Aug – Sept 2013

12 August – 9 September 2013

Weeks 33 – 36

Week 33

13/03151/LBA – 14 Kingsmead Square, City Centre, Bath  BA1 2AD

Internal alterations for the provision of a traditional timber staircase between front ground floor room and basement.

OBJECT Whilst the Trust does not usually comment on applications which deal with internal alterations of private houses, this Grade I listed building is of high architectural and historic significance. As such we are compelled to comment, though we have not had the benefit of a site inspection.

The application does not contain the necessary detail or the level of information which is needed to make a proper assessment of the proposals and the impact that they would have on the significance of the Grade I building. For example, the submitted plans only show the area specific to the proposed works but not plans of the building in its entirety. This leaves the impact of the work in the context of the building proper not assessable, and is an unacceptable shortcoming for an application relating to a G1 listed building. Based on the grading of this building, we would expect the application to be supported by a serious heritage statement or impact assessment. This is particularly important to the consideration of the installation of the new staircase which will result in the loss of significant historic fabric. In addition, we query whether a new staircase is even necessary when a central and practicable staircase already exists.

This application is not acceptable in its current form and we would encourage the LPA to obtain further information from the applicants. Without further information, this application would be contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act, Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and Local Plan Policies BH1, BH2 and BH6 and should therefore be refused.

13/03053/AR – 6 – 7 Old Bond Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 1BW

Display of 4no. non illuminated facia signs and 1no. non illuminated projecting sign.

OBJECT The Trust deplores the tendency of firms to commence work and then seek approval. Where listed buildings are concerned, this means unauthorised and irreversible damage to the fabric. From the drawings, the repainting of the existing shopfront is retrospective. Such unsolicited work threatens our remaining historic fabric and undermines the efforts of the Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Conservation Officer to protect our built heritage.

With regards to the signage, we object to the four fascia signs and the hanging sign since the powder-coated aluminium / metal lettering would not constitute an appropriate frontage to this shop located in one of the City’s most prominent streets, within the Conservation Area and the World Heritage Site. The type of metal is unspecified which provides insufficient detail to assess the proposals and their impact.

Signage should respect the architectural qualities and character of Bath, and be made from high-quality traditional or natural materials, such as timber-fascia and sign-written lettering. The proposal is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and Local Plan Policies BH2, BH6, and BH17 and should therefore be refused.

13/03174/AR – Burger King, 4 Cheap Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 1NE

Display of 2no internally-illuminated fascia signs.

OBJECT The Trust will continue to object to illuminated signs and incongruous advertising within the Conservation Area and the World Heritage Site. The proposed materials (stainless steel, moulded acrylic, corrugated plastic, Perspex and applied vinyl graphics) are inappropriate and unsympathetic within this location, an issue compounded by the garish standard corporate design proposed. The proposed signage would be detrimental to the special qualities of the World Heritage Site and will neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area. This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and Local Plan Policies BH2, BH6, BH17 and BH19 and should therefore be refused.

13/03215/LBA & 13/03219/AR – Waterstones Booksellers Ltd, 4-5 Milsom Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 1DA

External works to facilitate display of 1 no. non illuminated individual text to existing fascia.

OBJECT Whilst we welcome the removal of the trough lighting, the Trust objects to this proposal for a fascia sign due to the inappropriate materials specified. The choice of materials, including offset acrylic lettering do not constitute an appropriate frontage to this shop, located in one of the City’s most prominent streets, within the Conservation Area and the World Heritage Site. The Trust suggests that the use of high-quality traditional or natural materials, such as timber-fascia and sign-written lettering, would help preserve the special character of the area. Additionally, the drawings raise some confusion as to whether this application is for one fascia or for two fascias on the two shopfront elevations. This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and Local Plan Policies BH2, BH6 and BH17 and should be refused.

13/03206/AR – Co-operative Insurance Society Lt, The Avenue, Combe Down

Display of 1no. externally illuminated replacement fascia sign and 1no. non-illuminated projection sign with an ornate wrought iron bracket.

OBJECT The Trust will continue to object to illuminated signs and advertising in the World Heritage Site. The signs, by virtue of their materials and illumination by trough lighting, are unsympathetic and visually intrusive and would have a harmful effect on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site. The application therefore fails to comply with Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and Local Plan Policies BH1 and BH17 and should therefore be refused.

