Feb – March 2013

12 February – 12 March 2013

Weeks 6-10 (2013)

13/00154/REG03 – City Of Bath College, Avon Street, City Centre, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA1 1UN

Installation of a public sculpture and plinth.

OBJECT Whilst we welcome the principle of a statue on this site, we are concerned that the proposal is not supported by detailed justification for design choices such as the reason for this siting. No indication is given as to demonstrate how the statue will fit into the site and its context.

Also, we would like to see a current landscaping application base-map in this application since the outdated base-map is not helpful.

Overall, we believe this application should not be approved until more precise information is provided. This proposal in its current form is therefore contrary to Local Plan Policies D2, D4, BH1 and BH6, the Planning (Listed Building & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and should be refused.

13/00281/AR – The Grapes, 14 Westgate Street, City Centre, Bath, Bath And North East Somerset, BA1 1EQ

Display of 1no. non-illuminated hanging sign, 1no. non-illuminated fascia sign, 2no non-illuminated blackboards and 1no. internally illuminated menu case.

OBJECT While the Trust welcomes non-illumination, the elevations presented imply that the front elevation will be painted a very light colour, giving the building an unbalanced appearance which may have a detrimental impact on the character of the street scene. The illuminated menu box is visually intrusive and an unnecessary light source and the loss of attractively painted bunch of grapes sign is regrettable. We consider the materials for the proposed signage to be inappropriate and unsympathetic. Specifically, we object to the built-up letters on stainless-steel shadowbacks, which are considered to be irrelevant to this context and inappropriate to the soft character of this building. Traditionally painted timber signs would be much more sympathetic and appropriate for the character of this building, and of this city centre location. Overall, the absence of a heritage impact statement is sufficient reason for refusal alone. This application would fail to enhance the visual amenity value of the area, is contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 12 ‘Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and Local Plan Policies BH2, BH6, BH17 and BH19 and should  therefore be refused.

13/00373/LBA – West Lodge, 6 Bathford Hill, Bathford, Bath BA1 7SL

External alterations to an existing pedestrian gateway to form vehicular access.

OBJECT The site of this development falls within the Bathford Conservation Area. Stone boundary walls are cited within the Conservation Area Appraisal for Bathford are ‘vitally important to village character. Ensure retention of existing and encourage further.’ The character of the site has arguably already been compromised by the previous alterations to existing pedestrian gates along Bathford Hill. However, further permitting such development sets a poor precedent which allows for cumulative erosion of the special character of Bathford. Furthermore, the relative size of Bathford serves to emphasise the impact of this development upon the character and aesthetics of the area.

Regardless of age, it is the line and position of the boundary walls which characterise this contained village street and this line should be retained in the interest of local distinctiveness and to maintain the character of the street scene.

Front boundary walls and pedestrian gates are attractive and important features that provide cohesiveness and unity in a street and contribute to an important part of the city environment. It is for this reason that the Trust has a keen preference for the retention of boundary walls and the retention of historic building lines.

This application is therefore contrary to Local Plan Policies D2, D4, 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.

12/05590/ERES Western Riverside Development Area, Midland Road, Twerton, Bath

Approval of reserved matters with regard to outline application 06/01733/EOUT for the erection of three and four storey buildings comprising 26 houses and apartments and 1 commercial unit (A3 cafe/restaurant), vehicular access to Victoria Bridge Road, parking and landscaping.

COMMENT The Trust requested an extension to the deadline for comments on the 19 February 2013. This request has not yet been acknowledged or confirmed, therefore we are submitting these holding headline comments with anticipation of submitting further detailed comments following a review of the application by our architecture and planning committee on the 12th March.

Overall, the Trust welcomes the design scheme, which we recognised had approach its context creatively and sensitively.

The Trust feels that the standard of the design scheme presented was of a marked improvement upon the designs which have previously been presented for this and other parts of the development site. In particular we welcome terraced form, rather than apartment blocks. We hope that this sets a benchmark for the remainder of the development, and that similar quality of urban design, architecture and landscaping can be achieved whilst respecting the surroundings and context of Western Riverside.

