July – Aug 2012

Weeks 27-30  

12/02626/FUL – University Of Bath, University Of Bath Campus, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7PB

Construction of new academic building to provide general teaching accommodation.

12/03055/FUL – East Car Park, University Of Bath Campus, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7BT

Construction of 708 student bedspaces and a refectory in two buildings and replacement car parking.

12/03069/FUL – Arts Barn, University Of Bath Campus, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7BT

Construction of a new Centre for the Arts connecting to the Arts Theatre following demolition of the Arts Barn.

COMMENT The Trust fully supports the further development of the campus to provide additional academic, related floor space and student bedrooms. We especially support the Centre for the Arts and the refurbishment of the Arts Theatre because there are not many places for performance in Bath.

This increase of on-campus accommodation will be a welcome relief on family homes elsewhere in the Bath. The dominance of student houses in residential areas is a big problem for the City and there is a recognised impact on the shortage of family housing. In addition, we strongly support the proposed development site; being on an existing car park. Any reduction in car parking is significantly beneficial in terms of carbon reduction and less vehicle flow.

Whilst we are satisfied with the contemporary design, form and layout of the buildings, we would like to commend the high quality of design for the Centre for the Arts. However, when compared, the other buildings fall short of this high standard.

In its current form, the Trust does not oppose the height of any of the buildings. However, any further increase in height above 5-storeys would be visually detrimental and have an adverse impact on the rural character and openness of the green belt. Additional height would neither preserve nor enhance the natural beauty of the surrounding AONB.

We are concerned about the use of copper as an external cladding material. There is not enough detail about the finish of the material. If left untreated, the oxidised surface is sure to turn green, which is not considered a sympathetic or congruous finish.

All three applications would benefit from having context drawings to illustrate their relationships with other buildings and surroundings.

12/02975/LBA – 16 The Circus, City Centre, Bath, BA1 2ET

External alterations to strip existing cement based slates and replace with natural slate, re-new gutters to parapet and centre valley with lead and renew bay flat roof with lead.

SUPPORT The proposals are sensitive to the character and appearance of the listed building, and appropriate materials have been selected. The repairs would enhance the significance of this heritage asset and are fully supported by the Bath Preservation Trust.

12/02509/FUL – Site Of Former Nursery, Bailbrook Lane, Lower Swainswick, Bath

Erection of 2no. detached houses, vehicular and pedestrian access, parking, landscaping and ecological enhancement.

COMMENT The Trust does not object to the principle of development of housing on this site. The houses themselves will have a subtle visual impact by reason of their height, and response to the site’s sloping typography. However, at present the access and landscape proposals are objectionable. They are unacceptably harmful to the existing landscape and character, and expose the site to more open views. It is therefore important that the visual impact is minimised, and the setting of the listed building is not detracted from. Keeping the perimeter vegetation would be acceptable.

If approved, facing materials should be conditioned, especially natural Bath stone, to protect the character and appearance of the hillside views in the setting of the WHS.

12/02772/AR – Mann & Williams, 4 Palace Yard Mews, City Centre, Bath, BA1 2NH

Display of 1no. hanging sign from the building and 1no. box sign flush to the wall adjacent to the front door.

OBJECT The Trust objects to the poor quality of materials proposed here, principally acrylic – a higher quality of material is appropriate in the conservation area regardless of the age of the building. The inappropriate 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, BH2, BH6 and BH 17 of the B&NES Local Plan, and should be refused.

12/02648/FUL – The Ferns, Deadmill Lane, Lower Swainswick, Bath, BA1 8DE

Conversion of garage/workshop/store to dwelling and erection of small extension.

OBJECT Whilst the Trust claims no special expertise in structural engineering or surveying, the existing building is clearly very dilapidated and incapable of conversion. This application should be treated as for a new building. However, if conversion is considered feasible we urge the applicant to support this application with a structural survey. Any approval should not be given unless it can be demonstrated that the remains of this building has structural integrity.

