May – June 2012

Weeks 17-21

12/01349/AR – City of Bath College, 4 – 5 Westgate Buildings, City Centre, Bath BA1 1EB

Display of 2 no. externally illuminated fascia signs and 2 no. internally illuminated projecting signs.

OBJECT The Trust will continue to object to illuminated signs within the conservation area and in the World Heritage Site. The illuminated signs will detract from the historic character and appearance of the conservation area, and harm the visual amenity of the area. The proposed materials, which include aluminium and perspex, are also undesirable and incongruous to the vernacular of Bath. This application is contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1, BH2, BH6 and BH 17 of the B&NESLocal Plan and should be refused.

12/01618/FUL & 12/01619/LBA – Bellots Hospital, Beau Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 1QY

Extension and alterations to existing building to provide 14 no. hotel bedrooms and provision of a link tunnel to adjacent and associated Gainsborough Building (Revised Submission to approved plans 09/00283/FUL).

COMMENT The Trust acknowledges that an archaeological assessment has been undertaken. However, we are still concerned about the implications of the proposed tunnel and for reassurance, if there are any potential archaeological remains; we suggest an archaeological watching brief should be a Condition of any permission granted.

12/01637/LBA – 5 Park Street, Lansdown, Bath BA1 2TB

External alterations for the cleaning of front elevation.

COMMENT The Trust welcomes the proposal to remove staining from the front of this property, since it is clear there are damaging deposits which would be better removed for the health of the stone. However, the Trust objects to the use of TORCor Doff; these may cause further damage. We suggest that the cleaning ought to be localised and selective. A gentler method as outlined in the Cleaning Bath Stone technical guidance, published by B&NES and BPT, would be more desirable.

12/01705/FUL – 11 Bloomfield Drive, Bloomfield, Bath BA2 2BQ

Provision of loft conversion and side roof extension.

OBJECT The proposed side roof extension, by reason of its design, scale, massing and prominent siting, would have a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the host building and the street scene contrary to policies D2 and D4 of the B&NES Local Plan.

12/01662/FUL – Land Adjoining 73, Marsden Road, Southdown, Bath

Erection of three terraced three bedroomed dwellings (Resubmission).

OBJECT The proposed development for three dwellings would present an overly intensive form of development which would lead to a cramped appearance to the application site and would not allow for adequate soft landscaping contrary to policies D2 and D4 of the B&NES Local Plan. Any development here should follow the existing pattern – there would be no objection to a semi-detached pair of dwellings.

12/01948/FUL – La Senza, 5 Southgate Place, Bath BA1 1AP

Alteration to existing facade entrance doors.

OBJECT The Trust objects to the black gloss, glazed panelled, entrance doors. We have concerns that appearance would be too shiny or plastic which would not be at all sympathetic to the Bath context and palette of materials. The accumulation of these inappropriate materials should be avoided in Southgate, as collectively it degrades the quality of the townscape here. We urge the applicant to pursue a more locally appropriate approach rather than a corporate one. The proposal fails to preserve or enhance the character of the Bath Conservation Area; it is contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1, BH2, BH6 and BH 17 of the B&NES Local Plan, part 7 and 12 of the NPPF, and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and should therefore be refused.

12/01922/LBA – 10 Chapel Row, City Centre, Bath BA1 1HN

External alterations for the gentle washing/cleaning of traffic soiled masonry (and temporary application of desalination poultice); lime &stone dust shelter coating from ground to first floor window cill level.

COMMENT While the Trust is generally supportive of building cleaning by the appropriate method, this application does not contain enough information in order to make a proper assessment of the impact on the historic fabric. The proposal should be supported by a pre-cleaning survey and stone cleaning should not be undertaken without the prior approval of a fully detailed specification and method statement.

12/01953/FUL – 3 Lansdown Place, West Lansdown, Bath BA1 5EZ

Erection of first floor extension to existing rear garage and associated alterations to allow residential use.

OBJECT The Trust notes that a S.106 agreement was a Condition of the previous permission given for an existing application. The planning obligation cites that all development must be ancillary to the ground floor flat. On these grounds the Trust objects this proposal; development should be strictly ancillary to protect character and setting of the building, and the tranquillity of this part of the city of Bath Conservation Area. Without such Condition the proposal would fails to preserve or enhance the character of the Bath Conservation Area; it is contrary to policy BH6, of the B&NES Local Plan, part 12 of the NPPF, and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

12/00969/LBA – 1 Cambridge Place, Widcombe Hill, Widcombe, Bath BA2 6AB

Internal and external alterations for the installation of solar panels and roof access hatches on numbers 1 and 2 Cambridge Place.

