Nov – Dec 2012

Weeks 44-48

12/04595/AR – Cheltenham & Gloucester Plc, 10 Quiet Street, City Centre, BA1 2JU

Display of 1no non-illuminated projecting sign, 1no non-illuminated branch logo, 1no non-illuminated vinyl overlay and 1no non-illuminated internally applied vinyl.

OBJECT This application is not at all clearly presented, and should not be determined until fully clarified. The drawings are poor and confusing – is the shop front being painted white as well as the fascia? If so, why is the hanging sign blue? Whilst the waist level vinyls are less intrusive in the street scene, we do not support the unconsidered use of standard ‘house’ signs on listed buildings. We highly recommend that proper sign written logos, on painted timber (matching the shop front and preferably blue), are used for both high level signs. The signage, by virtue of its materials and ‘house style’, 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 D2, D4, BH1, BH2, BH6 and BH 17 of the B&NES Local Plan and should therefore be refused.

12/04741/FUL & 12/0472/LBA 5 Marlborough Street, Lansdown, BA1 2TX

Renewal and renovation of existing rear extension over four floors to improve usability of interior spaces and connection to garden.

COMMENT The proposal takes a simple and moderate approach to an extension that is obviously in need of renovation. The proposed ground and first floor garden room and conservatory are sensible, and the mop-stick grey zinc roof provides a reference to traditional design. Retaining the historic flying WC is a nice touch, too.

The improved insulation will benefit the whole building and even if traditional materials have not been used, they are not inappropriate (glass, stone, timber); lead would be preferable to zinc, but no doubt heavier and more expensive.

We are satisfied that the work would not result in the loss of historic fabric, and the newly obtained view of the rear of the original building, through the unimpeded glass screens, will lighten the impact of the extension. Although the timber vents are not a traditional feature, they will provide ingenious ventilation to obviate the need for opening windows, and being relatively narrow, they will provide an unobtrusive conjunction with the stone elevations of the building. It might, perhaps, be visually beneficial if the new extension were a little narrower for its full height i.e. wider side-to-side than the retaining flying WC, but less than currently shown.

There have been concerns expressed that a contemporary design solution may be inappropriate in this very “soft” setting, but providing this scheme is well executed, it could add to the interest of this already very varied rear facade.

12/04239/FUL – The Boater, 9 Argyle Street, Bathwick, BA2 4BQ

Open up existing door to front elevation and alterations to existing extract ducts to include installation of new intake duct.

OBJECT The Trust does not object in principle to the design and detailing proposed, which is felt to be appropriate and a potential enhancement of the street-scene and character of the listed building. However, the Design and Access Statement does not recognise that the building is listed and the application states that features and the doorway will be ‘brought back’ but does not provide evidence as to what may have previously existed. Similarly, the application contains no reference to any historic building assessment, understanding of the significance, or a heritage impact assessment. The absence of any proper justification or heritage impact statement is sufficient reason alone for refusal alone. The application is contrary to Policies D2, D4, BH2, BH6, BH19 and BH20 of the B&NES Local Plan and should therefore be refused.

12/04664/LBA – 9 Union Street, City Centre, BA1 1RW

Internal and external alterations for the installation of internal partition and external fascia sign.

OBJECT Shop front work is already underway which should not be permitted on a listed building. This is a repeated criticism we have to make particularly of Council‐owned commercial properties in the City Centre and therefore feel it should strongly be brought to the attention of property management. We highly recommend that proper sign written logos, on painted timber, are used and that the proposed colour is chosen from the palette of colours appropriate for use in the Georgian City. In its current form, the proposals would create an unbalanced look and would detract from the special architectural and historic interest of the listed building and would neither preserve nor enhance the character of the conservation area. As the shop is part of a larger listed building, it should have a unified shopfrontage. The proposal is contrary to Policies BH2 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan and should therefore be refused.

12/04895/FUL – Street Record, Kingston Parade, City Centre

Use of area for the installation of 10 triangular structures for the display of 30 images and text.

COMMENT The cultural value of open air exhibitions is recognised and the Trust is generally supportive of the idea of a managed public art programme in appropriate parts of the city. Successive exhibitions have been in varying degrees entertaining and instructive and have created vibrancy and interaction within streets and public space. However, the Trust is concerned about the repetition of such exhibitions, especially in this location, seemingly without a cultural policy to support them. The Trust would welcome a policy in line with both the objectives of the Public Realm and Movement Strategy (PRMS) and cultural strategy, which would ensure a design approach appropriate for Bath and prevent an over dominance of such installations, giving the streetscape breathing space from clutter and allowing for enhanced legibility and therefore a greater experience, understanding and appreciation of the built historic environment.

Kingston Parade is an important and well used urban space within the city and we feel that this is not the best site for an exhibition as it cuts across views up to the Abbey. There are other parts of the city, such as Southgate or the main shopping ‘spine’, which have been used before and can accommodate the cultural stimulus and animation that the exhibition would provide. In addition, it is unclear about how the display structures will be fixed and we are concerned that the pennant flags will be damage by an inappropriate means of attachment. there is also no indication of illumination, which could mar the whole scheme if electric wires are carried across the space to provide illumination., these matters need clarification before approval.

