Aug – Sept 2012

Weeks 31-35 

12/02305/AR – 2 St Lawrence Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 1AN

Display of 2no. internally illuminated external fascia signs, 2no. internally illuminated internal vertical signs and 2no. internally illuminated internal horizontal signs.

OBJECT Whilst the Trust have 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 externally illuminated signs in the conservation area. The proposed red LED illumination of the overly‐large lettering for these signs is a completely inappropriate form of advertising anywhere in the World Heritage Site. It is also disappointing to see the poor quality of materials proposed her, principally stainless steel and acrylic??? A higher quality of material ought to be used in the city‐centre. Similarly, the Trust queries whether the amount of signage proposed is necessary. The inappropriate and visually intrusive illuminated sigs would be harmful to the visual amenity value of the local and would neither preserve nor enhance the character of the conservation area. The proposal is considered contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1, BH6 and BH22 of the B&NES Local Plan, the Planning (Listed Building & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and the NPPF and should therefore be refused.

12/03180/FUL – Land Between Access Road And Canal, Sham Castle Lane, Bathwick, Bath

Erection of 1no. detached dwelling (revised resubmission).

OBJECT The proposed development by virtue of its massing and form does not reflect the rhythm and proportion of surrounding properties. We would encourage the applicant to reconsider the design so it relates more sensitively to the character of the neighbourhood. The dwelling by virtue of its inappropriate design would fail to preserve the character and appearance of the surrounding Conservation Area. The proposed development is contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1 and BH6 of the B&NESLocal Plan, the Planning (Listed Building & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and theNPPF and should therefore be refused.

12/03249/LBA – 14 Sydney Buildings, Bathwick, Bath BA2 6BZ

Internal and external alterations for the installation of new boiler in store room, extractor flue and flow and return pipes.

COMMENT The Trust is supportive in principle of measures to improve the energy efficiency of historic buildings. When considering the position of a boiler flue in sensitive historic areas, the vertical discharge through existing stacks if the least intrusive option. Should this application be approved, the Trust would recommend that the flue itself is a muted colour of black or dark grey, or painted to match the colour of Bath stone.

12/02773/FUL – Ralph Allen School, Claverton Down Road, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AD

Erection of 2no. single storey outbuildings to replace smaller storage sheds and secure bicycle storage.

COMMENT Permission should be subject to Condition to limit external lighting to only when the building is in use.

12/03257/AR – Kingsmead Leisure Complex, 5 – 10 James Street West, City Centre, Bath BA1 2BX

Display of 2no external “Frankie & Benny’s” internally-illuminated fascia signs.

OBJECT The Trust objects strongly to the internally illuminated signage proposed. The Trust will continue to object to illuminated signs within the City of Bath Conservation Area and in the World Heritage Site. The fascia signs, by virtue of their colour, material, size and inappropriate position would detract from the visual amenity value of the area, and will neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area. The proposal is contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1, BH6 and BH17 of the B&NES Local Plan, the Planning (Listed Building & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and the NPPF and should therefore be refused.

12/03275/FUL – 4 Apsley Road, Newbridge, Bath BA1 3LP

Provision of side and rear dormer roof extensions to facilitate a loft conversion.

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 the Bath World Heritage Site. The elevations presented imply that this dormer will be uncomfortably large, giving the dwelling an unbalanced appearance. The strong horizontal emphasis the box form presents is a visually intrusive feature in the Bath townscape. We would encourage a more modest approach; a reduction in size would be more acceptable. The Trust considers that this part of the proposal is contrary to Policies BH1, D2 and D4 of the B&NES Local Plan and section 7 of the NPPF.

12/03132/FUL – 65 Corston View, Bloomfield, Bath BA2 2PQ

Erection of a front porch following demolition of existing porch.

OBJECT Whilst we are sympathetic to the need to improve the warmth of this property, the proposed front porch, by virtue of its position, design and materials would be visually intrusive and detract from the appearance of the street scene. The proposed porch is out of character and unsympathetic to the whole terrace and would not be in the interest of good design. Approval would set an undesirable precedent which individually and collectively would detract from the appearance of the townscape. The proposal is therefore contrary to policies D2, D4 of the B&NESLocal Plan.

12/03003/FUL & 12/03004/LBA – 5 Bladud Buildings, City Centre, Bath BA1 5LS

Subdivision of 2no. existing residential flats to create 2no. flats and 2no. studio flats on first second and third floor, alterations to ground and lower ground floor layout including rear glazed extensions to replace existing marquee structure and external alterations to building including replacement of existing UPVC windows with timber sash windows.

COMMENT The Trust welcomes the proposed replacement windows and enhancements which would restore and enhance the architectural interest, character and appearance of the listed building. However, this application does not contain any information about a method of stone cleaning. A full specification of works, including full details of the methods of cleaning, is needed to support this proposal.

12/03310/AR – Superdrug, 31 – 32 Westgate Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 1EL

Display of 1no. non-illuminated fascia sign, 1no. non-illuminated projector.

