusual, but appears to respect the site configuration: the colours are within the Bath palette. However, the effect of the generous amount of glazing upon neighbours & the wider landscape requires consideration. More legible information about site levels would have been helpful in judging the appropriateness of the landscaping, as would sight of the engineers’ details for the substantial retaining walls and details of the car-park surface which is inadequately specified (no colour, permeability or sub-strate given). It is hoped that such additional information will be provided before a decision is made.

11/03987/OUT – 69 Haycombe Drive Southdown

Erection of a detached 2 storey dwelling on land to the rear of 69 Haycombe Drive

COMMENT The BPT would not object in principle to a small chalet bungalow on this site, provided that adequate access is available without compromising the adjacent public open space. However, the site’s size & location indicate that a maximum of 3 bedrooms & 1.5 storeys would be appropriate. Consequently, this outline application for a 2-storey house of 4+ bedrooms (according to the application form) & with rear dormers (according to the indicative site drawing) raises issues of over-development & overlooking, contrary to Local Plan policies. If outline planning permission is to be granted it should clearly limit both the building height and number of bedrooms, and indicate that PD rights would be withdrawn to avoid ‘development creep’, detrimental to the locality, the adjoining Green Belt & the World Heritage Site.

11/03491/FUL – Norwood House, University of Bath Campus, Claverton Down

Installation of 3 antennas on free standing pole mounts and 3 small cabinets on a steel frame in the middle of the roof.

COMMENT The Trust accepts that electronic and telephonic communication are necessities of life and that above ground installations and antennas, such as these, are required to support them. There is a concern that these three additional antennas will contribute to visual clutter upon the skyline of this building, which already has a number of similar installations. Whilst the Trust claims no particular expertise in telephone communication and reception, we query whether the antennas could be mounted on existing equipment so as to reduce the visual impact that this development will have upon the building and wider views across Claverton Down. It is not clear from the existing Design & Access Statement whether this has been considered as an option, and if it has been considered there is no indication whether such a proposal is viable or not.

11/03850/LBA – Francis Hotel 6-11 Queen Square, City Centre, Bath

Internal and external alterations for external repair and maintenance works, partial internal refurbishment works (including lift reorientation) with associated external plant.

OBJECT The Trust is supportive of some of the proposed works, namely the proposals to remove weeds and vegetation, repairs to lead flashings, repairs proposed to the canopy and the replacement of floodlighting. Nonetheless, we cannot support this application as a whole because there are certain elements of the proposal which may compromise the historic fabric and special character of this listed building.

We have concerns that works listed within the schedule will damage the Bath Stone of the building, despite in some cases there being good intentions behind such works. In particular, whilst some colouring of the stone works on the facades is evident, we are not convinced that there is sufficient build up of crust to justify the cleaning of the stone. We refer the applicant to the BPT and B&NES Council guidance for the cleaning of Bath stone. Excessive cleaning of the stone may serve of cause more harm than good, and the motivation for such cleaning within this application appears to be purely cosmetic, rather than for preservation purposes.

Additionally, we strongly object to the proposals to install brass lanterns at the entrance of the hotel. There is little to no justification given for this addition, which will sit uncomfortably within the space. There is already evidence that the regular replacement of hotel signage is causing damage to the stone, and we consider that the drilling required in mounting and wiring the lanterns will only exacerbate damage to the stone.

The proposals to install condenser units upon the rear roof of the building have raised concerns about the visual impact upon the building and its setting. The units will evidently be large, bulky and not in keeping with the special character of the hotel. Whilst being concealed from views of the primary facade, they will be highly visible to the rear of the building will add to the cumulative effect of clutter upon this facade, which can be viewed from Prince’s Street and Barton Street. The rationale for their positioning is curious, since it the applicant believes that they will be more discreet than the existing units, positioned below ground. We query whether new condenser units, if necessary, could be situated where the existing units are, since this will minimise any disturbance to the building and be more discreet.