13/02937/AR – 105 High Street Twerton

Display of 2no externally illuminated fascia signs, 1no externally illuminated projecting sign and 5no. window vinyls.

OBJECT The Trust will continue to object to illuminated signs and advertising within the Conservation Area. The signs, by virtue of their inappropriate materials and excessive illumination, are unsympathetic and visually intrusive and will neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area. The application therefore fails to comply with the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and Local Plan Policies BH2 and BH6 and should therefore be refused

Week 34

13/03241/VAR – Abbey Hotel, 1 North Parade, City Centre, Bath BA1 1LF

Variation of condition 4 of application 10/04296/FUL (Use of the public highway for the siting of 12 tables and 48 chairs) (Resubmission of 13/01969/VAR).

COMMENT Condition 4 was imposed specifically to prevent unnecessary clutter within the street scene. 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 immediately varied to overturn their impact.

Whilst the Trust still regrets that the storage issue was not considered prior to the application for the siting of tables and chairs on the pavement and that this business is seeking to relax conditions which are put in place on their permission for good reason, we do appreciate the attempt at a compromise (removal of all chairs, tables, planters and parasols between 1 October and 1 April each year and night time removal). We note also that this street furniture is much smarter and tidier than those in front of neighbouring premises. However, we remain concerned that once the precedent is set, there is a risk that others will seek to follow suit.

Applications such as these highlight the need for clear LPA guidance relating to placing and design of tables and chairs on the Highway. Such guidance could help to ensure greater. This is important when several businesses wish to make use of the footway. Consistency in traditional materials, quantity and proposed hours of use are far preferable to excessive amounts of visual clutter that neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area and will have a harmful impact on the value of the World Heritage Site.

13/03268/FUL & 13/03269/LBA – 5 Pierrepont Place, City Centre, Bath BA1 1JX

Change of use of basement & ground floors from B1 Office to C3 Dwellinghouse, and refurbishment of entire building.

OBJECT Whilst the Trust would support in principle the applicant’s desire to renovate this property, we feel that this application does not contain the necessary detail or the level of essential information which is needed to make a proper assessment of the proposals, and the impact that they would have on the significance of this Grade II listed building. For example, the Design and Access Statement and the Heritage Statement submitted with this application are totally inadequate. This is particularly important to the consideration of the refurbishment of the entire building.

We particularly object to the inappropriate round dormer windows which are uncharacteristic of this area. The fact that they are ‘reclaimed 18th century’ is irrelevant given the context. Their appearance, form and design fail to respond sufficiently to the appearance of the existing dwelling and adjacent listed buildings. They would be a disproportionate addition to the building and would be out of proportion with the character of the existing built form and would be unacceptable in this setting.

With regards to the basement, the Trust does not normally comment on the specifics of internal alterations to private residential properties. This is because in most cases it would be difficult to make a proper assessment based on documentary evidence alone; site visits are often necessary and access to private property is limited. However, this is a grade II listed building and an early John Wood the Elder House. The Trust has an in principle objection to the conversion of vaults for residential uses, and these concerns may extend to basements depending on circumstances. We would therefore recommend close examination of the function of the basement and whether it can suitably converted without causing a rising damp problem in the rest of the structure.

The long term maintenance of the listed building’s fabric is paramount, as is the protection of its significance by conserving its physical elements in a way that does least damage to its important qualities.

A further concern relates to material for the guttering and rainwater goods which is not determined. The materials should be more clearly defined at the application stage rather than left to condition. The Trust would recommend either cast iron or aluminium be used.

This proposal, therefore, is contrary to Local Plan Policies D2, D4, BH1, BH2, BH4 and BH6, the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and Section 12 ‘Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF, and should be refused.

13/03371/LBA – 10 Argyle Street, Bathwick, Bath,  BA2 4BQ

External alterations to remove 2no.rear windows and replace with french doors. Construction of timber decking area.

OBJECT The Trust fully recognises that the property would gain significant amenity by these plans and do not object in principle to the idea of the decking and the creation of the access. However we believe that by losing both windows there is unacceptable loss of historic fabric and layout, and provision could have been made through just one of the two openings. The Trust regrets that the applicant is seeking to make provision for two French doors through two sash windows as these are an important feature of buildings of this date (whether original or not); knocking two doors through them would result in a degradation of the original facade. We urge the applicant to explore alternative design solutions such as only replacing one of the windows with French or other glazed doors, retaining the other for historic reference.