OBJECT The Trust is pleased that the proposed signage is non-illuminated and welcomes the efforts to improve the Westgate Street. However, this sign has folded aluminium panels with vinyl lettering. In its current form the proposals, by virtue of the inappropriate materials, are considered harmful to the visual amenity value of the area. The signs neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area. A suitable alternative would be traditionally painted, framed timber signs. The proposal is contrary to Policies BH6 and BH17 of the B&NES Local Plan, and therefore should be refused.

12/03288/LBA – Belushi Bar St Christopher’s Inn, 9 Green Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 2JY

External alterations for the removal of existing 8no. swan neck lamps, replacement with 4no. heritage lanterns, fascia paint colour changes and stone repairs.

COMMENT The proposed lanterns are better than the existing swan neck lamps, but would question whether they are necessary and the signage would look better without them. Ideally any permission should apply a condition that details of stonework repairs have to be submitted prior to any work commencing. It appears however that work has commenced so we suggest that the quality of stonework repairs is monitored.

12/03395/FUL – Longthorne, Old Midford Road, Midford, Bath BA2 7DQ

Erection of replacement dwelling.

OBJECT The Trust objects to this application on the principle that replacement dwellings in the Green Belt should be ‘not materially larger’ than the dwelling it has replaced. (NPPF para 89).

The fact that a larger extension had received permission does not in our view over-ride this principle and equivalent principles for the AONB. The Design and Access Statement, para 6.04 indeed quotes previous officer reports which draw attention to the specificity of that application to the existing house eg: “…because of the specific design of the current proposals and due to the specific relationship with the existing house…..”

Given this, officers should consider this application on its merits and against policy as a REPLACEMENT TO AN EXISTING rather than as a replacement to an unbuilt though permitted property.

We suggest that any replacement property should be as the NPPF, not materially larger than the existing property.

In addition we think that Sustainable Homes Code level 3 is an under-ambitious target for a new build and that if permission were granted there should be a condition of achieving a much higher Code rating.

12/03388/FUL – 60 Rockliffe Road, Bathwick, Bath BA2 6QW

Erection of a timber structure incorporating double garage, storage and veranda following demolition of existing single garage.

COMMENT Our only comment on this application is to say that cedar shingles and timber doors would be more coherent.

12/03548/FUL – Domino’s Pizza, Long Acre, London Road, Walcot, Bath BA1 5NL

Installation of photovoltaic panels on southern roof pitch of building and a vehicle charging station to the rear of Domino’s pizzas.*

COMMENT Bath Preservation Trust would normally not support PVs on the roof of the front elevation of buildings which give onto Bath’s historic street scene or in the conservation area. However, in light of the fact that the roof is of such a low pitch and the building not part of the historic fabric of the London Road, we do not object to this application. To the extent that the PVs will be visible at all, we question whether the whole roof might be covered rather than with the uncovered area at the East end of the roof. We assume this is due to the potential shadowing of those panels but fell that even if these were less efficient than the others it would help and set a good precedent if the panels were symmetrically placed and preferably covering the whole roof.

12/03459/LBA – 10 Vineyards, Walcot, Bath BA1 5NA

External alterations for the installation of external vent for new gas central heating boiler.

COMMENT The Trust is supportive in principle of measures to improve the energy efficiency of historic buildings. When considering the position of a boiler flue in sensitive historic areas, the vertical discharge through existing stacks is the least intrusive option. Should this application be approved, the Trust would recommend that the flue itself is muted colour of black or dark grey, or painted to match the colour of the Bath stone.

12/03581/FUL – Bath Soft Cheese Park Farm, Church Lane, Kelston, Bath BA1 9AG

Provision of 1no static caravan in a garden next to the main road for use by farm workers for a temporary period of 3 years (Resubmission).

COMMENT While we appreciate this is an application for temporary permission we think that three years is a long time for the completion of the barn conversion work and that a shorter period might be appropriate. There should also be a condition binding the applicant to the removal of the caravan as soon as the barn conversion is finished or at the end of the agreed period, WHICHEVER IS THE SOONER. With such temporary permissions there is an onus on B&NES robustly to monitor this condition and enforce where necessary.

A further condition could be applied to ensure a recessionary colour be used on the exterior of the static caravan.

12/03512/LBA – 12A Burlington Street, Lansdown, Bath BA1 2SA

Internal and external alterations for the installation of gas central heating within the property replacing existing storage heaters, electric water boiler and electric shower and provision of flue.

COMMENT The Trust is supportive in principle of measures to improve the energy efficiency of historic buildings. When considering the position of a boiler flue in sensitive historic areas, the vertical discharge through existing stacks is the least intrusive option. Should this application be approved, the Trust would recommend that the flue itself is muted colour of black or dark grey, or painted to match the colour of the Bath stone.

12/03375/LBA – Goldsmiths, 19 Union Street, City Centre, BA1 1RS

External alterations to change lettering on shopfront and repaint shopfront.