12/04958/LBA – Cheltenham & Gloucester Plc, 10 Quiet Street, City Centre, BA1 2JU

Internal and external alterations for the display of new signage.

OBJECT The Trust recognises that this application proposes the same design to which we have previously objected. Though we recognise that these proposals are applying for multiple consents, we maintain and reiterate our objections to the development as proposed.

This application is not at all clearly presented, and should not be determined until fully clarified. The drawings are poor and confusing – is the shop front being painted white as well as the fascia? If so, why is the hanging sign blue? Whilst the waist level vinyls are less intrusive in the street scene, we do not support the unconsidered use of standard ‘house’ signs on listed buildings. We highly recommend that proper sign written logos, on painted timber (matching the shop front and preferably blue), are used for both high level signs. The signage, by virtue of its materials and ‘house style’, 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 D2, D4, BH1, BH2, BH6 and BH 17 of the B&NES Local Plan and should therefore be refused.

12/04363/FUL – Richer Sounds, York Place, 4A London Road, Walcot, BA1 6AE

Erection of 3no new dwellings on land to the rear of York

Place.

OBJECT Bath Preservation Trust objects to this planning application on the basis of its inferior design and choice of materials, which we believe would produce a building of little or no architectural merit which would therefore be detrimental to the amenity and character of the conservation area and the World Heritage Site.

While there are challenges to developing this site which other agencies have raised and may be insurmountable, we do not have a fundamental architectural objection to the principle of development here. However as it is in the conservation area and the World Heritage Site it should be seen to make a contribution to both of these designations rather than detract from them.

We are particularly concerned about the following issues.

• The stumpy, high block of the terrace sits out-of-context right in the centre of the site, resulting a small open space area seemingly failing to use the site to maximum benefit for the individual properties. Terraces off the London Road tend to run down in a N/S direction. The aim of the chosen placement in the design is presumably in order to benefit from views across Kensington Meadows, but pays little attention to the street grain. The proportions of the south elevation, with the large plate windows in the upper storey, fail to respect any hierarchy between floors and create a top-heavy design which fails to refer to the characteristic qualities of the surrounding architecture.

• The ‘dormer’ level on the upper floor contributes to this top-heavy look the west and east elevations and the need for accommodation on the upper floor might be more appropriately achieved by a gambrel-style roof than the current design.

• The proposals for materials, which refer to white- or stone-coloured render, reconstituted stone and wood cladding, seem incoherent and there is no description as to how the joins between surface different treatments will be managed. Reconstituted stone is an unsuitable material by comparison with natural Bath stone/stone cladding; the use of render for part of a facade is usually a cost saving measure in order to use natural stone for the remainder. This is not the case here.

We believe that this proposal is contrary to policies BH1, D2 and D4 of the local plan and paragraph 131 (positive contribution to local distinctiveness) of the NPPF and should be REFUSED.

12/04907/AR – Kwik Fit 3 – 4 Mile End, London Road, Walcot, BA1 6PT

Display of 1no. wall mounted welcome sign, 2no. non-illuminated fascia signs and reception lettering.

COMMENT These signs are, given the nature of the business, a relatively tactful form of signage in the conservation area gateway to Bath along the London Road. If approved, all existing external signs should be removed at the time the new are erected.

12/04951/AR & 12/04952/LBA – The Boater, 9 Argyle Street, Bathwick, BA2 4BQ

Display of 1no externally-illuminated fascia sign, 1no externally-illuminated hanging sign, non-illuminated signwritten amenity text to low panels of shopfront, 2no internally-illuminated lanterns, 2no internally-illuminated menu boxes, arch to rear gate with integral gold leaf lettering and 2no lanterns, signwritten display to timber gates and recover existing parasols.

COMMENT The methods and colours for the work to the front elevation on Argyll Street are good and we welcome the traditional sign writing. The existing sign has a refreshing idiosyncrasy and a fluency related to hand painted signage. The image presented for the new signage looks to be governed by the need to use corporate typefaces and it would be preferred if a more individual appearance could be achieved by the hand painted replacement.

The new lantern over the door appears large and elaborate for this context. We note that the current façade shows a burglar alarm and we query where this will go as this is not shown on the elevations. We consider that painting the fanlight white may detract from the coherent proportions of the doorway. The repositioning of the hanging sign to over the window is an improvement, but in order to avoid damage to the stonework of the building so we recommend re-using the same fixing home on the wall to minimise damage to the fabric.

With regard to the rear of the pub, the proposed archway and gates gives some presence to a rather untidy scene. However the proposal for an overthrow to the garden, together with the proposed promotional parasols, over-dominates the view in what should be a subsidiary environment to the River, the weir and the general aspect across from Grand Parade. The large ironwork overthrow is reminiscent of works entrances or formal streetscapes and this is location fits neither of these criteria. Therefore, on balance, we do not object this application but think that further consideration should be given to the balance between public amenity and trading imperatives.