This proposal, therefore, is contrary to Local Plan Policies D2, D4, BH1, BH2 and BH6, the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and Section 12 ‘Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF, and should be refused.

13/02745/FUL – Candywood Leys, Meadow Lane, Bathampton, Bath BA2 6SN

Stationing of one mobile home for residential use by one traveller family (retrospective).

OBJECT The Trust objects in principle to this development which is insufficiently justified and undermines the purposes of the Green Belt. We strongly urge the local planning authority to refuse this application.

The site is located in a sensitive location within the Green Belt, and within the environs of the World Heritage Site. The erection of any dwelling at this location is objectionable in principle, as it poses a threat to the openness of the Green Belt. Development at this location, particularly of a poor quality and inappropriate nature (as proposed), would also undermine the setting of the World Heritage Site, which is of outstanding universal value.

Section 9 of the NPPF clearly states that harmful development in the Green Belt should be approved only under ‘very special circumstances’. We note recent ministerial statements that under‐supply of traveller sites do not of themselves constitute ‘very special circumstances’ and we support that statement. We note that this application is said to be for a temporary dwelling for a traveller family, and are aware that ‘personal permissions’ may sometimes be appropriate in such cases. However, in light of the fact that the applicant has not adequately demonstrated that very special circumstances apply here, and in light of the fact that this is one of a series of applications by this applicant seeking essentially to turn this green belt plot into a dwelling site by some means, we retain very serious concerns about the potential of setting a precedent, should this application receive permission.

We consider that this application contravenes Section 9 ‘Protecting Green Belt Land’ of the NPPF and policies GB1 and BH1 of the B&NES Local Plan and should, therefore, be refused.

13/02946/FUL & 13/03321/TCA – Victoria Cottage, Rose Terrace, Combe Down, Bath,  BA2 5EW

Erection of a side extension (T1 Spruce – fell, T2 – Field Maple – fell, T3 – Cherry – fell, T4 & T5 – Pear – fell, T6 & T7 – Apple – fell and H1 – Hedge – fell).

OBJECT Victoria Cottage is a GII listed building, of architectural interest listed for its ‘picturesque and curiosity value’. This seems to have gone unnoticed by the applicant and by officers registering the application. We acknowledge the applicant’s clever and interesting proposal which echoes the form of the original cottage. However we would like to remind the applicant that as a general rule new work and extensions to listed buildings should be subservient as to retain the prominence of the historic character. We note that there appears to be no Listed Building Consent application listed, nor any acknowledgement of the listed status of the property. We are concerned about the lack of important detail on proposals and materials, for example, there is no impact statement or statement of significance for this unusually pleasant cottage, no information is provided about materials relating to the windows, the ‘sun room’ or the new porch, and there is no detail about how the new extension will be connected to the existing building. These important details should not be agreed by a Condition of any permission. We suggest that this detail is submitted and the issue of subservience looked at and considered prior to determination as well as a full LBA being submitted.

13/03277/FUL – Grey Gables, Summerfield Road, Beacon Hill, Bath BA1 5QB

Erection of extensions and refurbishment to include first floor extension to the rear, extend the front gable, remove the front garage extension and provision of new access to the front (Resubmission).

OBJECT The Trust is disappointed to see that the applicant has not sought to develop in a more sensitive manner than has occurred previously and we feel that this application, which seeks to erect various extensions, cannot justify the proposed development as visually less intrusive. The extensions proposed appear too extreme, and excessively intrusive. The cumulative impact of the further extensions would be damaging to the character of this modest cottage. This proposal would result in extensions that overwhelm the host building and would collectively overbear the adjacent property.

A further concern relates to the removal of the render from the front elevation. It must be removed using an appropriate method; otherwise it could damage the stone, negating any conservational benefit of removing the paint. We would expect the applicant to provide full and precise details within a method statement to ensure this is not the case.

Overall, the Trust cannot support these proposals and considers that the proposed extension fails to make a positive contribution to the significance, character, setting or local distinctiveness of the Outstanding Universal value of the World Heritage Site of Bath. The Trust considers that the proposals are contrary to Local Plan Policies D2, D4 and BH1 and Section 12 ‘Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF, and should be refused.

