Dec 2013 – Jan 2014

2013-2014 Weeks 49-3

3 December – 14 January 2014

Week 49

13/04936/FUL & 13/04937/LBA – Bhs, 39 Stall Street, City Centre, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA1 1QH

External works including the provision of a new shopfront and entrance

OBJECT Bath Preservation Trust is concerned with the lack of detail contained in this application. We appreciate that the majority of the internal features were lost to a fire in the 1980’s and as such the internal works are largely appropriate. This does mean however that care needs to be shown to the external elements of the building as this is all that is legible of the buildings history and this character should be preserved and enhanced, not degraded.

The proposed changes to the shopfront are generally sympathetic though the detail requires further clarification. The existing shopfront is modern and so the changes proposed are not controversial. However, whilst not strictly within our remit, we are concerned about the potential impact of a concentration of entrances in one unit and the concomitant removal of the other entrances from the other two. Of greater concern is the lack of information regarding the pressure cleaning to the stone and stall risers. Without a method statement and specification of the cleaning this could lead to unacceptable damage to the building’s fabric and as such no permission should be granted until the information is provided for the case officer’s assessment of suitability. We also regret that no information has been given regarding the lighting which is to be installed under the soffit after redecoration. A more traditional approach might be appropriate here but without detail of what is intended it is not possible for this to be an informed judgement.

We are disappointed that little information regarding signage has been detailed and even more so that the signage proposed is entirely insensitive to the historic character of the locality of the building. Any advertising in this location should enhance the conservation Area, not degrade it as the proposal to use inferior materials such as powder coated aluminium here will do. The signs should be of timber and traditionally signwritten.

Lastly, we are concerned about the proposed works to the basement. It is noted that the case officer was unable to visit the basement on a pre-app visit and no full information (or photos) of the vaults have been provided within the application. As such the current condition of the basement and vaults is unknown to those determining the application, be it the officer or interested parties and so again an informed assessment of the proposals in this area of the building cannot be undertaken. The work is detailed as necessary in order to address the issue of water ingress and the application mentions a cavity drain system, though no information has been provided. Vaults are particularly sensitive areas of historic buildings and any imbalance in their environment, even if made to resolve problems such as damp, can exacerbate them. It is therefore, in the interest of the applicant to provide greater clarity on this element of the proposals so the officer, well versed in Bath stone vaults, can give appropriate advice on the suitability of the methods proposed.

Until more information is provided the works proposed in the vaults and the unspecified stone cleaning could pose a threat to the fabric of the building and the signage materials proposed will damage the visual amenity of this sensitive historic location within the conservation areas. As such this application is considered contrary to Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Conservation Area’ of the NPPF and Local Plan Policies BH.2, BH.6, BH.17 and BH.19 and should be refused.

 

13/05016/LBA – 12 The Circus, City Centre, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA1 2ES

External alterations to re-new rear basement windows of property with slim-profile double glazing.

OBJECT Unfortunately, there is no historic assessment of the windows made within the application which is of some concern. Whilst not expecting a thesis, we normally expect that the windows’ appearance and glazing bars be explored within the design and access statement and a resulting assessment of their age made. As it stands the date of the windows is not given within the application and evidence should demonstrate that windows to be replaced are not, or are highly unlikely to be, original, or it will have to be assumed that they are. With that in mind we would consider it inappropriate for the windows to be replaced and would ask that they are repaired and draught-proofed as appropriate with a system such as Ventrolla.

Whilst we appreciate that the applicant may consider a better condition can be achieved in these rooms with a new glazing system it is suggested that a well repaired and draught-proofed single glazed unit could be equally efficient.

Furthermore, it is possible that natural stone paving in replacement of the tarmac to the rear, if installed with a lime based grout, will improve the issue of a damp/cold feel to these rear rooms as water will have more opportunity to drain away from the building. As such we would suggest that the impact of this work on the environment in these rooms should be assessed prior to any proposals to replace the windows.

We support the installation of a natural stone paving as this will have a positive effect on the aesthetic to the rear of the building.

By virtue of the lack of historical assessment within the application, leaving doubt as to the age of the windows to be replaced, this element of the proposal is considered to have a detrimental impact on a listed building of considerable importance. The proposal is 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 BH.2 and BH.6 and should be refused.