The Trust remains concerned about how these design proposals will relate and interact with the emerging design scheme at the Homebase site. Owing to the differing timescales of the respective projects, we feel it more likely that Crest’s proposals will lead Sainsbury’s design process. We consider that there is scope for these proposals to be better reflected at their site.

Massing, Grain and Architecture

The Trust welcomes the proposed urban design and architecture of this second phase development. It is evident that appropriate efforts have been made to create a development which is cohesive, and more importantly responds sensitively to its context. We particularly welcome the gaps in the northern crescent of the site, which will allow light to permeate across the river and riverside path, as well as creating views and visual interest. The Trust is also receptive to the proposed reinterpretation of the Georgian house typology, which is broadly felt to successfully express this style in a contemporary fashion.

Roof

The articulation of the roof is particularly welcomed as a superior alternative to a flat roof. During our pre application discussions with Crest Nicholson and Alison Brooks about the design scheme it was made clear that the houses were being designed with a view to them appearing as a sculptural entity. While we do not oppose this approach in principle, we do disagree that this necessitates that the roof be constructed in a material that either disguises its purpose or seeks homogeneity with the Bath Stone proposed for the facades. It seemed that ceramic was the preferred material of choice for the roof and that it would be coloured and patinated to mimic the surface of Bath Stone. Alternative, non-porous limestones, such as Whitbed Portland stone were also discussed as an alternative to the use of ceramic or Bath Stone.

The Trust firstly disagrees with the approach that in order to unify the roof with the facades it is necessary to homogenise the colour.  While in principle, conceptualising the building as a sculpture is not something we disagree with, a homogenous approach is not in keeping with the traditional vernacular of Bath, and particularly the Georgian terrace typology this design draws upon.

We have serious doubts as to whether a ceramic Bath stone coloured cladding will achieve the desired effect in homogenising the roof with the Bath Stone facades. Bath Stone is a highly organic and dynamic material with a texture and appearance which changes considerably with age, weathering and climate conditions. Even if ceramic is given a ‘Bath Stone’ treatment to its finish it will remain much more inert as a material, which will ultimately betray the difference between the facades and the roof. Ceramic is also thought to be a difficult material to use in the cladding of the buildings, and we again suggest contacting the Holborne regarding the difficulties they have experienced in using ceramic for their extension. We remain similarly dubious about the use of Whitbed Portland stone as a structurally feasible alternative.

We welcome the suggestion made during our pre application discussion that on-site testing of materials would be conducted to appraise the weathering effects of different materials, which we consider to be important if unconventional materials are proposed. We welcomed the opportunity to observe this testing and any selections of materials but as yet we have not seen any details of materials or details to demonstrate how the decision on the roofing material is being reached.

We do not consider that this application can be properly assessed without precise details, and samples of the stone coloured cladding material and other roofing materials. Samples of materials and justification for the suitability of use should be submitted for consideration and public consultation prior to the determination of this planning application.

A further concern relates to the idea of a ‘sculptural unity’ related to guttering and rainwater goods, and particularly ensuring that these could function and be cleared effectively without disturbing the building.  Drawings within this application include a detail a concealed parapet–type junction between the roof and wall. Whilst is appropriately concealed, it cuts across the concept of a unified whole.

Lastly we suggest that consideration be given to ensuring that subsequent occupants do not disturb the visual aesthetics of the design with unsympathetic additions such as solar PVs. If these houses are not to be run off the CPH plant for the site, then consideration should be given to concealed integral solar tiles, or integrated panels within the roof. Otherwise a consistent approach will need to be secured through the enforcement of an article 4 direction or by Condition upon the planning application.

13/00275/FUL – Sydney Lawn Demolished Property, Sydney Road, Bathwick, Bath

Erection of single dwelling.