13/03344/OUT – 5 Grosvenor Bridge Road, Lambridge, Bath BA1 6BB

Demolition of existing house and swimming pool to facilitate the erection of 4no.dwellings and associated works. (Outline with all matters reserved).

OBJECT The Trust considers the principle of developing four dwellings at this location to be acceptable and were pleased to participate in pre‐application consultation with the architect of these proposals. However, we are very concerned about the use of an Outline application for these proposals. Many key details are to be determined under this permission with all matters reserved. A full planning application seems more appropriate than an Outline application. This would allow for a full and proper assessment of the impact. We are very concerned to see that no materials have been specified in this Outline matters application. This leaves this development open to the abuse of using cheap and unsightly materials which will result in a degraded finish to a potentially admirable scheme. This issue will be further compounded should the current architect be replaced to complete the build once and if these Outline matters are approved, there is a real risk of dilution and diminution of quality, or, at the very least, of control. We feel strongly that the materials to be used must be specified at this stage to ensure that designs are followed through to the highest quality outcomes.

This proposal is therefore contrary to Local Plan Policies D2 and D4, the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and Section 12 ‘Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF, and should be refused.

13/03194/REG03 – Car Park, Newbridge Park & Ride Car Park, Newbridge, Bath

Extension of existing Newbridge Park and Ride facility to provide 248 spaces, construction of a central amenity building, along with associated landscape and engineering works.

COMMENT Bath Preservation Trust accepts the principle of ‘park & ride’ and is aware that additional spaces are required at Newbridge. We note, however, that, even if this extension is granted permission, the car park here will be considerably smaller than those at Lansdown & Odd Down. The extension, as proposed, is generally acceptable, subject to the comments below, but, perhaps, the questions of long term viability & cost-effectiveness should also be addressed.

The Trust is concerned that insufficient information is provided about the Facilities Building, and that what is shown would seem flimsy in appearance. Specifically:

*         There is a conflict between the Design and Access Statement which lists the materials as timber, render and tile while the drawings show rubble- stone end walls (apparently in panels, so perhaps imitation) not render. The Trust would prefer proper coursed rubble-stone end walls.

*         There is a lack of detail about the roof materials; what does a ’tile effect’ mean?

*         There is insufficient information about the materials and design of the cycle stands and benches.

*         The drawings for the layout and planting do not show the full extent of the canopy and proposed footway treatment.

The treatment of the boundaries of the extension seems adequate. The existing boundary planting is generous & mature, the new boundary planting is also generous but, perhaps, the bund (& acoustic fence) might be around 500mm higher to mitigate a little in the early years before the planting matures.

Informal pathways are to be retained, but although several gates are shown, there does not appear to be one in the obvious position into the Town Green near the SW corner of the extension.

We note that the ‘red line’ omits part of the existing P&R and wonder why this is.

In addition, we would like to see more consideration given to the adequacy of drainage and whether potential exists within the current parking area to increase numbers without affecting the landscaping.

We believe that these matters require clarification and consideration before any planning permission can be granted.

Week 35

13/03343/AR – 2 – 3 Abbeygate Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 1NP

Display of 3no. fascia signs and 1no. hanging sign.

OBJECT Whilst the Trust has previously conceded that the Southgate shopping centre is able to accommodate a more contemporary design on its shop fronts than on those in the centre of the Georgian city, we will continue to object to illuminated signs in the Conservation Area. The existing spotlight illumination for the proposed hanging sign is an inappropriate form of advertising in the World Heritage Site and within close proximity to listed buildings. It is also disappointing to see the poor quality of materials proposed here, principally folded aluminium and perspex letters; a higher quality of materials ought to be employed in the Conservation Area regardless of the age of the building. We also feel it prudent to remind the applicant that care needs to be taken to ensure that there is no staining of the stonework from the individual brass letters over the windows. Overall, the Trust would prefer to see a traditional approach to the signage scheme and materials; a more appropriate solution within the conservation area would be traditionally hand painted timber signs.

The inappropriate and visually intrusive illuminated sign and materials are thought to be harmful to the visual amenity of the street scene and would neither preserve nor enhance the character of the Conservation Area. The proposal is considered contrary to Local Plan Policies D2, D4, BH1, BH6 and BH17 and Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF, and should therefore be refused.

13/02911/FUL – Street Record, Princes Buildings, City Centre, Bath

Installation of Electrical Feeder Pillar to provide power supply to BT Telephone Kiosk (Retrospective).