 

13/03487/FUL – Park Tavern, 3 Park Lane, Lower Weston, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA1 2XG

Conversion of public house on ground floor to residential unit, alterations to existing first floor flat, conversion of old brewery to residential unit and erection of new residential unit following demolition of 20 Century extensions

OBJECT Bath Preservation Trust has a policy of supporting small windfall development on vacant sites within the urban area in order to minimise the need for housing on the Green Belt. This site is in the conservation area and in close proximity to other listed buildings. However, it is currently under maintained and at best visually neutral. In principle there appears therefore to be no reason why sensitive development should not be considered on this site.

We recognise that this revised scheme has some merit and consider it an improvement of the previous. We welcome the reduction in the amount of development on this site, which goes some way to address our previous concerns. However, the Trust feels that again insufficient information has been provided regarding the application. Virtually no information has been provided about the heritage assets and the impact that these proposals will have on their significance. Without any sufficient detail or historic background provided an informed assessment of the impact of the proposals on the significance of this collection of buildings cannot be made.

We object strongly to the proposal to repaint the facade of the Park Tavern in principle and due to the ‘Bath stone beige’ colour intended. No colour swatch has been provided within the application and it is our belief that paint cannot match the depth of colour that Bath stone possesses and we would prefer a colour, which did not look to match a natural material, was used. It is without doubt that paint causes significant problems in Bath stone as it does not allow the fabric to breathe causing damp internally and spalling to the stonework externally. It is therefore in the interest of the applicant to remove the paint and return the stone to its original appearance using an appropriate method, particularly if the units are to be in separate ownership as the opportunity to clean the facade of paint may not arise again

It is our view that the proposals in their current form would be detrimental to the special interest of the listed buildings and would neither preserve nor enhance the conservation area. Therefore, this application is contrary to Local Plan Policies D.2, B.2 and B.6 of the Local Plan and Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Conservation Area’ of the NPPF and should be refused.

 

13/04918/LBA – Victoria Bridge, Victoria Bridge Road, Kingsmead, Bath, Bath and North East Somerset, BA1 3AY

External work which includes lighting proposal for bridge that is being refurbished.

SUPPORT The Bath Preservation Trust strongly supports this application.  The existing bulkhead lighting at each tower does not provide sufficient light to illuminate the bridge. We are pleased the proposed lighting minimizes the impact on the ‘dark sky’ character of the conservation area and is energy efficient.

 

13/04747/FUL – Octagon Hall, 25 Milsom Place, City Centre, Bath

Use of the building for A1 retail and/or A3 restaurant and for additional use of designated areas of the building for B1a office and/or C1 hotel.

COMMENT Bath Preservation Trust requests that if the case officer is minded to permit this change of use, that an informative condition be attached to the permission if stating that although the change of use is granted, a listed building application will be required for any works and that the change of use does not guarantee consent of a listed building application.

 

Week 50

13/05042/LBA – The Orange Shop 20 – 21 Cheap Street City Centre Bath BA1 1NA

External alterations to replace existing branded shop fascia with diabond fascia with 2internally illuminated logos. (Regularisation)

OBJECT The Trust will continue to object to illuminated signs within the Conservation area and in the World Heritage Site. The signs, by virtue of the materials and illumination would cause harm to the visual amenity value of the area and would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation area. The application therefore fails to comply with D.2, D.4, BH.1, BH.6 and BH.17, the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and Section 12 ‘Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and should be refused.

 

13/04828/ARSpar Shop Courthouse Filling Station Upper Bristol Road Lower Weston Bath Bath And

North East Somerset

Display of 1no. externally illuminated projecting sign, 2no. externally illuminated fascia signs and 7no. non illuminated pole signs

OBJECT The Trust objects to illuminated signs within the Conservation area and in the World Heritage Site. While the amount of illumination is, in itself, enough to be of detriment to the visual amenity of the area, the signs, by virtue of the materials, colour, amount and position are incongruous. Aluminium and acrylic materials are not sensitive or appropriate as they oppose the traditional palette of Bath. The excessive number of additions to the site frontage will add to the visual clutter of the street scene.  Furthermore, the hanging sign will largely be obscured by the neighbouring buildings thus rendering it invisible side on. The application fails to comply with Local Plan Policies BH.6, BH.17 and BH.19, the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and Section 12 Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment of the NPPF and should be refused.

