Jan – Feb 2013

15 January – 12 February 2013

Weeks 3-6 (2013)

12/05420/AR – 4 George Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 2EH

Display of 1no non-illuminated external shopfront fascia and 1no non-illuminated hanging sign.

OBJECT While the Trust welcomes non-illumination, we do not consider that steel and applied vinyl are sensitive or appropriate qualities of materials to use upon this shop frontage. This building is listed and is in a prominent city-centre location at the heart of the Conservation Area. Signage should therefore respect the architectural qualities and character of Bath, and be painted or gilded to be more sympathetic to this modest historic building. 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 BH2, BH6, BH17 and BH19 and should therefore be refused.

12/05520/LBA – A Plan Insurance, 7 George Street, City Centre, BA1 2EH

External alterations for the display of a fascia sign.

SUPPORT The Trust supports this application to replace the existing signage with traditionally painted signs. We consider the signage appropriate in their position, size, materials and colour and the approach is sensitive to the architectural and historic interest of the listed building, the character and appearance of the conservation area and special qualities of the World Heritage Site.

12/05587/AR – 14 Old Bond Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 1BP

Display of 1no. non-illuminated fascia sign with aged gold fibreglass letters pinned to existing fascia panel, 1no. flagpole and 1no. black timber projecting signage panel with gold leaf lettering applied.

OBJECT While the Trust welcomes non-illumination, the flagpole and hanging sign are totally unacceptable. The hanging sign is considered appropriate in colour and it is good that the appearance of the shopfront would be generally unaltered by these proposals. However, the method of fixing would cause wholly unnecessary damage to the fabric, the proposed flagpole serves only to contribute to visual clutter, and the signage should be of a traditional construction and appearance. The hanging sign and flagpole, by virtue of their design, materials, position and method of fixing would be harmful to the special architectural and historic interest, and fabric, of the listed building. 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 BH2, BH6, BH17 and BH19 and should therefore be refused.

12/05631/FUL – New Leaf Farm, Mill Lane, Bathampton, Bath, BA2 6TS

Erection of a permanent agricultural workers dwelling (Resubmission).

COMMENT As the application is now supported by a full professional Agricultural Appraisal, the case for the resident worker is now clear but the reason for not using one of the holiday lets is remains unclear. The Trust would recommend that the applicant highlight a detailed justification for not using the holiday lets.

13/00101/TEL – Street Record, North Road, Combe Down, Bath

Installation of 1no. openreach broadband cabinet s/o Top Lodge, Ralph Allen Drive, Lyncombe, Bath, BA2 5AG.

COMMENT The Bath Preservation Trust accepts that electronic and telephonic communication are essential to modern life and that above ground installations, such as this broadband cabinet, are required to support them. However, we are concerned that there is a general lack of consideration for the setting of this cabinet. As this cabinet is within the World Heritage Site and Conservation Area, care is needed in its siting, in order to preserve and enhance both designations. In this case, it is unclear from the diagrams where exactly this cabinet will be – exact position is important because of the change in levels of the listed wall and old horse trough. We query whether a new broadband cabinet, if necessary, could be situated where an existing cabinet is (across the road and adjacent to ‘The Avenue’ sign) since this will minimise any detrimental impact to the setting of the listed wall and horse trough.

12/05569/FUL – A C King, 38 Belvedere, Lansdown, Bath BA1 5HR

Change of use from shop (A1) to dwelling (C3).

COMMENT Whilst there is some regret that this building cannot continue as a shop, the Trust does not object to the proposed change of use of this building for a dwelling. However, we would like to see the shopfront to remain as existing with perhaps some sort of permanent ‘display’ or American blinds to ensure that the proposed development does not compromise the historic and aesthetic character of this grade II listed building, and that any damage or loss of historic fabric of significance is mitigated.

13/00104/TEL – Street Record, Entry Hill, Combe Down, Bath

Installation of 1no. openreach broadband cabinet on junction of Entry Hill and Bradford Road adjacent to playing field.