OBJECT Whilst the Trust supports the concept of solar panels when located on hidden roof slopes we are concerned about the visual impact of solar panels in historic locations particularly when visible from street level and from surrounding higher levels. In addition, there is insufficient detail in the application, e.g. a survey of sightlines and views to establish how the panels would look. Furthermore, we expect that applicants should demonstrate that a range of alternative and less invasive measures have been explored to reduce energy use.

The application fails to demonstrate that the character of the conservation area would be preserved or enhanced, and as such is contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan, the NPPF and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

12/01673/AR – Specsavers Opticians, 17A–18 Westgate Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 1EQ

Installation of 2 no. non-illuminated fascia signs and 1 no. non-illuminated projecting sign to replace existing.

COMMENT The Trust is pleased that the proposed signage is non-illuminated. However, we would prefer to see a traditional approach to the lettering, which would be much more appropriate in quality and appearance and sympathetic to the Bath palette and in if they were written or traditionally painted rather than offset lettering. This would help enhance the character or the street scene and Bath Conservation Area.

12/01730/FUL & 12/01731/CA – 14 – 16 Monmouth Place, City Centre, Bath BA1 2AX

Demolition and erection of 7 no. three-storey plus basement, three bed houses following demolition of existing vacant show units.

COMMENT The Trust does not object to the demolition of the existing structure. In principle we support the development of housing on the site and infilling which will help to repair the street scene. However, we have concerns about the scale and appearance of the development as proposed.

The front elevation appears unbalanced. The single unit appears is at odds with the massing of the terrace as a whole, and the paired houses to the western end appears unbalanced by the additional windows. Similarly, the articulation of the building line to the rear, and the roof profile is at odds with the front elevation – whilst a mismatched character between fronts and rears is common on some historic terraces, the trust encourages greater coherence here, especially with regard to the roof profile. We would recommend chimney stacks are provided to each house to help provide articulation and coherence within the context.

We suggest that the windows have a uniform pattern throughout the elevation of the group. This is an opportunity to consider timber slim profile double glazing for the proposed windows, which will help to improve the thermal efficiency of the building and reduce noise.

Furthermore the rear boundary and the provision of amenity space is unclear and it would appear that a substantial tree with a TPO is missing from the drawings.

We urge the applicant to review this application and to address these concerns.

12/01859/AR – Hartwells of Bath, Newbridge Road, Newbridge, Bath BA1 2PP

Display of 3 no. internally-illuminated fascia signs and 2 no. sets of internally-illuminated corner lights to replace existing signage.

OBJECT The proposed illuminated signs, by virtue of the siting, materials and lighting, will detract from the visual amenity value of the area and neither preserve nor enhance the historic character of the conservation area and will detract from the special qualities of the World Heritage Site. The proposal is contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1, BH2, BH6 and BH 17 of the B&NES Local Plan and should be refused.

12/01715/FUL – Coach House, Prospect Road, Widcombe, Bath BA2 6AY

Erection of extension to provide studio above existing garage.

COMMENT The Trust supports this proposal in principle and raises no objection to extending the coach house to provide a studio. However, the Trust does not feel that a mansard or gambrel roof is at all appropriate here. A simpler outline would be better in the street context and would be more appropriate for this subservient building. In addition, the design and access statement could be better.

12/01549/FUL & 12/01550/AR – Street Record, St James’s Parade, Bath

Installation of 1 no. drinking water station on St. James’ Rampire/ Installation of 2 no. non-illuminated mono etched or vinyl logos of supporting/founding organisation on stainless steel graphic plate, to be placed on drinking water station on St. James’.

COMMENT The principle of providing free drinking water is welcomed, and the simple design and form of the water station is supported. Whilst Cornish granite is relatively local, there is no tradition for the use of this material in Bath, we are concerned that it may look rather monumental and utilitarian (as it is a material associated with tombstones and cenotaphs). We are particularly concerned about the colour, texture and type of granite, which has not been specified. The Trust therefore reserves comment on the acceptability of granite until the water station has been sited and viewed in its context. We question whether Portland Roach bed stone has been considered? We recommend that any approval should be temporary, for a short period to allow for any necessary design review.