 

13/05096/FUL & 13/05097/LBA – 6 Bloomfield Crescent, Bloomfield, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA2 2BE

Provision of rooflight/upstand to main house, installation of flue and extension of existing coach house to provide ancillary guest accommodation. Demolition and rebuild of existing courtyard wall.

OBJECT There are some commendable elements to this application such as the retention and careful preservation of the copper washing-kettle which is the remaining piece of historic evidence in the vaults. However, following the collapse of the original vaults, the replacement concrete supports inserted are very substantial, presumably considered necessary at the time. This gives rise to structural concerns, particularly in conjunction with the proposals to lower the floor level. No decision should be made until the structural report, due to be commissioned, is in place.

Whilst we appreciate that there are several glazed light-well covers in situ across the terrace and that the existing grill is in steel and therefore not original, we do not feel this is an appropriate addition to a grade II* listed terrace. This glazed infill  will effectively enclose the outside windows of a semi-basement room so may well cause or exacerbate damp problems, even though new ventilation is proposed, ventilation will be much reduced. This accretion of these glazed infills across the terrace should not be used as justification for another and should not give way to default consent on the grounds of precedent; it should in fact serve as deterrent to allow more.

Of primary concern to the Trust are the radical proposals to alter the building’s plan form and the considerable loss of historic fabric involved. Although the Lower ground floor window to be removed is not original, the window opening appears to be so, and is one of a pair. The internal wall in the proposed kitchen area is very substantial and removing it as well as the plan and fabric proposals, may again have structural implications. There is also no valid justification for both of these alterations together – if the wall is removed, the existing door will suffice as access, and if the window is removed, the replacement door will provide the necessary access. The proposals therefore are unreasonable in their extent and cause unacceptable harm to the character and the historic built form of the house.

With these concerns in mind, Bath Preservation Trust considers that on balance, we must object to this application as the works as they are proposed are not sensitive enough to the architectural significance of this building. By virtue of the loss of historic fabric and plan form as well as the potential to exacerbate damp problems for the house in the future these proposals are considered contrary to Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and local plan policies D.2, D.4 and BH.2.

 

Week 51

13/05170/LBA – 9 Bridge Street City Centre

External alterations to the glazing of the shopfront

SUPPORT Bath Preservation Trust supports this application whose proposals will see the reinstatement of uniform glazing to this prominent shopfront within the conservation area and an improvement to the street scene. The existing mix of glazing types detracts from the appearance of the listed building and the detailing of the shopfront.

 

13/05172/AR – 14 St James’s Parade Bath BA1 1UL 1LB

Display of 3no fascia signs

OBJECT Whilst Bath Preservation Trust is pleased to see that no illumination is proposed we regret elements of this application. Primarily, there seems little justification for these works which will cause damage the listed building’s shopfront fascia, as the current signage is more than adequate and the advertising as existing in the windows works in the stead of an overcrowded fascia as proposed. As this scheme is proposed upon a listed building within the conservation area we would prefer to see traditional sign painted signage, finding the aluminium and applied vinyl signage to be out of keeping with the palette of Bath. Due to the detrimental impact of the proposals on the listed building, the conservation area and on the amenity value of the street scene this application is considered contrary to Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ and Local Plan policies BH.2, BH.6 and BH.17 and should be REFUSED.

 

13/05210/REG03 – Bath And North East Somerset Council Lewis House Manvers Street Bath LB

Works to forecourt of Lewis House fronting Manvers Street to provide disabled people access to the ‘One Stop Shop’ reception and Shopmobility reception areas. Emergency generator located in rear car park.

COMMENT We recognise the need for disabled access to the one-stop shop at Lewis House and for DDA compliance.

We question why the benches and street furniture proposed are not those designed as part of the Public Realm and Movement Strategy.We3 hope that the opportunity will be taken significantly to improve the pavement immediately in front of Lewis house as currently it is not a good advertisement for the planning team housed within!

 

13/05174/FUL & 13/05175/LBA – 10 Sydney Buildings Bathwick

Erection of single storey extension

COMMENT As the extension proposed is of a contemporary, non‐traditional style we regret that more informative context visualisations have not been provided within the application. The artistic line sketches are not adequate to give an accurate impression of how this building will blend into the locality and the extent of the impact it will have when viewed from the canal. For this reason we believe that making an informed decision on this application is not possible at present and that it should not be determined until a better context representation of the extension is provided.