In the Trust’s view that this application is therefore contrary to policies BH1, BH2, BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan, PPS5, and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and should be refused.

11/03950/AR – Andrews Estate Agents, 43 Newbridge Road, Newbridge

Display of 1no non-illuminated fascia sign and 1no non-illuminated projecting sign.

OBJECT The Trust objects to this application since it will, by virtue of its inappropriate design and construction would have a harmful impact upon visual amenity within the street and detract from the character and appearance of the Conservation Area. We consider the materials in the proposed signage to be inappropriate and unsympathetic. Specifically, we object to the stainless-steel lettering and aluminium cut-out sign, both of which are considered to be incongruous to the local vernacular. As such, permitting the use of such materials will only serve to undermine local distinctiveness.

Furthermore, though the application form and drawing state that the cut-out sign is to ‘replace existing’ we can see no evidence either in planning history or through site observation that such a sign is already in existence. Such information is therefore misleading, and suggests that the proposal will not result in a significantly different display, which is not the case. We consider the cut-out sign to be an excessive addition which will add to visual clutter along this street. We are also particularly wary of such an addition acting as a precedent for other retailers as to what constitutes acceptable advertising displays along this road.

This application is therefore contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1, and BH1, BH6, & BH17 of the B&NES Local Plan, PPS5, and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and should be refused.

11/03792/AR – Oasis Stores Ltd, 2 Cheap Street, City Centre, Bath

Display of 3no illuminated fascia signs to replace existing fascia signs and 1no internally illuminated projecting sign to replace existing externally illuminated projecting sign.

OBJECT The Trust we will continue to object to illuminated signs in sensitive historic locations in the heart of conservation area. That illuminated advertising already exists upon this building should not be considered a precedent for such installations upon this building. It also disappointing to see the poor quality of materials proposed here, principally stainless-steel, vinyl and acrylic – better quality of material ought to be expected in the conservation area and the World Heritage Site. The inappropriate and visually intrusive illuminated sign would be harmful to the visual amenity value of the location and would fail to reinforce local distinctiveness and would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area. The proposal is considered contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1, BH6 and BH22 of the B&NES Local Plan, PPS5, the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and should therefore be refused.

11/04123/FUL – Church View, Packhorse Lane, Southstoke, Bath

Excavation to form parking area and rebuilding wall (Retrospective) (Resubmission)

OBJECT The site of this development falls within the South Stoke conservation area. Boundary walls fronting gardens are cited within the Conservation Area Appraisal for South Stoke as constituting ‘an important element of the character of the Conservation Area and make a very positive contribution.’ The character of the site has arguably already been compromised by the previous demolition of this historic boundary wall to allow for the construction of garages along Packhorse Lane. However, further permitting such developments sets a poor precedent which allows potential for cumulative erosion of the special character of South Stoke. Furthermore, the relative size of South Stoke serves to emphasise the impact of this development upon the character and aesthetics of the area.

The applicant has argued that the presence of concrete block-work behind the boundary wall suggests it is a recent addition to the site. The Trust believes this to be an unfounded suggestion; rather it is suggested that the concrete blocks are a recent addition to provide structural support, rather than indicating the age of the stone wall.

Regardless of age, it is the line and position of the previously existing wall which characterises this contained village street and this line should be retained in the interest of local distinctiveness and to maintain the character of the street scene.

Front boundary walls, pedestrian gates and front gardens are attractive and important features that provide cohesiveness and unity in a street and contribute to an important part of the city environment. It is for this reason that the Trust has a keen preference for the retention of front gardens and boundary walls and the retention of historic building lines.

This application is therefore contrary to Policies D2, D4, BH1, BH2 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan, PPS5, and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and should be refused. We would encourage the applicants to reinstate the wall to its original position.

11/03571/LBA – 46 Milsom Street, City Centre, Bath

Internal alterations to No.46 Milsom Street and The Octagon to re-establish former pedestrian connection, together with associated works to enhance interior of Ante Room.