12/01988/FUL & 12/01989/LBA – 7 Argyle Street, Bathwick, Bath BA2 4BA

Change of use of ground floor from A3 to A1, change of use of first floor from A1 to residential (C3), clarification of use of second and third floor as residential, minor internal alterations and modernisation and external stone cleaning.

COMMENT The Trust supports this proposal to remove dirt from the external walls, since it is clear there are damaging deposits which would be better removed for the health of the stone and for aesthetic merit. However, the Trust objects to the use of Nebulous Spray; this may cause further damage. We suggest that the cleaning ought to be localised and selective. A gentler method as outlined in the Cleaning Bath Stone technical guidance, published by B&NES and BPT, would be more desirable.

12/02055/VAR &12/02020/LBA – Gainsborough Building, Hot Bath Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 1SJ

Variation of plans list condition for application 07/01684/FUL as amended by Non-Material Amendment (Partial demolition, alteration and extension of existing college buildings in connection with conversion to form a 90 bed spa hotel with conference facilities and the erection of associated new buildings on Lower Borough Walls and Bilbury Lane. Revisions to approved scheme (06/ 00055/FUL: 06/00059/LBA) to include (1) Reduction of bedrooms from 97 to 90. (2) Lowering of proposed atrium from 3rd floor level to 1st floor level and re-configuration. (3) Re-configuration of pools and facilities including lowering of levels. (4) Provision of new glass lift in principal stairwell. (5) Alteration to the type of proposed Bilbury Lane Pavilion. (6) Adjustments and alterations to internal and external elevations and additional roof dormers.

COMMENT The Trust remains supportive of the overall ambition to convert the building to a hotel. The scheme presents substantial enhancement to this significant location and setting, and the amendments present marginal changes which appear to be dealt with in a sensitive manner.

The remodelling part of the existing flat roof profile to a mansard with dormer windows is potentially an improvement to the appearance of the roof, though the set back behind the parapet could be greater.

The Trust is concerned that there is a lack of detail in general. For example the application provides insufficient detail for the roof and the information on the external appearances is sketchy e.g. the materials for the roof are unspecified (natural slate should be used for all pitched roof surfaces). The Trust feels that these important details should not be negotiated by Condition – much detail affecting the external appearance is required here. Also, we are not clear about the proposed amendments to the pavilion as cited in the application description. This requires greater clarification and detailing within the application.

The Trust encourages the rationalisation of the fenestration, which is currently very varied in design, within this programme of work. We encourage the applicant to consider reinstating the historic window pattern throughout the building’s principle facades, thus improving the uniformity of the facade.

In accordance with Warmer Bath (our published guidance for the energy efficiency of traditional buildings), which states that “Bath Preservation Trust supports the replacement of windows with timber slim profile double glazing in listed buildings in Bath except for significant historic windows on principal facades” the Trust promotes the use of slim-line double glazing to replace non-historic sash windows, and potentially as alternative to secondary glazing in the chapel (subject to understanding the significance of the existing). This could also provide an opportunity to reintroduce appropriate and consistent glazing bar profiles and window design. We recognise that there would be some 12 pane sashes with thin glazing bars that would warrant retention and there would need to be a considered approach to the overall visual impact of double glazing on any one elevation or bay.

Improving the thermal efficiency could satisfy corporate responsibilities towards energy management and low carbon emissions – the carbon foot print of this building’s proposed use is potentially very high and there are no renewable energy sources proposed. Whilst there would be increase cost initially over time there would be financial pay back in terms of reduced energy costs. Similarly, timber slim profile double glazing will help to reduce noise.

12/02141/EFUL & 12/02142/LBA – Street Record, Bath Spa University Campus, Newton St. Loe, Bath

Erection 9 no. 3 storey (third floor in the roof) student residential blocks to provide 571 bed spaces to the southern end of the campus; the erection of an energy centre and single storey Estates and Services facilities buildings, the creations of external spaces for the storage of materials and vehicles and for the storage and processing of refuse and recycling, and the relocation of Newton Annexe providing offices and storage for the Estates Team to the south of the Walled Garden; associated access, parking, external lighting, drainage, infrastructure and hard/ soft landscaping works. Demolition of farm buildings to the south of Melancholy Wood; lean-to buildings to the north of the walled Garden; Newton; Corston; and the former Vice-Chancellor’s Lodge. Creation of temporary car parking areas during construction (Phase 2 of University Campus Masterplan).

