Sept – Oct 2012

Weeks 36-38 

12/03445/FUL – Halcyon Hotel, 2 – 3 South Parade, City Centre, Bath BA2 4AA

Use of the highway outside the Halcyon for the siting of planters around the existing seating area.

OBJECT Insufficient information about the planters has been submitted in support of this application. There is no design and access statement for clarification and photographs of the planters in situ would have made things clearer, had the applicant provided them. Unless more information is provided, approval would set an undesirable precedent that would be detrimental to the setting of the listed building, the Conservation Area and the World Heritage Site. The application is contrary to Policies BH2 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan and should be refused in its current form.

12/03778/FUL – 14 Argyle Street, Bathwick, Bath BA2 4BQ

Retention of awning over external seating area on land to rear of 14/15 Argyle Street.

COMMENT It should be a Condition of any permission granted that the awning will only be in place until 1st May 2012, to tie in with the original temporary planning permission for use and 12/00242/VAR.

12/03779/AR & 12/03780/LBA – Ivy Bath, 15 Argyle Street, Bathwick, Bath BA2 4BQ

External alterations for the provision of external menu board and retractable door blind to restaurant entrance (Retrospective/Regularisation).

OBJECT Taken place. Whilst retrospective applications may seek to remedy this breach, it illustrates a disregard of the appropriate planning processes. It is very important that tenants of listed buildings are clearly instructed in their responsibilities in this regard and that at all times Bath and North East Somerset are encouraged to protect our built heritage.

This proposal has had an irreversible impact on the stonework, and has already resulted in unacceptable intervention to the historic fabric. The awning is inappropriate and detracts from the special historic and architectural interest of the listed building. The uncoordinated additions of badly placed menu board (brass), light fittings (black metal), blind housing (white coated metal/fabric) as well as the additional (though removable) street clutter of ropes, poles and carpet give a cluttered and incoherent appearance at the front of this building, which neither preserves, nor enhances the character and appearance of the conservation area. The proposal is contrary to policies BH2, BH6 and BH17 of B&NES local plan, and should therefore be refused.

12/03777/LBA & 12/03776/FUL – Audley House, Park Gardens, Lower Weston,Bath BA1 2XP

Erection of new double garage together with alterations (internal and external) to existing dwelling house.

COMMENT The Trust is broadly supportive of the restorative works of this proposal to return the building back to a single house. However, we were concerned about the proximity of the garage to the house and query whether a more subservient location, orientation or detailing might be considered.

12/03971/FUL – 74 Mount Road, Southdown, Bath BA2 1LH

Erection of two storey side and single storey rear extension following demolition of existing garage.

COMMENT We suggest that any permission should be conditioned so that the dwelling remains ancillary to the main building and cannot at a future date be used as a separate dwelling.

12/03648/LBA – 7 Bridge Street, City Centre, Bath BA2 4AS

Internal and external alterations for minor internal works and external signs.

COMMENT The Bath Preservation Trust welcomes the new signage proposed with a traditional design. We consider that the traditional painted sign on the delicatessen is appropriate in its position, size and font and the approach is sensitive to the architectural and historic interest of the listed building, and the character and appearance of the conservation area and special qualities of the World Heritage Site. However, the information in the application does not refer to colour (apart from the hanging sign) and any new signage must be subject to separate advertisement consent.

12/03759/LBA – Bath Spa Railway Station, Dorchester Street, Bath BA1 1SU

External alterations to attach a metal plaque to north front of Bath Spa Station.

SUPPORT The Bath Preservation Trust recognises the importance of the GWR & Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s structures (carefully designed to relate to the style and grandeur of the architecture of Bath) to the character & prosperity of the city. It welcomes the award of a Transport Trust ‘red plaque’ and, also, the careful consideration given to its siting in a blind arch at the front of the station building.

12/03840/AR – Waitrose Limited 5 – 7 The Podium, Northgate Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 5AL

Display of 3no non-illuminated fascia signs and 1no externally-illuminated fascia sign.