 

13/04317/LBA  – Second Floor Flat , 7 Walcot Terrace, Walcot, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA1 6AB

Internal and external alterations for the replacement of front window

COMMENT The trust regrets that this application lacks sufficient information required to make a proper assessment of the impact of the alterations on the historic character and significance of the building and its setting.The ‘Proposed & Existing’ drawing is basic and there is no drawing provided showing the front elevation. Furthermore the photo of the window in question does not appear to show a frame that is in very poor condition. As such more information ought to be submitted in support of the application, to justify the proposal prior to determination in line with the National Planning Policy Framework, paragraph 128.

 

13/04437/LBA – First Floor Flat 7 Walcot Terrace Walcot

Replacement of a sash window on the first floor elevation

COMMENT The trust regrets that this application lacks sufficient information required to make a proper assessment of the impact of the alterations on the historic character and significance of the building and its setting.The ‘Proposed & Existing’ drawing is basic and there is no drawing provided showing the front elevation. Furthermore the photo of the window in question does not appear to show a frame that is in very poor condition.As such more information ought to be submitted in support of the application, to justify the proposal prior to determination in line with the National Planning Policy Framework, paragraph 128.

 

Week 52

13/05238/FUL – Victoria Cottage, Rose Terrace, Combe Down, Bath, Bath and North East Somerset

Erection of side extension (resubmission)

COMMENT While noting that this newly proposed extension still dilutes the charm of the original building,  Bath Preservation Trust is pleased to see a more subservient design proposed for the extension of this unique and attractive cottage. It is clear that the applicant has taken on board our points relating to the need for a smaller scale and mass so as not to detract from the existing building and as such this application is considered an improvement. We recognise that the building has recently been delisted and we would ask that the council update whichever database is used for registering applications to reflect this as the building appears as listed in the weekly list.

 

13/05224/LBA – 13 Springfield Place, Landsown, Bath, Bath and North East Somerset, BA1 5RA

External alterations to include the removal of a garage and sloped drive, reinstate former yard wall and level garden parking area. Reduce opening in front elevation and fit French doors.

OBJECT Bath Preservation Trust understands the merit of adding to the residential accommodation of this terraced house through the renovation of the garage. We regret that the design of proposed French doors in place of the garage doors sits uncomfortably with the alignment of existing fenestration, though this is secondary to our concern over the raising and levelling of the ramp area.

We have no objection in principle to the raising and levelling of the area as presumably this would constitute a return to the original appearance of the house. However, we consider it highly inappropriate that this area then be used for parking and not be returned to a verdant front garden as exist along the Place. Positioning a car on the infill would be severely obtrusive and detrimental to the immediate setting and aesthetic composition of the listed building, and despite the existing opening in the wall, it would be harmful to the street scene, visual amenity value and group value of the buildings which form Springfield Place. Furthermore, a harmful precedent would be set which could, over time, contribute to a gradual degradation of these buildings and the street setting. On balance we find it more appropriate, therefore, that the hard landscaping and parking proposals are removed from the application so as that aesthetic of Numbers 13 and 14 Springfield Place can be retained.

The loss of the large part of the newly configured front garden to hard-standing would also fail to either preserve or enhance the character of the conservation area as required by Local Plan Policy BH.6. The proposal is therefore contrary to Policy BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan, the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 12, Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment of the NPPF and Local Plan Policies BH1, BH2 and BH6 and should therefore be REFUSED.

 

13/05404/FUL – Transport Deport, Brougham Hayes, Westmoreland, Bath

Erection of c.44 no. Flats (Class C3) and associated works following demolition of existing depot building.

OBJECT The principle of development of residential accommodation at this location is an entirely acceptable proposal; however, the revised design of the building proposed is in our view substandard in quality and will arguably have a negative impact upon the townscape character of the location. Given the sensitivity of the site, in the World Heritage Site, the City of Bath Conservation Area and its close proximity to other heritage assets of architectural merit, the proposed design, which takes little reference from its context, is unacceptable.