12/05114/AR & 12/05115/LBA – Lifestyle Pharmacy , 14 New Bond Street, City Centre, BA1 1BE

External alterations for the repainting of the existing timber shopfront and replacement of 3 fascia panels with hand painted signage and logo.

COMMENT The Trust supports this application to repaint the shopfront with an acceptable colour which is sympathetic to the street scene. We consider the proposed traditional painted signs are appropriate in their position, size, and colour and the approach is sensitive to the architectural and historic interest of the listed building, the character and appearance of the conservation area and special qualities of the World Heritage Site. The materials and methods are appropriate; we would ask however that the applicant might reconsider the choice of font which in its contemporary styling (reinforced by the change of name) might seem at odds with the appropriately treated traditional shop front.

12/05126/VAR – Beechen Cliff School, Kipling Avenue, Bear Flat, BA2 4RE

Variation of condition 5 of application 11/00573/VAR (Variation of condition 3 of application 10/00540/FUL in order to substitute submitted sports lighting report/assessment with a new lighting proposal (Provision of a synthetic pitch to replace existing sports pitch and an additional 5-a-side synthetic sports pitch; both with sports fencing and lighting.)).

OBJECT Bath Preservation Trust OBJECTS to the proposed variation of condition 12/05126/VAR (to vary condition 5 of previous application 11/00573/VAR to vary to condition 3 of original application (10/00540/FUL)) proposing extension of time of flood lighting at Beechen Cliff School from 6pm to 9pm on weekdays.

First of all, the condition was imposed specifically to recognise the problems which might arise due to the high visibility of the site across Bath (see attached photo, taken at 1808h in February 2012.) The value of any planning condition is precisely that it does impose conditions without which an application might be refused. It devalues such conditions if they are first ignored (as was the case in this instance) and then almost immediately retrospectively varied to overturn their impact.

The Beechen Cliff site is highly visible from within and around the conservation area and is within both the conservation area and the World Heritage Site. It is one of a number of ‘green fingers’ which extend towards the centre of the city and which are prominent features of the WHS at night precisely because they are not illuminated. These dark patches, surrounded by the low level illumination of the residential areas, are a powerful reminder of the intimate relationship between the city and its rural setting.

It is clear from the application that the applicants recognise that there is a problem of light spill and light pollution, as a number of measures are being proposed to reduce the light levels. The lighting report looks at light levels for immediate residential properties, but does not take into account the effects of the brightly lit area on the wider views of the conservation area and WHS. These effects are powerfully demonstrated in the attached photograph.

We recognise that all‐weather pitches are of great benefit all year round, but the downside is that illuminated pitches create light problems in winter. In a residential area visible in long views across many aspects of the WHS this is a significant consideration. Other recently approved school astroturfs have similar or more stringent conditions imposed, notably at Ralph Allen School and Monkton Prep School; there are strict restrictions on other long standing astros such as that at King Edwards Senior School. These schools would be likely to look at this variation as a precedent. If they were allowed the same conditions as Beechen Cliff is now seeking, the adverse impact on the night time character of the WHS would be considerable.

Use of the pitches for school pupils in school hours and for immediate after‐school activities are covered by the 6pm curfew, so the need for extra hours relates to charged‐for community groups using the pitches, which the School has acknowledged in the application are an income stream for them. It is unfortunate that the business model for these pitches failed to take this matter into account, but it is not the LPA’s responsibility to solve this problem.

We therefore believe the application should be REFUSED as it is contrary to BH1, BH6 and para 125 of the NPPF. If the LPA were to permit this variation, we would request that through condition, significantly more effort is placed on reducing the height of the light stands and screening the pitches, perhaps with high‐growing trees appropriate to the setting. This comment should not be taken as acceptance that there is any appropriate version of this planning application but rather an attempt to ensure that its worst effects would be further mitigated if the LPA grants permission.

12/04076/FUL – Gibbs Mews, Walcot Street, Bath

Erection of 4no. dwellings (retrospective amendments to application 08/00591/FULamended by 11/03532/NMA).

OBJECT The Trust recognises the alterations which have been made to this application, but note that our original concerns regarding the use of materials inferior to those envisaged in the original planning application and in the subsequent conditions have not been addressed, so we maintain our objection to the development as proposed. In addition, our previous objection acknowledged that the change to the fenestration was preferable. The new plans show large ‘victorian’ panes for the widows while retaining small-paned glass in the doors and the resultant elevation is muddled.

12/03234/FUL – Widcombe Social Club, Widcombe Hill, Widcombe, 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 The Trust submitted a comment to the previous application for a new social club, retail use and student cluster apartments. We are pleased to note that the revised plans take account of our comments. The building on the corner of the site has been reduced in height and the design of the roof and windows have been altered in such a way as to relate more appropriately to the setting. The Trust is satisfied that the proposal is moving along in the right direction.

Designed by Ice House Design