As the Trust considers this is a re-build, we regard the proposed building as inappropriate development in the green belt. Both local and national policy state that ‘very special circumstances’ must be expressed to outweigh the harm that the otherwise inappropriate development would have upon the openness and permanence of the green belt. This application fails to articulate anything which would be considered ‘very special circumstances’, and as such should be considered inappropriate development which will harm the openness of the green belt, and would neither preserve of enhance the natural beauty of the AONB.

The proposed two-storey dwelling fails to reflect the pattern of development in the locality. The building is inappropriate in terms of its siting/location, design and materials and the form is incongruous. Any form of development of this site must be true to its locality and strengthen local identity rather than weaken it, as is the case here.

Therefore, the Trust objects to this application. The development would be inappropriate and contrary to GB1, GB2, NE1 and NE2 of the B&NES Local Plan, and should be refused.

12/02696/FUL – Bath Soft Cheese Park Farm, Church Lane, Kelston, Bath, BA1 9AG

Provision of 2no. static caravans adjacent to car park for use by farm workers.

OBJECT The application site occupies a prominent location within the Green Belt, the Cotswold AONB and the Kelston Conservation Area. The proposed siting is detrimental to the openness of the Green Belt and adversely affects the natural beauty of the AONB, and the character and appearance of the Conservation Area. Similarly, the Trust is not convinced by the justification for the proposed caravans as no statement of need for agricultural purposes has been provided.

Therefore, the Trust objects to this application. The development would be inappropriate and contrary to GB1, GB2, NE1 and NE2 of the B&NES Local Plan, and should be refused.

If consent is granted, a Condition ensuring permission is temporary should be secured.

12/02263/FUL – Kentucky Fried Chicken 1 – 2 Cambridge House, Henry Street, City Centre, Bath, BA1 1JS

Installation of a chair lift to replace existing.

COMMENT BPT appreciates the need for a chair lift in this location – though it would fit better with the street scene and the character of Bath if it were a recessive colour such as black.

12/02922/FUL – Oldfield School, Kelston Road, Newbridge, Bath, BA1 9AB

Provision of a car park with associated safety lighting for occasional use as overflow parking during special events (Retrospective).

COMMENT The Trust does not wish to comment upon this application more than to say that if permission is granted, it should be temporary to allow the situation to be reviewed again in the future.

12/02561/FUL – 15 Cotswold Road, Moorlands, Bath BA2 2DL

Erection of a new dwelling on land at the rear of 15 Cotswold Road following demolition of existing garage.

OBJECT The demolition of the existing garage and erection of a new dwelling will result in the loss of off-street parking, adversely impacting upon the street scene and will individually and/or collectively set an undesirable precedent that will harm the visual amenity value of the area. Furthermore, the proposed new building has little respect for its context and the prevailing form and pattern of development. Therefore, this application is contrary to policies D2, D4 and BH1 of the B&NESLocal Plan and should be refused.

12/02970/FUL – 41 Elliston Drive, Southdown, Bath BA2 1LU

Erection of dormer window.

OBJECT The Bath Preservation Trust considers that overly large flat roof dormer windows are not in the interest of good design and fail to reinforce the local distinctiveness of the Bath World Heritage Site. The strong horizontal emphasis the box form presents is a visually intrusive feature in the Bath townscape. The proposal is contrary to policies BH1, D2 and D4 of the B&NES Local Plan and section 7 of the NPPF.

12/02905/AR – Fabulous, 16 Southgate Place, Bath BA1 1AP

Display of 1no internally-illuminated projecting sign.

OBJECT Whilst the Trust has previously conceded that the style and character of the new Southgate shopping centre can tolerate a more unconventional design approach compared to the rest of Bath, we will continue to object to illuminated signs within the City of Bath Conservation Area and in the World Heritage Site. The sign would by virtue of its means of halo 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. 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 city-centre. The proposal is contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1, BH6 and BH17 of the B&NES Local Plan and should therefore be refused.