COMMENT Whilst the Bath Preservation Trust does not object to building housing on this site, an application for this amount of development should have been submitted at the same time as the planning application for the eight proposed apartments was submitted to the local planning authority for determination. The Trust is concerned that further development within the long garden to the south would result in the overdevelopment of the site to the detriment of the amenity value of the area. The decision to build another dwelling would encroach closely towards the apartments, reduce amenity and create an uncomfortable relationship between the two buildings. The Heritage and Design Statement has stated the dwelling is to represent a small lodge. We are not entirely convinced that such an approach, at this scale, is justified in this precise location, though we acknowledge that larger houses built in the villa style are a characteristic of the wider Bathwick area.

13/00282/LBA – The Grapes, 14 Westgate Street, City Centre, BA1 1EQ

External alterations for the display of 1no. non-illuminated hanging sign, 1no. non-illuminated fascia sign, 2no non-illuminated blackboards and 1no. internally illuminated menu case.

OBJECT The Trust continues to object to these proposals. The Grade II* listed building is of high architectural and historic significance. The elaborate elevation, which is characterised by Roman Doric columns, with Ionic and Corinthian columns above, predate John Wood’s era, and almost certainly influenced Wood’s design for the Circus.

While we welcome non-illumination, the detail in the application implies that the front elevation will be painted a very light colour, giving the building an unbalanced appearance which would have a detrimental impact on the character of the street scene. The illuminated menu box is visually intrusive and an unnecessary light source and the loss of attractively painted bunch of grapes sign would be regrettable. We consider the materials for the proposed signage to be inappropriate and unsympathetic. Specifically, we object to the built-up letters on stainless-steel shadowbacks, which are considered to be inappropriate in this context and harmful to the historic character of this building. Traditionally painted timber signs would be much more sympathetic and appropriate  for this  building within this sensitive city centre location in the heart of the Conservation Area.

Furthermore, the absence of a heritage statement is sufficient reason for refusal alone. This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Building & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 12 ‘Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and Local Plan Policies BH2, BH6, BH17 and Bh19 and should be refused.

13/00348/FUL – Dawnside, Sion Hill, Lansdown, Bath BA1 2UW

Erection of a two storey front extension, single storey side extension, front balcony and rear loft dormer extension.

OBJECT This Arts and Crafts style house is one of three early twentieth century detached properties located on Sion Hill which make a positive contribution to the townscape of this part of the Bath Conservation Area. Because of the topography the building is highly prominent and visible in the local scene.

The proposed loft conversion, raised roof, steep pitch, raised ridge line, and huge velux window to the front elevation and three dormer windows to the rear elevation, are considered to be an overdevelopment of the site. The huge velux window would be unduly prominent.  Collectively the alterations would create an unbalanced appearance and have a detrimental visual impact on the house, its group value and the amenity value of the surrounding location.

In the Trust’s view the proposed development, by reason of the additional height, bulk and massing, would have a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the Conservation Area, the proposal is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 12 ‘Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and Local Plan Policies D2, D4, BH1 and BH6 and in its current form should be refused.

13/00421/FUL – Assembly Rooms, Bennett Street, City Centre

Erection of memorial to Admiral Arthur Phillip on land adjacent to The Assembly Rooms

SUPPORT Bath Preservation Trust is grateful for the opportunity to have some early engagement in the discussions concerning the installation of a sculpture to commemorate Admiral Arthur Phillip.

The detailed designs for a bronze armillary sphere on a stone plinth are delightful and fitting, and we would therefore like to express our strong support for this application.

We consider that the proposed location, within the curtilage of the Assembly Rooms, is entirely appropriate given the close proximity to the residence of Admiral Phillip. The siting of a permanent memorial here would strengthen the sense of place and enliven the garden, which is otherwise empty, and would be of benefit to the visual amenity value, local and historic interest of this part of the City.  The proposed memorial by virtue of the high quality design and materials would enhance the setting of the adjacent listed buildings and strengthen the character and local distinctiveness of this part of the conservation area.

We warmly welcome the project and the way that it has engaged with the local community and we hope that interpretation about Admiral Phillip has potential to support and complement the Trust’s educational activities and exhibitions at No.1 Royal Crescent.