The massing of the building and extent of flat roof is particularly inappropriate and unresponsive to the location, appearing monolithic. This bulky form will have a visually intrusive impact upon the local townscape, and the building will dominate the street-scene along Brougham Hayes. Our objection centres on the fact that the building as proposed fails to adhere to the previously agreed height which was put in place to respect the modest 2 storey artisans’ cottages (not 2.5 as suggested within the design and access statement) which sit opposite the site. Whilst the ridge height of the roof is suggested to be 1.7m lower than the permitted offices, the eaves are higher. The increased height, in combination with the omission of a step down, lower level height  and horizontal emphasis, will have a severely negative effect on the artisan cottages and their setting and will have a detrimental effect on the visual amenity of the street scene and the wider world heritage site. Across the board the Trust considered that the scheme is one storey too tall.

With regard to materials more detail is required to make a full assessment of the proposals. For example, The Trust assumes the Bath Stone will be mounted on a cladding frame, in which instance the width of stone used will be crucial to the longevity of the stone. There should also be greater elaboration on how the junctions between the render and the Bath Stone will be treated. The material for the ‘grey metal cladding’ has not been stated and we would ask that this and the other materials to be used are confirmed prior to any permission, and not secured by way of Condition.

With the above in mind, and notwithstanding the extant permission to redevelop this site, we consider that the proposed building would fail to enhance local distinctiveness; it would neither preserve nor enhance the character or appearance of the street scene; and, it would fail to reflect the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site. The proposal is therefore contrary to policies D.2, D.4, and BH.1 of the B&NES local plan, Section 12 the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and should therefore be REFUSED.

 

Week 1

13/04976/LBA – 12 Henrietta Villas, Bathwick, Bath, BA2 6LX

Internal and External alterations to include removal of external staircase and door and replace with new window. Relocation of internal hallway wall.

SUPPORT Bath Preservation Trust is supportive of this application which proposes a return to the buildings original character and form. All the work to be undertaken is relevant and serves only to enhance the special architectural and historic interest of this building. The current metal staircase is incongruous and its removal will enhance the appearance of the listed building and the street scene and add to the integrity of the conservation area.

 

13/05013/LBA – 48 Lyncombe Hill, Lyncombe Bath

Internal and external alterations for new floors, new windows, reconfigure opening between kitchen and lounge, reinstate door to head of stair at ground level, new shutters and block small window in study and new fireplaces to principal rooms.

SUPPORT Whilst we would not normally comment on applications for interior alterations in this instance Dr Amy Frost (BPT employee) has visited the property and therefore we have a better understanding of the impact of the proposals. The Trust welcomed early engagement with the applicant and the opportunity to advise on the appropriate approach.

Bath Preservation Trust is supportive of this application which proposes to reinstate internal architectural features which are missing. All the work to be undertaken appears appropriate in detail and will enhance the character of the listed building and compliment its special architectural and historic interest.

The Trust is aware that a proposal to reinstate French doors is intended to be submitted in a separate application and whilst we will reserve formal comment until such an application has been submitted, we anticipate that this proposal will be look on favourably as the intention to reconnect the house with its landscape setting is supported.

 

13/05158/FUL – Field Between City Farm And Cotswold View The Hollow Southdown Bath Bath And North East Somerset.

Erection of 1.8m high fence, with access gate.

OBJECT The Trust regrets that the application is made in retrospect. Work has been undertaken without due regard for the planning application process, which exists to protect the City of Bath World Heritage Site from inappropriate developments which harm the special character of the city and its landscape setting.

The timber fence which has been erected is too high and is visually intrusive into the view of the surrounding hillsides from The Hollow. By virtue of the material, construction and solidity it jars with the hedgerow boundary treatment and verdant character of the area.

In the interest of maintaining the visual amenity value of the street scene and special qualities of the WHS and its landscape setting the appropriate solution here would be the continuation of a low fence and a planted hedgerow, as is exists further along and adjoining the fence.

The proposal fails to enhance the character of the public realm, respond to the local context, or enhance the surroundings and is therefore contrary to Local Plan Policies D2, D4, and BH1, and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and Section 12, Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment of the NPPF. The application should therefore be REFUSED and appropriate enforcement action taken to remedy the breach in planning regulations and reach an acceptable solution.

 

Week 2

13/05054/LBA – Kilowatt House, North Road, Bathwick, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA2 6HW.

Internal works to facilitate the conversion of existing garage to habitable room.