OBJECT There seems to be an increasing tendency in B&NES not to enforce inappropriate works but rather to regularise through retrospective planning applications which in all likelihood would or should never be accepted had they come forward as a timely planning application. If B&NES accepts this application, they are in essence setting an undesirable precedent and legitimising inappropriate works.

This proposal has had an irreversible impact on the footway, and has already resulted in an unacceptable loss of pennant paving which has then been replaced by inferior quality material (concrete), which is not in the character of Bath and substantially degrades the historic environment. The proposed feeder box serves only to contribute to the street clutter and the Trust queries why the feeder box was not put in the telephone kiosk. The Trust deplores the unauthorised works which neither preserve nor enhance the City of Bath Conservation Area. The proposal is contrary to Local Plan Policy BH6, the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and should therefore be REFUSED. Furthermore, firm enforcement action should be taken to remedy this breach of planning control and the pavement restored with proper pennant paving.

13/03431/LBA – 1 Rivers Street Mews, City Centre, Bath BA1 2QD

Internal and external alterations to include minor internal alterations; installation of semi-recessed gas meters to all units; amendments to windows and dormers; amendments to roof pitch; lime wash to external stonework; minor amendment to west internal elevation; single ply gutter along existing north boundary; new vent grilles to courtyard elevation; erection of street name signage.

COMMENT The Trust is pleased to see some positive changes coming forward in this application, however, we are not convinced that ‘yellow Ochre’ limewash is a suitable colour for a listed building. The Trust would recommend that the proposed colour is chosen from a palette of colours more appropriate for use in the Georgian City.

13/03422/FUL – Gainsborough Hote,l Beau Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 1QY

Provision of external light fittings (luminaires) to the existing building fabric and the new building fabric.

OBJECT This application proposes a lighting scheme upon a listed building which, upon first examination, appears to be excessive. The Trust is awaiting further comments from a consultee so may which to submit and altered response to this application in due course.

Primarily we are concerned by the method of fixing for the large number of luminaires which in the majority are to be building mounted, as well of the unsightly appearance of visible surface cables and their effect on the visual clutter of the street scene. Drilling into the historic fabric constitutes a disproportionate amount of harm to this listed building. Whilst we appreciate that there is some scope for a subtle and sensitive light scheme to highlight this facade, it should not be to the detriment of the building’s fabric or removed from conservation principles. For the reasons listed above, this application is considered contrary to Local Plan Policies BH1, BH2, BH6 and BH22 and Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF, and should therefore be refused.

13/03358/FUL – Parcel 2866 Woolley Lane, Charlcombe, Bath

Alterations and extension to existing agricultural building, formation of farm track,construction of stock pond and ancillary works (Retrospective) (Resubmission of12/05660/FUL)

OBJECT Bath Preservation objects strongly to this retrospective application submitted on behalf of Golden Valley Paddocks, which is essence a resubmission on 12/05660/FUL. The Drawings and information included in the application appear to be the same, and as inadequate, as attached to previously refused applications. As such our previous objections still stand.

The Trust has previously objected to the creation of a farm track, pond and alterations to the existing farm building, and will continue to object to these elements of the proposal since the applicant has again failed to demonstrate that there has been any difference in the approach or lessening of the impact of the works now in place, and as such the extent of harm therefore remains unchanged.

It remains a fact that an Article 4 Direction has been placed over the Woolley Valley to allow for the consideration, through the planning system, of the impact of development on the special character of the AONB, the special character of which contributes significantly to the wider landscape setting of the World Heritage site, which is of Outstanding Universal Value. This application should also be viewed in the context of the planning history of the site as this is a retrospective resubmission, and any decision taken should also be informed by the activities undertaken on the site. The design and access statement describes the use of the land as agricultural, specifically for the rearing of sheep and cattle. As such we believe the infrastructure that GVP have developed on the land, and are now seeking permission for, is excessive when measured against the needs of the activity.

The alterations and extensions to the existing agricultural building are deemed an overdevelopment of the site, and by virtue of its siting, design and appearance, is inappropriate development and visually intrusive development in this sensitive location contrary to policies BH1, GB.2 and NE.2. That the described functions of these alterations and extensions; to provide an incubator, hatchery, cold store and packing room which are activities far removed from the rearing of cattle and sheep, should be enough of a contradiction for the refusal of this element of the application.