COMMENT Whilst the Trust does not usually comment on applications which deal with internal alterations of private houses, this location in the semi-public realm and the proposed changes to establish a pedestrian link between the Octagon and 46 Milsom Street are potentially harmful therefore we are compelled to comment, though we have not had the benefit of a site inspection.

The proposal to create a link to co-join the east of the shop (no. 46) with the south west apse of the Octagon would result the removal of part of the front elevation of the Octagon Chapel. As such it would cause loss of historic fabric, further destruction to the cellular plan form and would compromise the historic and evidential value of the listed building. We do not consider that this intrusive solution is in the best interest of the character and integrity of the building. Additionally works that would harm significance ought to be supported by more robust impact assessment and justification as required by PPS5. We support the comments made by English Heritage and encourage all parties concerned to act upon them.

If permission is then granted it must be with conditions and caveats to ensure that the future tenants protect and maintain interior fabric. The recent use as a venue for events and exhibitions is one which we consider is more appropriate and desirable considering the original purpose of the building. Finally we would like to see a proper future for this building based upon a Conservation Management Plan.

11/04114/LBA – 1 Daniel Street, Bathwick, Bath

Internal and external alterations for the erection of a single storey rear conservatory and formation of new opening from house.

OBJECT The widening and lowering of the cill of the original window to provide access into a new conservatory would cause irreversible harm and loss of historic fabric of the building, such as the window and the stone-walling. The proposed alternations would subvert the original floor plan and fenestration pattern. The justification for such harm is insufficient. No alternative measures have evidently been explored and there is no explanation as to whether the existing doorway access to the rear garden is unfit for purpose.

This proposal would compromise the architectural, historic and aesthetic value of the listed building and would be harm its significance. This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, policies BH1, and BH2 of the B&NES Local Plan and advice contained within PPS5 and should therefore be refused.

11/04020/LBA – 28 Prospect Place, Walcot, Bath

Internal and external alterations to include the erection of a single storey kitchen extension.

OBJECT The Trust does not object to the overall style or external appearance of the proposed extension. However, the lowering of the cill of the original window to provide access would cause irreversible harm and loss of historic fabric of the building, such as the window and the stone-walling. The proposed alterations would subvert the original floor plan and fenestration pattern. The justification for such harm is in our view insufficient. This proposal would compromise the architectural, historic and aesthetic value of the listed building and would be harm its significance. This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, policies BH1, BH2, of the B&NES Local Plan and advice contained within PPS5 and should therefore be refused.

11/03882/LBA – 20 St Mark’s Road, Widcombe, Bath

External alterations for the addition of photovoltaic to complement existing solar thermal.

OBJECT The Trust has expressed support for the principle of installing solar PVs on listed buildings where there is limited visual impact upon the building. However, reflecting advice given in PPS5 applications should also demonstrate that there is no risk to, or loss of, historic significance implicit in the proposals and that alternative energy saving measures have been explored before more intrusive works are undertaken.

The applicant does not explain or demonstrate that any other energy-saving measures would be undertaken and therefore this application falls short of satisfying these criteria.

The installation of solar PVs upon the southern-most pitch of the roof will be a particularly prominent visual distraction from the character of the context and detract from the integrity of the building. We appreciate that the applicant has tried to demonstrate otherwise, though we are not swayed by this assessment and maintain that PVs in this location would have a detrimental visual impact upon this listed terrace of buildings and wider views across Bath, particularly from Beechen Cliff.

If the exploration of supporting energy conservation measures can be substantiated, the Trust would hold no objection to the principle of installing solar PVs within the valley roof, which would be sufficiently concealed from view.

We regret the substandard quality of the plans and elevations supplied in support of this application, which we consider completely unfit for purpose. They have not been drawn to professional standard, and the degree of inaccuracy and absence of detail undermines the purpose of these drawings as a meaningful source of information to allow a proper appraisal of the impact.