COMMENT Bath Preservation Trust finds that that the use of the garage for residential accommodation to be justified as this is likely to increase the desirability of this fine house and secure its future in attracting family buyers, secure its occupation and maintain a good state of repair. However, this change should not then support further justification for the development of a free standing garage within the setting of Kilowatt House. The work is reversible, therefore a garage could be reinstated if there is a need for one.

 

13/05336/FUL & 13/05337/LBA – Horseshoe House, 51 Sydney Buildings, Bathwick, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA2 6DB.

Erection of two storey replacement side extension (garage with bedroom over) following demolition of single storey side extension (garage)

OBJECT This application is identical to the proposal previously submitted, except for the dormer window which we are pleased remains omitted from the scheme. TheTrust objected to that scheme, which was not looked on favourably by the Local Planning Authority. The Trust continues to strongly object and our reasons are repeated.

With regard to the street elevation, the existing garage extension is both ugly and inappropriate, and the intention to rebuild it is supported.

The principle of making a 21st century statement is both understandable and laudable, but not if, as in this case, the design of a subservient extension is so aggressively unsympathetic that it detracts from both the listed building and its group value.

The overall design fails to respect the local context by not taking its cue from the existing building and terrace, and rather superimposes its own proportions and plan; the cornice and string course of the new extension do not align comfortably with those of the main house and the deliberate asymmetry in design contradicts the classical tradition of Bath.

The size and vertical divisions of the window and garage door to the front elevation are totally alien to the proportions of the other openings.  The bulky projecting window at first floor level would unbalance the appearance of the house, and introduce an inappropriate and visually intrusive feature in the late Georgian street scene which is quiet, domestic and traditional in character. In addition the proposed aluminium material and metal cladding is unsympathetic to the limited traditional palette prevalent in the local context.

With regard to the garden elevation, whilst it is recognised that the existing bay is of much later date than the original build (1901), similar bays to the houses on either side give an established cohesion to the rear view. This will be disrupted by the proposed replacement structure; as with the street elevation, here we also object to the design which fails to relate to the rear elevation. Furthermore, due to this site’s prominent position, we have concerns about the impact of the long site lines from the National Trust land above and the canal below onto this development.

The proposal would introduce an incongruous design that would detract from the special architectural and historic significance of the listed building and neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area. The application remains in conflict with Policies, D2, D4, BH1, BH2 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan and Section 12, Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment of the NPPF and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and should therefore be REFUSED.

 

Week 3

13/05508/LBA – Ladbrokes Racing Ltd, 16 Westgate Street, City Centre

Internal and external alterations to include re-roofing works and structural repairs to original timbers.

SUPPORT The proposed works appear sensitively detailed and will maintain a good standard of repair, which will help ensure the long term survival of this listed building. The application is therefore supported.

 

13/05449/LBA – Museum Of Bath At Work, Camden Works, Julian Road, Lansdown

External alterations for replacement windows to south west elevation

SUPPORT While the Trust considers that the provided information was slightly ‘thin’ for an LBA, the historic assessment given in the description of windows at Camden Works clearly highlights that the current windows are not original and are in need of improvement. In this instance therefore Trust supports the installation of slim profile steel framed double glazed windows, in accordance with our published guidance Warmer Bath. Whilst a return to timber is preferred, the steel windows proposed maintain a later style which reflects the industrial nature of its use.

 

13/05513/LBA – 1 Winifreds Dale, Cavendish Road, Lansdown, Bath BA1 2UD

Stone cleaning to the whole of the building

COMMENT The Trust is concerned that the TORC method of cleaning is an over-treatment of the historic fabric of this building. The TORC method of cleaning uses an abrasive and can be useful for the removal of stubborn deposits. However, the ‘over clean’ aesthetic is produces is damaging to the structure of the stone and to the aesthetic of the street scene. This is of particular concern as the building is one of a pair within a detached terrace; an over treatment by TORC will likely result in the removal of the patina of age which will stand in harsh contrast with its neighbour. The Trust we would support localised cleaning using a less invasive system such as the DOFF system or simple gentle hand cleaning to the accumulated deposits under the overhanging cornices.

 

13/05499/LBA & 13/05498/FUL – 5 – 13 Somerset Place, Lansdown, Bath BA1 5HA

External work for the provision of balconies to rear elevation at 13, 11 and 6 and alterations to rear fenestration.