The pond which currently exists is visible within the AONB and can be seen from an adjacent public foot path. Furthermore, current farming practice looks to use high sided troughs so as to stop the spread of Bovine TB as there use mitigates against badgers accessing stock water. As such this artificial pond, which is not a natural feature of the landscape, and its appearance is both outdated and neither preserves nor enhances the character and local distinctiveness of the Valley and has an adverse impact on the natural beauty of the Cotswold AONB.

The access, track and hard standing has, visually and physically scarred the open landscape and has a detrimental effect on the natural and rural character of the Valley. We object on the grounds of visual impact and also on the grounds of justification.

We note the objections by Charlcombe and Swainswick Parish Councils and believe them to be comprehensive and would agree with them strongly on all accounts, including issues of timeliness and validity of pursuing enforcement relating to the works described in this application. We remain firmly opposed to this development and question the decision of B&NES relating to a lack of expediency to enforce on these elements of the works undertaken by the applicant. We would ask that this application is not granted permission, and encourage the council to follow up a refusal with timely enforcement notices.

In conclusion, the developments individually and collectively represent an inappropriate development in the Green Belt, the appearance of which individually and collectively detract from the openness of the greenbelt and adversely affects the natural beauty and character of the AONB and the landscape setting of the World Heritage Site. The proposal is therefore contrary to Policies NE1, NE2, GB1, GB2 and BH1 of the B&NES Local Plan and guidance contained within the NPPF and should be REFUSED.

13/03374/CLEU – Parcel 2866 Woolley Lane, Charlcombe, Bath

Certificate of lawfulness for the existing alterations to access and formation of hardstanding and track around existing building

OBJECT Bath Preservation Trust strongly endorses the submission of Charlcombe Parish Council and endorses the spirit of other objections. B&NES Council has no obligation to this applicant and the failures of management and enforcement on this site have been clearly delineated in the High Court.  We do not consider that the uses are lawful and believe they should be subject to enforcement in order to make good the damage of previous years.

13/03133/AR – The Bath BrewHouse 14, James Street West, City Centre, Bath BA1 2BX

Display of 4no. new advertisements signwritten onto existing wall finish of the front and side elevations, 1no. new swing sign to replace existing (existing fixing and illumination to be reused) and 2no. menu boxes

OBJECT The Trust objects to illuminated signs on listed buildings and within the Conservation Area and in the World Heritage Site. While the amount of illumination here is, in itself, enough to be of detriment to the visual amenity of the area, elements of the proposed scheme, by virtue of the materials, colour, amount and position of signage are also incongruous & harmful.

The proposed illumination of the front and side facades by floodlighting is thought to be enough to devalue the visual amenity of the street. We appreciate that there is some scope for a subtle and sensitive light scheme to highlight this facade but to floodlight it is excessive. The existing trough lighting on the hanging sign is unnecessary and the Trust regrets that an opportunity to remove this illumination has not been taken. Whilst the menu boxes are not objectionable the intent for them to be internally illuminated should be removed from the proposals.

Whilst we commend the intention to sign paint the proposed signage, thus alleviating any harm to this interesting building through fixings, we do believe too many signs are proposed. The sign writing to the side which is nearest to the hanging sign should be removed all together as the hanging sign negates the need to advertise on this side of the building. We also hold some concern about the sign located on the parapet adding to visual clutter of the street scene and the facade of the building itself. Lastly, the dimensions of the hanging sign are too large and we would ask that they be made smaller, though the intention to reuse the same fixings is welcomed.

By virtue of the excessive illumination and signage proposed, this application fails to enhance or preserve the visual amenity of the street scene or the conservation area and is considered contrary to Local Plan Policies D2, D4, BH1, BH6, BH17 and BH22 and Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF, and should therefore be refused.

13/03471/LBA – 11 Royal Crescent, City Centre, Bath BA1 2LR

Internal refurbishment works including demolition of non-loadbearing internal partition walls, replacement of the existing bathroom and kitchen fittings, plaster repairs, decorations, new floor coverings, electrical and plumbing works.

COMMENT The Trust is concerned that this application for the renovation of interior features of this G1 listed building is thin on detail. The application is not clear whether there any original features remaining in the house nor is it clear whether or not any historic material is to be altered.