COMMENT The Trust strongly supports the principle of this proposal to increase student residences on campus. The dominance of student houses in residential areas is an issue for the City and there is a recognised impact on the shortage of family housing.

The Trust feels that the development of the site to support continued educational use, and the potential relief the provision of student accommodation would have on family homes, constitutes very special circumstances, and that the proposed development in this location is appropriate within the Green Belt. The degree of harm to the openness of the Green Belt is sufficiently mitigated by the existing built up backdrop combined with the landscaping proposals which will benefit the setting Similarly, the Trust strongly supports proposed development being on the site of the existing car park; a reduction in car parking is significantly beneficial in terms of carbon reduction and less vehicle flow.

It is regrettable that there has not been any further opportunity to review the development of proposals before the submission of this planning application. The design and detail has changed considerably since the last round of public consultation and events attended by the Trust.
 We have concerns about the roof profile of the new residential buildings. In section the flat roof between ridges appears to create unnecessary bulk. Additionally we feel that ridge heights make the building appear rather compressed. A lower roof may help break up the bulky form. Further details of about the proposed patinated zinc roof covering are required, specifically about the colour and tone of this material.

The use of reconstituted stone is not at all supported – we encourage the use of natural Bath stone. Furthermore whilst we do not object in principle to the use of render, we are concerned about the large expanses of render proposed and the durability and maintenance requirements. Generally we do not understand the justification for the choice of materials which is not in conformity with the range of examples given in the design and access statement.

12/01999/EFUL – Former Bath Press Premises, Lower Bristol Road, Westmoreland, Bath BA2 3BL

Mixed-use redevelopment comprising 6,300 sqm of retail (Class A1), 4,580 sqm of creative work space (Class B1), 2,610 sqm of offices (Class B1), 220 sqm of community space (Class D1/D2), 10 residential houses, basement car park, landscape and access (including realignment of Brook Road).

OBJECT This second application shows no improvement on the last, to which the Trust objected, and differs little from the previous application. Neither does this revised application take account of our previous comments.

We stressed in our previous comments that the form and design of several of the new building elements had insufficient detail in terms of materials, lighting and landscaping, and there were inconsistencies between the drawings and supporting documents.

There remains concern about the development’s mass and roofscape, which is visible from a number of vantage points and will impact on vistas across the World Heritage Site. The retail store roof and workshop building need to be better articulated to break up this mass and improve the appearance from distance views. We do not feel the saw-toothed roofs of the office building mitigate the impact of the larger flat roof areas either. Similarly, the retail store’s wind catchers will not mitigate the visual impact of the very large light-coloured flat roof. A more sensitive design solution is required, e.g. using dark-coloured zinc with raised seams.

We consider the steel frame for the Bath Press Building is unnecessarily bulky and obtrusive. It is more likely to detract from rather than enhance the use of the facade as a framework for public art. We recommend incorporating temporary art installations to maintain active public interest. However, the proposed artwork should be subject to a further planning application; it is too important to be left for determination through conditions.

The link between the food store and workshop building appears clumsy, as does the treatment of office building corners. Although, the lack of detail makes it difficult to make a full assessment.

The workshop building itself seems like a municipal building than a purpose-built facility for creative industries. We query the appropriateness of the metal fins on the north elevation; on the south, they might serve a more functional purpose rather than just ‘decorative’.

The proposals for landscaping are totally inadequate for a full application. The information is spread across a number of documents and there is no methodology for the planting. Street pits are required for the plaza’s ‘street trees’. However, this information is missing and a discussion is needed about the impact of these pits on the basement. The planters illustrated in and around the plaza are not wide enough for trees, and those in front of the terraced houses look too narrow for successful long-term plant growth.

Inadequate detail is provided for the planting of the ‘green boundary fence’ around the South View Road car park, so it is impossible to judge whether the aims of reducing views and providing an acoustic barrier will be met. Equally deficient is the information on hard landscaping; there is no mention of landscaping maintenance.