OBJECT In principle Bath Preservation Trust does not object to the intention to introduce hierarchy back into the rear facades of these houses within the terrace. We are however, disappointed with the solution proposed. It is possible to employ a contemporary idiom in traditional materials and we regret the lack of imagination employed in proposing materials of at best neutral visual quality.

It is clear that the applicant is seeking to make an improvement to the otherwise stark rear elevations of these buildings and that is to be supported, however the stainless steel and glass balustrade and the metal grill floor will be visually jarring with an industrial quality, and will not sit comfortably with the adjacent listed buildings and constitutes a missed opportunity to enhance the conservation area with good contemporary design.

By virtue of the materials and the lack of detail provided with regards to and joinery and the junction between the balconies and the stonework this application is considered contrary to Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and Local Plan policies D.2, D.4, BH.2 and BH.6 and should be REFUSED.

 

13/05531/FUL – 153 Newbridge Hill, Newbridge, Bath BA1 3PX

Erection of a dwelling on land at the rear of 153/155 Newbridge Hill.

COMMENT Bath Preservation Trust is concerned about the effect this building will have on the rear gardens of both the Newbridge Hill and the Apsley Road houses as they add much to the character of the area. Whilst the benefit of these rear gardens are in the majority confined to those who live in the buildings which overlook this gaden it is felt that, in combination with the recently approved care home in the garden of 169 Newbridge Hill, that permitting this application will lead to a damaging precedent and a gradual erosion of the character of this area. Furthermore, it is felt that the use proposed would be considerably more intensive than an incidental residential building.

 

13/05511/FUL – Closed Public Toilets, North Parade Road, Bathwick

Demolition of dilapidated fomer public convenience and construction of new artist studio building (B1 use).

OBJECT Bath Preservation Trust regrets that this scheme does not seek to re-use the current building which, whilst its past use may not be particularly glamorous, is a pleasant example of a small building of functional 20th century design within the city. The benefits of retaining the building are not only limited to preservation of an undervalued building type in Bath, but in terms of sustainability the adaptive re-use of this building should be sought.

With no objection in principle to the contemporary approach, it is felt that a design of far greater merit and aesthetic should be achieved on this site, particularly given its proposed use. The proposed replacement building is of at best neutral design quality and therefore constitutes a missed opportunity to enhance the conservation area with outstanding contemporary design. As the proposed replacement building will significantly alter the local street scene and the character of this sensitive and prominent location within the conservation area, more evidence is needed to illustrate that this building is the highest quality solution for this site.

As existing, this small structure sits comfortably and unobtrusively on its verdant patch at this busy junction which is one of the gateways into the historic heart of the city centre. Whilst the design and access statement mentions the retention of mature trees, no landscaping details are provided and the position of the trees to be retained is omitted from the drawings. It is therefore difficult to assess to what extent the trees will help to soften the design and ground it into the context of the site.

By virtue of the design quality and the potentially detrimental impact of this building on the conservation area this application is in conflict with Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and Local Plan policies D.2, D.4 and BH.6 and should be REFUSED.

 

13/04235/FUL & 13/04185/LBA – revised drawings

Hope House, The Royal High School, Lansdown Road, Lansdown, Bath BA1 5ES

Residential development for the erection of 57 no. dwellings, including the conversion of Hope House, and associated infrastructure and parking following demolition of existing school buildings.

Comments

Overall Bath Preservation Trust welcomes these proposals which on the whole respect the nature of the site they are to inhabit and gives a renewed use to Hope House.

However, we have several serious misgivings about the scheme as currently submitted and regret that none of the proposed changes within the amended plans, dated 6th & 7th January 2014, adequately resolves the problematic design elements of the scheme. We therefore maintain our reservations about the proposed separate lower block and repeat and reinforce most of our earlier comments in response to the proposed amendments.

Upper site

The Trust is generally happy with the scale of development on the upper site, reserving its concerns for a few details that we believe would make the scheme more comfortable in the setting. We appreciate that the blocks seek not to be too intrusive above the wall to Lansdown Road, however, this loss of height has lead to some regrettable aesthetics.

We recognise that effort has been made to address concerns that the windows to a number of elevations are square rather than the Georgian rectangular which adds to the sense of the buildings being too short and top heavy.

We do not consider that the addition of ‘patio doors’ on the ground floor of Blocks A and B are improvements.