12/02919/LBA – 29 Walcot Buildings, Walcot, Bath BA1 6AD

Internal and external alterations to include alterations to canopy, strengthening of shop front and formation of a small internal lobby on the ground floor.

COMMENT Whilst the works appear acceptable in principle, no assessment of significance has been provided, as required by the NPPF. Neither has justification or a heritage impact assessment has been provided and therefore it is difficult to make a proper assessment of the impact. The proposal ought to be supported by a more rigorous structural investigation to justify vague claims of some necessary strengthening to the Erstwhile shop window, and if it is to become residential, a more imaginative approach could be explored. It may be that a case for re-instating the original, 18th century fenestration pattern could be explored.

12/02977/AR – Sutcliffe Showrooms, London Road, Walcot, Bath BA1 6AJ

Display of 1no. fascia sign illuminated by 4no. downlighters.

OBJECT Whilst the Trust welcomes the removal of the brackets, the proposed illumination is inappropriate. The Trust will continue to object to illuminated signs within the conservation area and in the World Heritage Site. The light is harmful to the visual amenity value of the area and the light fittings neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area. The proposal is contrary to Policies, D2, D4, BH1, BH6 and BH 17 of the B&NES Local Plan.

12/02980/FUL – Bluecoat House, Sawclose, City Centre, Bath BA1 1EY

External alterations to form window and provision of louvres to window openings.

COMMENT Since the infill of the former corner entrance is not original, its partial removal sounds permissible. However, replacing the whole area with glass might have greater architectural integrity, and may look less invasive. We are concerned that the polished metal frame may not be in appropriate in this context. A timber door would be much more in keeping with the age and style of the building. Furthermore we regret that the ashlar infill is not being retained. And the use of mirror glass in the doorway in incongruous. The loss of the metal gates is highly regrettable because they are much more sympathetic to the building.

12/02989/LBA – Slug And Lettuce, 5 – 6 Edgar Buildings, City Centre, Bath BA1 2EE

Internal and external alterations to include redecorating, replacement awnings and window blinds, 1no. non-illuminated fascia sign and 1no. internally illuminated menu box.

OBJECT The Bath Preservation Trust takes a strong objection to the proposed Slug and Lettuce typeface to be applied to the front elevation. The purple colour is unsympathetic and would detract from the character of the listed building and visual amenity value of the area. Furthermore it is also an unacceptable use of corporate signage on an important facade in a very prominent position.

Overall this proposal would have an irreversible impact on the stonework, and result in totally unacceptable damage to the historic fabric. Although we have no particular objection to the new awnings, which re-use the existing fixings, the proposed menu box will contribute to the clutter on the facade and further damage the stonework.

The proposal is therefore contrary to policies BH2, BH6, BH17 and BH22 of the B&NES Local Plan, the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and the NPPF, and should therefore be refused.

12/03082/AR & 12/03095/LBA – Roman Candles, 5 Terrace Walk, City Centre, Bath BA1 1LN

External alterations for the display of external fascia and hanging signs (regularisation) and removal of existing light fittings and associated works.

OBJECT The fascia by virtue of its excessive width, dominant position, method of fixing, inappropriate materials and high shine finish is unsympathetic to the setting of the listed building. The signs which have been erected are incongruous and visually intrusive. This application should be refused and action taken to get the inappropriate signs removed. This application is contrary to policies BH2, BH17 and BH19 of the B&NES Local Plan, the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and the NPPF, and should be refused.

12/ 03036/FUL & 12/03037/LBA – 10 St George’s Place, Kingsmead, Bath, BA1 3AA

Change of use from Offices (B1) to Residential (C4).

COMMENT The Trust does not wish to comment upon this application more than to say that the street scene would benefit from some visual interest to the shop front window which is proposed to be blocked internally.