Bath is a low luminosity city and the site’s valley location means that it will be very visible after dark. Lighting must be carefully designed to ensure adequate levels without excessive light spill or glare when viewed from a distance. Further detail for lighting is required.

A comprehensive set of proposals for hard and soft landscaping and lighting, together with a maintenance plan, must be published before planning permission is granted. These details are too important to be decided as conditions.

We remain worried about the lack of detail and inconstancies on important aspects, e.g. the types of windows, bricks, exposed lintels, plat band depth/recess, porches, rainwater capture etc. The roofs are to incorporate solar hot water panels on the south-facing pitch, but the illustration shows PVs. Similarly, more detail is needed on materials and finishes. There are inconsistent references to ‘Bath stone’ and ‘reconstituted Bath stone’. The Trust opposes reconstituted Bath stone in new developments.

Details that would affect the appearance of this development should be submitted ahead of any conservation and approval, to allow for the public’s consideration of the impact. Important details should not be agreed by Conditions.

The Trust claims no special expertise on traffic and transport, but it remains obvious that there are significant traffic issues. This development will be adding to already heavily congested roads (Lower Bristol Road and Windsor Bridge Road). We question whether there are enough parking spaces because we do not want overspill onto neighbouring streets.

The Trust feels that the applicants must demonstrate that they are making every effort to minimise dependency on the private car. In relation to the supermarket, this should include incentives to shop on-line, a home delivery service and store-provided shuttle bus services. Deliveries should use electric or low emission vehicles. We expect to see these and other measures set out in a detailed travel plan before permission is granted; the outline travel plan submitted is too general.

We therefore consider that the design of the development fails to comply with policies D2, D4, BH1, BH5, BH6 and BH 22 of the B&NES Local Plan. However, the Trust would welcome further engagement with the applicant about the continuing issues, and we request to be kept informed of any further changes to the development proposals.

12/01994/AR – Ask Pizza And Pasta Restaurant 1 York Buildings, George Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 2EB

Display of 1 no. non-illuminated projecting sign.

OBJECT This second application shows little improvement on the last, to which the Trust objected. Much of the detail remains the same. The only change is the colour of the sign. The proposed materials remain unsympathetic to the character of the listed building and townscape, and fail to harmonise with the traditional palette of materials in Bath. The proposal therefore would have a harmful impact on the architectural significance of the listed building and neither preserve or enhance the character of the conservation area.

The Trust continues to encourage traditional approaches to signage in the Conservation Area. In this instance, we recommend that a painted fascia sign and hanging sign would be more appropriate.

The proposal fails to comply with policies D2, D4, BH1, BH2 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan, the NPPF and the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and should therefore be refused.

12/01874/FUL – 86 Bloomfield Avenue, Oldfield Park, Bath BA2 3AD

Installation of solar panels to main house flat roof.

OBJECT The Trust is supportive, in principle, of measures that will help to reduce the carbon footprint of the city. The Trust supports the use of solar panels provided that they are fixed in concealed locations or locations with restricted visibility, thus minimising the impact on visual amenity, the character of the Conservation Area and the authenticity and integrity of the World Heritage Site.

In this application, there is insufficient detail in relation to sightlines and views. A survey needs to be undertaken to establish how the panels would look, not only in the immediate location but also in the wider context, taking into account views onto the site from other parts of 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.

This application fails to demonstrate that the character of the conservation area would be preserved or enhanced, and as such is contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan, the NPPF and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and should therefore be refused.

12/02064/AR – Red Bridge House, Lower Bristol Road, Westmoreland, Bath BA2 3EW

Display of 3 no. internally illuminated fascia sign, 1 no. internally illuminated service sign, 1 no. internally illuminated totem, 1 no. non-illuminated wall mounted totem and 2 no. wall illuminated direction signs.

OBJECT The Trust will continue to object to illuminated signs within the conservation area and the World Heritage Site. The illuminated signs will detract from the visual amenity value of the area and neither preserve nor enhance the historic character of the conservation area and will reduce the special qualities of the of the World Heritage Site. The proposed materials, which include acrylic, vinyl and aluminium, are also undesirable and incongruous to the vernacular of Bath.

The proposal is contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1, BH2, BH6 and BH 17 of the B&NES Local Plan and should be refused.

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