OBJECT The proposed lettering is too large and would over dominate the fascia sign and shopfront. Smaller lettering would be more appropriate. Signage on listed buildings should be traditional painted sign written on timber or in some instances timber or individual fret cut metalwork letters. This unsympathetic lettering, by virtue of its inappropriate materials, position, design and size, on this historic building, would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area and would detract from the special architectural interest of the listed building. The proposal is contrary to Policies BH2, BH6 and BH17, and should therefore be refused.

12/03730/AR & 12/03715/LBA – Cote Brasserie, 27 Milsom Place, City Centre

Display of 1no externally-illuminated fascia sign, 2no non-illuminated fascia signs, 2no retractable awnings and 2no internally-illuminated menu boxes.

OBJECT The Trust continues to object to illuminated advertising in the conservation area and the World Heritage Site. In our view there is no justification for the illumination of lettering at this sensitive location in the City.

The Trust deplores the tendency of firms to erect signs and then seek approval. Where listed buildings are concerned, this means unauthorised & irreversible damage to the fabric. From the drawings, both of Cote Brasserie’s applications are retrospective, for regularisation (& some slight alteration) of existing ‘Cote’ signs. It is noted that the lettering shown on the drawings is marginally different from that which has been in place for over 12 months, making it unclear for what, precisely, consent is sought. It may be questioned whether such small differences warrant further damage to the fabric, although the reduction in size of the lettering over the arched window would otherwise be welcomed. The removal of the existing unauthorised lamps (erected in contravention of the appeal decision) is welcomed, but no replacement illumination is necessary, although it is conceded that the menu-box under the arch may require low level internal illumination.

We conclude, then, that the proposed works and advertisements would fail to preserve the special architectural interest of the listed buildings and to preserve the historic townscape character and appearance of the CA and WHS. As such the proposals are contrary to policies BH1, BH.2, D.2, D.4, BH.6 and BH17 of the B&NES Local Plan 2007, the NPPF and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and should be refused.

It is noted that there is a large square branded parasol within the courtyard, for which permission is not now being sought, but which was specifically cited as objectionable by the Inspector in her 2011 appeal decision letter. Additionally, there are now 2 further smaller unbranded parasols above tables, together with a servery station, long bench & planters, on the other side of the courtyard, making it appear as a private enclave rather than a welcoming public space.

It is also noted that the 2011 applications and subsequent appeal decisions do not appear, as they should, within the property history page of the current applications.

12/03234/FUL – Widcombe Social Club, Widcombe Hill, Widcombe, Bath BA2 6AA

Erection of a new social club and retail use (A1) with 5no student cluster apartments (C3 use) above following demolition of existing social club

COMMENT This is an important and very visible site in the centre of Widcombe, set below the parish church and close to the Kennet & Avon Canal, the White Hart Inn, & Widcombe Parade. The BPT welcomes its redevelopment in principle, as the existing building has a strongly negative impact on the conservation area. However, the proposed replacement building is currently unacceptable, as its size & form make it overly dominant within the settings of surrounding listed buildings & the conservation area.

The mix of uses seems reasonable in its context, especially bearing in mind the anticipated removal of through traffic from Widcombe Parade. However, the amount of space devoted to each use has resulted in an overly bulky building for the site. The roof line, although partially articulated, results in an overbearing effect, particularly on Widcombe Hill, the canal basin and the adjacent newly-built ‘domestic scale’ restaurant/residential building. The building line towards the corner ignores the slope of the road, resulting in too great a height at the corner itself, and in relation to the White Hart opposite. The materials are generally acceptable, although their disposition & finish are inadequately indicated; also, it appears from the drawings that rubble stone is to be used on the south front ground floor, that there will be areas of flat roof, and that ‘balconies’ & a high fence will adorn the north front; none of these is described. Dark glazing seems out of keeping, as does the arrangement of windows on the west front. All these matters require clarification before any decision is made.

The Trust recognises the care which has gone into the preparation of this proposal, but feels that the optimum result has not yet been achieved. It would recommend reconsideration of the ‘west’ and ‘south’ frontages, perhaps involving more ‘stepping down’ towards the corner. As the scheme stands at present, the Trust feels that it falls short of compliance with national & local plan heritage policies. The application should, therefore, be refused, unless these matters are resolved satisfactorily.

12/03235/CA – Widcombe Social Club, Widcombe Hill, Widcombe, Bath BA2 6AA

Demolition of existing social club.

COMMENT This is an important and very visible site in the centre of Widcombe, set below the parish church and close to the Kennet & Avon Canal, the White Hart Inn, & Widcombe Parade. The BPT welcomes its redevelopment in principle, as the existing building has a strongly negative impact on the conservation area. However, the proposed replacement building is currently unacceptable, as its size & form make it overly dominant within the settings of surrounding listed buildings & the conservation area. Consequently this application should be refused, unless the scheme’s shortcomings (discussed in our comment on 12/03234/FUL), are resolved satisfactorily.

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