Specifically we would ask that the more information is given on the plaster repairs and whether this is to original plasterwork and mouldings; whether or not the doors to be upgraded to fire safety standards are historic doors; and far more detail is needed on the ‘overhaul of sash windows’. The windows proposed to receive treatment are not specified in the application, nor is it made clear what this work entails or if the windows are period or contemporary.

We are warmly supportive of the intention to upgrade this dwelling as we believe it intrinsic to the character of the Royal Crescent that it is occupied by a diverse range of occupants, and believe that the house will benefit from being lived in. Whilst we appreciate the efforts of the applicant are positive and may not entail any work to significant historic fabric, the application must go further to provide evidence that that is indeed the case.

13/03370/LBA & 13/03369/FUL – 7A Harley Street, Lansdown, Bath

Internal and external alterations for the provision of a roof extension forming new floor level over existing felt flat roof.

OBJECT The Trust is disappointed to find that this application yet again lacks evidence that consideration has been given to the impact of any works on the significance and heritage value of this listed building and those adjacent to it. No mention is made of the GII listed status of the building and as such we cannot expect that the listing has informed the design of these proposals, which is enough to make this application objectionable.

We feel that this solution to the current incongruous flat roof is still not a viable solution for this area of Bath. The proportions of the proposed roof are too tall and are not comparable, even if in slate, to nearby gable ends; a roof form which would be more appropriate on this building. The current design for the roof would jeopardise character and architectural interest when viewed in the wider context of the street scene, as well as negatively impacting the legibility of the building and its former use in the early 19th century as a stable block. The character of the building is dictated by its former use in that it is subservient to the adjacent buildings. The proposals as they stand are insensitive to that historic intention.

For the reasons listed above, the application is contrary to Section 12 ‘Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and Local Plan Policies D2, D4, BH1, BH2 and BH6 and should be REFUSED.

13/03448/FUL – 16 Kensington Place, Walcot, Bath BA1 6AP

Erection of double garage following removal of existing shipping container at rear of 16Kensington Place, Bath

OBJECT Bath Preservation Trust has spent some time attempting to understand how this application relates to the previous application 12/04992/FUL for the erection of a garage on the land at the rear of 15 and 16 Kensington Place. As no information is given in the application as to how or if they relate, we feel we must object in the hope that this application be withdrawn and a better one made.

As stated previously, we raise no objection in principle to small garage developments at the bottom of these garden plots. However, development should not interrupt the historic linear plots as this would disrupt the historic garden setting of Kensington Place. Approval of any development which seeks to do so would set a harmful precedent that would harm individually and collectively the character and setting of Kensington Place. The proposal by virtue of the lack of clarity of the application and the potential intended siting is detrimental to the significance and setting and contrary to Section 12 ‘Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and Local Plan Policies BH.1, BH.2 and BH.6 and should be REFUSED.

Week 36

13/03735/LBA – 12 Northumberland Place, Bath BA1 5AR

Internal and external alterations including reinstatement of staircase, windows and shop front following fire damage

OBJECT This application for works to a listed building has no design and access statement and no Heritage impact assessment or statement. As such the Trust fails to understand why the application has been registered in its current state. Due to a lack of information and due to the fact that the detail of the works in only contained within the submitted specification of works, we must object to this application on principle. Furthermore, no information is provided on the methodology for the stone cleaning and no information is given for the lighting scheme beyond the intention to use floodlights which is considered to be an overly aggressive form of illumination in this sensitive and historic location. The Trust objects to excessive lighting within the conservation area and within the world heritage site of Bath and will continue to do so.

By virtue of a lack of detail and the unspecified stone cleaning and illumination this application is considered contrary to Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF as well as local plan policies BH.1, BH.2, BH.6, BH.19 and BH.22 and should be REFUSED.

13/03074/LBA – 5 – 13 Somerset Place, Lansdown, Bath BA1 5HA

Internal and external alterations to former University buildings to create 6no. dwellings, associated access, landscaping and parking, including covered parking to serve 12, 13 and 14 Somerset Place.

COMMENT It could be argued that in the aim of this development should be architectural honestly and as such the 1960’s appearance of these building should be retained. We do however understand the desire of the developer to refurbish these buildings to give a more contemporary appearance to improve their current marketability. Given that these buildings exist, it is difficult to argue that their refurbishment can have anything but a neutral or beneficial effect on the listed crescent and its setting.