COMMENT The Trust welcomes the new signage proposed for this commercial premise. Whilst the materials and colours are acceptable on this building, it is not an acceptable precedent for historic parts of the conservation area. The Trust is pleased that the proposed signage is non-illuminated and is satisfied with the illuminated side entrance sign where there is no street lighting. However, we query why eye-level information plaques have been described as fascia signs and there are inconsistencies between the drawings; the B8 sign has been mis-labelled on the elevation drawing (should be labelled Library) and there are no details on the elevation drawings about the eye-level information plaques – only appear on details drawings.

12/03967/AR – 15 Westgate Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 1EQ

Display of 1no. non-illuminated fascia sign.

SUPPORT The Trust fully supports the repair and restoration of traditional shop fronts, and welcome the new signage proposed for the front elevation. The proposed signage is harmonious with the historic character of the World Heritage city and is constructed to a high quality design. The signage adds to the special architectural and historic interest of the listed building. We hope this sets a desirable precedent for Bath.

12/04041/LBA – 17 Gay Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 2PH

Internal and external alterations to turn the property back into a dwellinghouse.

COMMENT The Trust supports this proposal in principle and returning the building back to a house is welcomes. However, we have a few points to note with regard to detail. We do not support the insertion of a partition to the second floor rear bedroom to form a shower room and we are concerned about the lack of detail on important aspects such as the external joinery, the fan extracts, the mouldings on the new rear exterior door, and the attic plans (existing and proposed).

We trust that these matters can be addressed prior to determinations of this application. This important detail should not be dealt with by Condition.

12/04016/FUL & 12/04017/LBA – 11 Lambridge Place, Lambridge, Bath BA1 6RU

Minor alterations to front and rear gardens, extension of existing rear stone terrace, formation of enclosed off road parking area.

SUPPORT The Trust fully supports the elements of this proposal which relate to the proposed alterations of 11 Lambridge Place, and the accompanying listed building application. Alterations appear to be the minimum necessary and are considered to enhance the character and features of the listed building.

We support the proposed reinstatement of the railings. The Trust considers that railings along the front of buildings are an important early feature of the design and historically accurate replicas will enhance the character and appearance of the listed building and the conservation area.

The Trust does not normally support an increase in car parking or the demolition of the rear wall, since this feature is characteristic of buildings along this section of Lambridge Place. However, several neighbouring rear gardens include open access where the walls have been demolished for car parking and the boundary wall does not does not reflect the vernacular architecture characteristic of the area. The Trust does not consider this a loss of a positive feature in the street scene, but an opportunity to improve the cohesiveness and unity of the street. We are satisfied that the solidity of the boundary is being maintained.

We would hope that this application will be completed to a high standard of design and architecture, as appropriate for the City of Bath World Heritage Site.

12/03882/AR – Co-Operative Retail Services Ltd, 11 Wellsway, Bath BA2 4QL

Display of 3no. externally illuminated fascia signs, 1no. non-illuminated fascia sign and 1no. non-illuminated projecting sign.

OBJECT The Trust 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 materials and illumination by trough lighting is unsympathetic and visually intrusive, and will detract from the visual amenity value of the area, and would 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&NESLocal Plan and should therefore be refused.

12/03945/AR – Mcdonalds Weston Lock Retail, Lower Bristol Road, Westmoreland, Bath BA2 1EP

Display of 1no. 6.5m freestanding totem and 1no. double sided directional sign.

OBJECT The Trust will continue 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 on or within the curtilage of a listed building. Many of the proposed materials, which include acrylic, vinyl and aluminium, will potentially have a harmful impact upon the character and integrity and setting of this traditionally constructed listed building.

The proposed ‘totem’ sign is considered to be an unnecessary addition. It will only serve to clutter the public realm at this location. It is excessive in size, at 6 metres, and ‘plastic wood’ is a wholly inappropriate material, not only is it incongruous aesthetically in Bath, it is damaging in both its manufacture and disposal.

The proposed signage, by virtue of its illumination, material and size, would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area, would harm the visual amenity value of the area, and would detract from the special architectural and historic interest of the listed building. The proposal is contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1, BH2, BH6 and BH17 of the B&NES Local Plan and should therefore be refused.

12/04005/FUL – 39 Brook Road, Twerton, Bath BA2 3RS

Provision of a loft conversion with a rear dormer window (Retrospective).

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 and would set an undesirable precedent. 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.