13/00558/LBA – Street Record, New King Street, Kingsmead, Bath

Attachments of street lights and associated wiring to facades of 20, 32, 40, and 51 New King Street and 17 and 26 Great Stanhope Street

OBJECT Whilst we acknowledge that there is a tradition for wall mounted lighting in Bath, the Trust does not consider that this application should be approved in advance of an appropriate adopted street lighting strategy for the whole of the World Heritage Site.

Such a strategy ought to identify an agreed range of lighting which has been consulted upon and identifies a hierarchy of styles and locations based on the architectural and historic significance of the street or setting.

We have specific concerns about the design and appearance light fittings proposed here and in any approach to the lighting in close proximity to listed buildings we would promote a bespoke design based on the historic ‘Bath lamp’.

Regrettably we are unable to support this application which would fail to enhance significance of the listed buildings nor preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of conservation area, and is therefore  contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 12 ‘Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and Local Plan Policies BH2, BH6, BH17 and BH19.

13/00509/AR – Lloyds Bank Plc, 23 Moorland Road, Oldfield Park, Bath

Display of 3no internally-illuminated fascia signs, 2no internally-illuminated projecting signs and 1no internally-illuminated ATM surround

OBJECTThe 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, colour, illumination, amount and position would cause harm to the visual amenity value of the area, would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation area. The application therefore fails to comply with Local Plan Policies BH2, BH4, BH6 and BH17, the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and Section 12 ‘Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment of the NPPF and should be refused.

 13/00487/LBA& 13/00486/AR Lloyds Tsb Bank Plc, 16 Lower Borough Walls, City Centre

Display of 2no internally illuminated fascia signs, 3no internally illuminated projecting signs, 1no internally illuminated ATM Surround, 3no internally illuminated Heritage Window Light strip, 1no non-illuminated Name Plate, Reverse-Applied Vinyls, 2no non-illuminated Letter Box signage.

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 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. Steel and applied vinyl materials are not sensitive or appropriate upon a listed building and they oppose the traditional palette of Bath. The excessive number of additions to the shop frontage will not only add to the visual clutter of the street scene, but it is also expected that the method of fixing would cause wholly unnecessary damage to the fabric of the building. The application therefore fails to comply with Local Plan Policies BH2, BH6, BH17 and BH19, the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and Section 12 Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment of the NPPF and should be refused.

13/00240/FUL Powswood, Chaucer Road, Bear Flat, Bath BA2 4QY

Erection of a two storey semi-detached residential building creating 2no.residential units following demolition of existing residential unit.

OBJECT The Trust does not object to the principle of development on this site, or the demolition of the existing residential unit, which is not historically significant and is only of neutral aesthetic value to the area. However, the amount of development on this site, as proposed, constitutes an overdevelopment of the site which would be uncharacteristic and visually detrimental. The Trust has previously commented or objected to applications for similar reasons, where an existing dwelling is demolished to make way for multiple dwellings.

The Trust is not convinced that the site is big enough for two dwellings of four bedrooms each on what is a plot size and location more suited to the development of one dwelling, which could make use of the remaining landscape for a proportionate garden. This would better reflect the character and pattern of the townscape. . Linked to this, the area for car parking and turning is cramped and as the majority of the outdoor space available is to the front of the development the Trust questions whether these dwellings would be suitable for, or attractive as, a family home.

The Trust is concerned about the form, bulk, massing and appearance of the proposed dwellings, which does not appear to fit comfortably within the grain and character of the Poet’s Corner area of Bear Flat. By virtue of the design the Trust judges this development to be lacking in architectural detail and legibility within the context of its location; the bland elevations reflect a commercial approach which is unsympathetic to this domestic setting.   Whist  the Trust does not object in principle to a contemporary design which incorporates a flat roof, in this instance the strong horizontal emphasis of the roofline is deemed unsympathetic to the character of the area, fails to enhance local distinctiveness, and would neither  enhance nor preserve the Conservation Area or the World Heritage Site.

The Trust therefore objects to this proposal   which is contrary to policies D2, D4, BH1, BH6, BH7 & of the B&NES Local Plan and should be refused.

Designed by Ice House Design