The intention to retain the reconstituted Bath Stone facades is again understood and we the developer is to be commended on their re-use in the name of sustainability. We do hold some concern over the materials, in particular the picture of a rubble stone wall in the design and access statement (pg. 26) which is described as Bath Stone, but looks nothing like it. Again on a materials point, we would ask that the roof material be natural slate, as currently the type of slate is unspecified.

We would therefore recommend tight conditioning of materials but on the whole the Trust believes this to be the best approach to a situation where it would be unrealistic to anticipate the removal of these buildings.

13/03530/LBA – 1 Macaulay Buildings, Widcombe, Bath  BA2 6AS

External alterations for the replacement of 2no. windows

COMMENT The Trust is pleased to see a more considered scheme in light of the last proposal to replace more windows; in particular we are pleased that the bow windows have been excluded from this application. However, we still believe there to be a lack of information contained within the application. Although we have it on the applicant’s authority that these windows are  not original, having been replaced in recent history, the application itself includes no lacks evidence to support this. There needs to be a full and proper assessment of these windows so that there is no doubt as to their age and authenticity.

13/03573/REG13 – Banqueting Room floor – Guildhall, High Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 5AW

Replacement of timber floor to the Banqueting Hall. Refurbishment of main timber stairs

OBJECT Bath Preservation Trust believes that the details contained within this application are too sparse. This room is the jewel of the Guildhall and as such much care is needed in replacing the floor and in the choice of materials. This application does not go far enough to display that enough consideration has been taken over these decisions. The existing floor is referred to as American oak in the design and access statement but as pitch-pine in the plans. This seems an unacceptable confusion for such an important proposal. Also of concern in the fact that the detailed drawing does not show the “perimeter bump rails set on 4mm pre-fixed rubber bearers” so it is hard to know exactly what is intended with regards to this or if it will affect the skirting. It would also allay some concern to know who is undertaking the work, as it should be tendered to an organisation with proven conservation experience.

The plans show that a thinner width of board is to be used and this leads to questions on authenticity of appearance. The current boards are described as varying width between 100-150mm but these are to be replaced with boards of 83mm. This is not a like for like replacement. Furthermore, research into the floor has shown that original the floor boards of the banqueting room were much wider, as can be seen in an image of 1849 which shows the room in its original state (The Banqueting Room in December 1849. Found: Bath Central Library, catalogue details: Bath in Time: 207438 Banqueting Room 1849).

The Trust has researched a newspaper article of the 11th October 1923 which described the opening that day of the banqueting room after refurbishment by Mr. A.  J. Taylor, architect, and with reference to the floor it says ‘The old deal floor was replaced sometime ago replaced by one of polished oak’. Whilst this does not rule out the suggestion of the application and the Council Minutes that it was re-lain in 1923, it does suggest a date preceding that.

Furthermore the Trust is also aware of a refurbishment scheme undertaken on the floor in 2007 which was carried out to the Banqueting Room and Aix-en Provence Room by Property Services Building Consultancy. The Banqueting Room restoration included essential maintenance works to the three chandeliers, redecoration, re-dressing the windows, cleaning the paintings, and cleaning and re-surfacing the floors. The flooring in the Banqueting Hall was repaired and re-lacquered by Moran Flooring, who had worked on many of the Council’s other principle buildings (The Guildhall Banqueting Room & Aix-en-Provence Room Restoration Scheme 2007, Miles Barnes, Building Surveyor, Property Services Consultancy)

Lastly, there is no information given as to the refurbishment of the main timber stairs, nor is this proposal included in the application form or regularisation notice which does beg the question why is included in the description of the application.

Whilst we appreciate that the floor is not original, we are surprised at the poor quality of this application. It is our experience that a householder presenting an application for a building of this significance would be expected to provide a thorough application with a historical impact assessment, an exploration of significance and a thorough design and access statement. The fact that is a Council owned building does not mean that need for high quality investigation and supporting evidence is diminished – indeed the Council should be setting a high standard of application as it is the body which judges others. We regret that the opportunity has not been taken to return the floor to its original, broad board appearance and wonder if, in 90 years time, the level of detail in this proposal will be informative enough to inform future generations as to the work undertaken.

By virtue of the lack of clear detail; the questions we have raised surrounding the authenticity of appearance; use of materials; lack of historical information and no mention of the staircase refurbishment this application should be REFUSED.

Designed by Ice House Design