12/03552/FUL – Co-operative Funeral Service, Pulteney Road, Bathwick, Bath BA2 4HP

Provision of ramped access in lieu of steps and provision of short stay dedicated parking including disabled parking.

COMMENT The Trust does not wish to comment upon this application more than to say that the surface of the ramp should be permeable to match the existing paviers in colour (tarmac or paviers, not plain black as per public footpaths) and the proposed lamps should be energy efficient with a low lux level.

12/03965/LBA – Crowe Hall, Widcombe Hill, Widcombe, Bath BA2 6AR

Two amendments to fenestration and a change in plan form of the spiral staircase from square to oval.

SUPPORT The Trust submitted an objection to the previous application on the grounds of the creation of a porch on the north side. This revised application takes account of our comments. The proposed scheme omits the back porch arrangement. The existing pair of kitchen windows has been retained and the light well with all the existing services exposed has been paved over. The Trust is satisfied that the proposal respects the architectural and historic interest of the listed building.

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

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

OBJECT Bath Preservation Trust strongly objects to this application in relation to the use of materials inferior to those envisaged in the original planning application and in the subsequent conditions.

Our particular objection relates to the use of reconstituted Bath stone. The original application (05/04017/FUL) specified [NATURAL] “Bath stone ashlar”, and the relevant condition required “Natural local stone”. The applicant now claims that the sample panel, which he maintains was approved in May 2008, used reconstituted Bath stone. If this were the case it seems strange that this is not mentioned in the letter from the then planning officer Neil Harvey, especially as reference to “cast stone” used in earlier correspondence by the applicant, was countered by advice that the use of reconstituted stone would require a new planning application (January 2008).

In any case, the condition relating to external walling material was restated in February 2009 (08/00591/FUL), repeating the need for the walling material to be ‘Natural local stone’ and [merely] confirming that the type, size, colour, pointing, coursing and jointing had been approved previously.

It is the assertion of the applicant both that the sample panel was made of reconstituted stone and that reconstituted stone meets the condition for natural stone. This seems perverse; natural stone would suggest in its natural slate, and reconstituted stone is a product of a manufacturing process, & could never be described as ‘sawn’, as it is on the relevant drawings (08/00591/FUL). If the definition of ‘natural stone’ is extended to encompass reconstituted stone, it would appear extremely difficult for a condition to be set which requires ‘real’ Bath stone to be used.

It is to be noted that the BS1217 relating to cast stone cross references other British standards which specifically differentiate between ‘cast stone’ and ‘natural stone’, and there is a whole range of separate British Standards which deal with the specification for natural stone. Since the applicant has also failed to meet the condition relating to the sample size, it is hard to see how [and] aspects of condition 3 have been adequately met. Indeed, there does not appear to be any formal discharge of condition 3 on the file, nor of conditions 10, 11 & 13, which are also conditions precedent to 05/04017/FUL.

The assertion in the applicant’s letter of 28 August 2012 that the appearance of the property built in reconstituted stone is ‘materially superior to the surrounding buildings’, which include the adjacent Grade II Chatham Row seems extraordinary.

We therefore reject the applicant’s assertion that reconstituted ‘cast’ stone meets a condition for natural stone; this application is therefore contrary to policies D2 and D4 of the local plan.

We accept the applicant’s proposal for timber-sashed windows as an improvement to the previous application and, because these are superior materials more appropriate for the conservation area, suggest that these are accepted despite the applicant’s failure to apply for an amendment.

In relation to the issue of the stone we strongly encourage the local authority to make full use of their enforcement powers in recognition that ‘Effective enforcement is important as a means of maintaining public confidence in the planning system’ (NPPF para 207).

12/03764/VAR – Gammon Plant Hire, Rock Hall Lane, Combe Down, Bath BA2 5JF

Variation of condition 30 (plans list) of application 11/04166/FUL (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).)

SUPPORT The Bath Preservation Trust applauds the applicants’ intention to achieve such high environmental ratings for the buildings on this site. It hopes that the scheme, when completed, will encourage other developers to aspire to similar high ratings, instead of considering them unachievable as seems to be currently common. The Trust considers that the proposed alterations to the ‘Eco-Homes’ are suitably complementary to the permitted designs and will not compromise their wider setting within Combe Down and the World Heritage Site.

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