12/03335/FUL & 12/03336/LBA – Abbey Church Of St Peter & St Paul, Abbey Churchyard, City Centre, Bath, BA1 1NZ

Provision of improved public and ancillary support facilities to Bath Abbey, alterations to 8-13 Kingston Buildings, basement of Abbey Chambers, the 1920s Jackson Extension to Bath Abbey, the Clergy Vestry and adjoining vaults and cellars south of the Abbey, creation of newly excavated below ground spaces north of Kingston Buildings and below the Jackson Extension, associated landscape improvement works to the public realm and to the garden north of the Seventh Day Adventist chapel.

OBJECT Bath Preservation Trust is broadly supportive of the Abbey’s desire to reorder the space to allow it to be used more effectively. We are grateful to have been given the opportunity to meet with the project team and have input into the design evolution. From early in our discussions it has been made clear that a substantial amount of intervention is proposed for Kingston Buildings and we have expressed serious concerns about these elements of the project prior to the submission of these planning applications.

Whilst we accept the alterations which would have an impact on the Jackson Extension, the Vaults, Abbey Chambers basement, York Street, and the clergy vestry – it is with regret that on balance BPT objects to these applications primarily on the grounds of the unacceptable impact on Kingston Buildings.

Kingston Buildings is one of few modest artisan terraces surviving within the city centre, the significance and integrity of which should be preserved. Many other modest terraces were destroyed in the 20th Century by either bombing or the sack of Bath. This amplifies the importance of this remaining group, and reinforces the argument for retaining it as close as possible to its more humble form.

The proposed top-floor meeting room has been amended in detail from the previous version seen by the Trust and we do appreciate the fact that changes have been made in response to our previous criticisms. Regrettably, however, it remains the Trust’s view that the proposed meeting room extension would have an unacceptable visual impact on the appearance of the terrace as a whole. Whilst we recognise that the 1880’s extension has to some extent already unbalanced the appearance of the terrace, the creation of additional height, bulk and massing at the Western end of the terrace further undermines the subservient character of this terrace. The extension would be over dominating to both the terrace and the confined setting of the Abbey at this location. Additionally the design of the roof extension and the height of the windows would relate poorly to the proportions and order of the modest terrace.

We are not convinced that the desired extension to Kingston Buildings to provide an additional meeting space is necessary to sustain the viable use of the building (and Abbey complex) or justifies such harmful physical and visual intervention. Meeting spaces could be easily accommodated elsewhere within Abbey Chambers. We feel that if there are any opportunities for the Abbey to appropriate the whole of Abbey Chambers that would be a preferable alternative to the radical alterations proposed. This would undoubtedly provide sufficient capacity within the structures to accommodate the activities of the Abbey, and negate the necessity to undertake radical extensions.

We now understand that the small sunken garden on the south side of the Abbey is to be paved over as part of the works, and this would go a long way to overcoming our previous concerns regarding the impact of the rose window feature set into the ground.

We welcome the proposal to reconfigure and open the existing herb garden to the public as a “softer, more introverted space for contemplation”. However, we are not convinced, from the information provided, that this scheme will achieve its aim as fully as it might. In particular, the single long bench is not friendly to wheel-chair users, nor to those who seek solitude, the trees seem to be overly large, the exterior pathways too narrow, and the ‘herb garden’ element too hidden away and artificial. Moreover, the relationship of the statue of Christ the King with the adjacent hedge & large feature tree (unspecified) requires more thought. We would have expected much fuller details about the planting and hard landscaping, furniture & lighting (if any), as these matters are fundamental to the character of the space and are too important to be left to be decided later as conditions. At present, the proposals will dramatically change the whole character of this very informal space and we are concerned that it may become a bit bland and even sterile.

Taken as a whole, the proposal is in our view contrary to section 12 of the NPPF, in particular paragraphs 132, the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and B&NES Local Plan Policies D2, D4, BH2 and BH6.

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