These proposals by virtue of the design, appearance, position and insufficient detail would cause harm to the architectural and historic significance of the listed building, detract from the group value and setting of listed buildings, and compromise the positive contribution this listed building makes to the local townscape character and local distinctiveness, thus would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area. This application is therefore contrary to policies BH1, BH2 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan and advice contained within PPS5 and should therefore be REFUSED.

11/04051/FUL & 11/04052/LBA – 36 Sion Hill, Lansdown, Bath

Restoration of the original Georgian plan form and proportion to the rear ground floor elevation.

SUPPORT The Trust supports the principle of this application and its desire to restore the original Georgian plan form and proportion. We consider that there is a sound justification for these works, which respects and reinstates the architectural interest of this listed building. Additionally, we do not consider that there are any concerns in relation to the FUL applications.

11/04166/FUL & 11/04166/FUL – Gammon Plant Hire, Rock Hall Lane, Combe Down, Bath

Demolition of all existing properties with the exception of a portion of historic stone wall to Rock Hall Lane.

Erection of 1no. Mining Interpretation Centre (rated BREEAM Excellent), 8no. Eco-Homes (rated Code 5 zero carbon), 1no. Apartment (rated Code 5 zero carbon) and all associated hard and soft landscaping following demolition of all existing properties, with the exception of a portion of historic stone wall to Rock Hall Lane (resubmission).

COMMENT We previously objected to the demolition at this location, since we felt that the proposed redevelopment was unsympathetic to the character of Combe Down. Whilst we do not support the revised designs out-right, we consider that the scheme is broadly of a sufficient quality to warrant the demolition of the yard buildings as proposed as to provide much needed local housing on the site. Again we welcome the retention of the historic stonewall to Rock Hall Lane which is of local importance and must be retained in the interest of local character and distinctiveness and serve a reminder of the former use of the site.

The amendments to the proposed design scheme make a considerable difference to whilst not compromising the overall design concept and philosophy. The Trust recognises that the architect and applicant have made efforts to constructively address local concerns, observations and objections to the original design.

We consider the balcony features and conservatories to be more appropriate to the character and setting of Combe Down and will not have the abrupt and conspicuous impact upon the street-scene and wider views across Combe Down that the previous passive-glazing proposals did. The height reduction of the lower housing-block is also welcomed, since it reduces visibility of the block in the local townscape, its impact upon Byfield Terrace and responds much better to the local topography and descent downhill, which is a defining attribute of Combe Down.

Nonetheless, we remain concerned about some aspects of the design scheme. The choice of red cedar cladding upon the suspended apartment is ill-fitting, given its unsympathetic colour, and would give the development an incongruous element. An indigenous and untreated timber would be a preferable material choice. Additionally, upon reviewing the plans, we are concerned about the amount of glazing which is proposed upon the facade of the Interpretation Centre. The glazed L-shaped projection which is angled north-west is particularly prominent, and potentially excessive. We suggest that a greater use of Bath Stone upon the facade would be more sympathetic, particularly considering the site’s history of use as a quarry yard.

11/04159/FUL & 11/04160/LBA – McDonalds, Weston Lock Retail, Lower Bristol Road, Westmoreland

Replacement of lead flat roof with Permadeck.

COMMENT The Trust does not consider that ‘permadeck’ is a sympathetic or aesthetically appropriate material for use on or within the curtilage of a listed building, and we consider that the installation of this synthetic material will potentially have a harmful impact upon the character and integrity and setting of this traditionally constructed listed building, the roof of which is viewed from the railway and surrounding properties. Whilst we can sympathise with the applicant’s predicament regarding theft of lead, it remains the most sympathetic and appropriate material choice. We expect to see demonstration of mitigation measures by the applicant to secure the property. Additionally, we would expect a clear rationalisation of why ‘permadeck’ has been chosen over other material choices (particularly other more appropriate metal cladding solutions).

Designed by Ice House Design