Block C

We maintain our main reservation which is that Block C does not successfully achieve the palatial aesthetic it has tried to because of the broken roofline. Either the lower level element should be removed, and/or the roofline stepped down to meet the lower level so that the ‘palace front’ appears symmetrical.

Alternatively we recommend considering two breaks in roofline instead of one as shown, opting for middling-better-class terrace stepping down hill, which we acknowledge will require on street parking.

We welcome the removal of the lower bay/’Round tower’ which appears to be omitted from block C, although one elevation drawing still includes it. This requires correction.

Exterior Alterations

The Trust feels strongly that Hope House should be left to stand alone, as it once did, and that the glass link to Block E should be omitted from the proposals. The design of the proposed link appears somewhat institutional. It is in the wrong idiom and is perhaps not contemporary enough to sit in an aesthetically pleasing contrast with Hope House. If there has to be a link here it ought to have a much lighter touch or be a more creative solution.

With regards to the conversion of Hope House itself there is a lack of detail concerning the new windows. The existing windows are to be replaced with double glazing and traditional glazing bar patterns, but it was hard to find the relevant information about the existing windows, and whether the openings are to be altered. The application does not specify if the double glazing is to slim-line, which it ought to be. Linked to this, the mouldings for the joinery look reasonable, although rather early for the date of the building, particularly the glazing bar profiles. We would ask that this design approach is further justified before any permission is granted.

Landscaping

We repeat concerns about the limited detail of the landscape proposals and feel[s] that more information is needed to understand the impact of the development on the landscape on the local and wider scale. We welcome the belated AVR report, but regret that there were no within site views re the impact upon Hope House or the retained parkland. Cross-sections across the proposed developed site, in particular illustrating the North-South section between boundary walls, and [a section depicting] the East-West section from the gate to the parkland to illustrate relative levels should be provided. The Submitted explanation and visualisation of the interrelationships within the site and contextually is still insufficient, but remains a requirement for proper consideration of the application.

We welcome the intention to retain the yew at the main entrance, but have doubts about   its survival, given the proximity of roots to building line. We would prefer that the replacement Thuja plicata near Hope House were an exact replacement for the ‘Japanese red cedar’ (T21) which will be lost nearby. The absence of any edible fruit trees within the grounds seems a missed opportunity.

We welcome the enhanced planting, in species, size & quantity, which is proposed for the area south of Block C towards St James Park. However it is not clear whether the drawing shows trees as planted (in which case not exactly dense clumps) or final numbers (in which case how many of each?).

On the hard landscaping, we would like to see further details of surfaces for pedestrian areas paths submitted. Furthermore we would encourage a continuous route from block A to inner site parkland views. Overall we regret that there is limited public access and through-routes within the site, and consider that a better connection with the townscape could be achieved by improving the permeability of the site. For example, there is still no pedestrian access from parkland and northern houses to Park Street Mews.

We note that the existing pedestrian gate onto Lansdown Road is to be closed and a convenient replacement provided under an arch; we doubt that the wall is sufficiently high for this to be practicable.

Lower Site

Again, we have no objection in principle to a light touch contemporary approach on this portion of the site, indeed we believe it to be the correct treatment of the area. However, we do not consider that changes to this part of the scheme address any of the concerns previously raised. In particular, the materials are depicted even more sketchily than before.

We repeat our previous observation that generally this part of the scheme is insufficiently detailed, especially in respect of materials. We continue to take particular issue with the choice to employ Cotswold Stone rubble in horizontal courses on the facades of this building since we consider this material to be incongruous to the local vernacular. As this site sits within the conservation area and in proximity to numerous buildings of architectural interest and significance which are rendered in natural Bath Stone this inappropriate use of materials should be revisited by the applicant and a more suitable solution found.  The thin lines of Cotswold stone coursing at Cavendish Lodge nearby are incongruous for Bath and should not be used as a precedent.

We are concerned about the views onto the flat roof of the contemporary terrace from the surrounding area. Without any visualisations of how this fits into the landscape it is hard to judge and we ask that this element is detailed before any permission is considered.

Lastly, we feel that an opportunity has been missed to landscape in a path from the upper site through the lower site and down to the city as this is the most likely cut through for potential residents and feel that lack of delineation and the mass of the terrace will deter people from using this route.

If these proposals had come in as two separate applications we would have been minded to object to the proposals on this lower portion of the site until such a time as better detail was provided.

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