COMMENT The Bath Preservation Trust accepts that electronic and telephonic communication are necessary for modern life and that above ground installations, such as this broadband cabinet, are required to support them. However, we are concerned that there is a general lack of consideration for the setting of this cabinet. As this cabinet is within the World Heritage Site and Conservation Area, care is needed in its siting, in order to preserve and enhance both designations. In this case, it is impossible to tell from the drawings exactly where it will be sited, as the site/block plans are inaccurate/inadequate. We feel that this new broadband cabinet, if necessary, would be better situated adjacent to an existing cabinet on Bradford Road since this will be less intrusive.

12/03866/LBA – 10 Hampton Row, Bathwick, Bath BA2 6QS

Internal and external alterations to renovate the property back to two residential properties, a one bedroom basement flat with a 3 bedroom house above.

OBJECT Whilst we would support in principle the applicant’s desire to renovate this property, we feel that because of Hampton Row’s near derelict state, professional input and an overall scheme should precede any decision on this application.

The Trust reviewed the previous applications submitted and we recognise the amendments and alterations which have been made to the overall design scheme constitute a marked improvement. The room and staircase proportions in the plan appear appropriate, the site is not to be over-developed or extended, and the openings in the external envelope are to be retained as existing. We do however feel that the internal layout could be better justified is the plan of other houses in Hampton Row. The division into a basement flat and three bedroom houses is historically more authentic than two maisonettes, or three/four tiny flats. Thermally efficient timber sash windows, cast-iron rainwater goods doors and re-instated fireplaces and panelled doors “to match the era of build” also acknowledge the history of the building, and show an encouraging sensitivity by the applicant.

However, 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 II building. For example, there is no heritage statement or impact assessment. Whilst applicant has made an attempt to consider the context, the application needs to be supported by justification for the proposed arrangement with an assessment of the impact. In addition the application would benefit from the support of a full recent photographic survey, important details of what is to be retained, repaired, replaced, relocated, or replicated.

The proposed sash windows are entirely inappropriate. Glazing bars must be integral to the design of the new windows. We would support the use of slim profile timber double glazed windows, provided the design and glazing bar profile is an accurate, and to match to the other historically accurate windows existing within Hampton Row.

We are prepared to withdraw our objection if the revisions and changes listed above are made however, in its current format the proposal, by virtue of insufficient information, is considered harmful to the significance of the listed building and contrary to Local Plan Policies BH2 and BH6, the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 12 ‘Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and should therefore be refused.

12/05488/AR – Richer Sounds, York Place, 4A London Road, Walcot, BA1 6AE

Display of a wall mounted sign on east elevation.

OBJECT The Trust is pleased to see a traditional painted sign written on timber, however we consider the proposed sign unnecessary because there is already a hanging sign permitted/in place on the front elevation. Although in the same position of an earlier ‘Porter Butt’ sign, the proposed would add to visual street clutter and cause further damage to the stonework in attachment. The proposed sign would detract from the setting of the listed building and appearance of the street scene, and would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area. The proposal 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 and BH17 and should be refused.

12/05592/FUL – 8 Rockliffe Road, Bathwick, Bath BA2 6QN

Provision of loft conversion with rear dormer.

OBJECT The Bath Preservation Trust considers that overly large flat roof dormer windows are not in the interest of good design and fail to reinforce the local distinctiveness of the Bath World Heritage Site. The strong horizontal emphasis the box form presents is a visually intrusive feature in the Bath townscape. The proposal is contrary to Local Plan Policies BH1, D2 and D4, the Planning (Listed Building & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and Section 7 ‘Requiring good design’ and Section 12 ‘Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and should be refused.

12/05238/FUL – St Matthew’s Church, Widcombe Hill, Widcombe, Bath BA2 6AA

Provision of vehicular access for off road parking and delivery vehicles.

OBJECT The application seeks consent to extend the use of an existing pedestrian entrance to a 4 metre wide vehicular access. Whilst we appreciate the Church’s desire to provide private off street parking, this proposal would have a significant impact on the sense of enclosure the wall provides and the setting of the Church.. The Trust considers that the removal of the front boundary wall and pedestrian entrance would result in a loss of significant historic fabric which along with the creation of vehicular access, and the parking of cars, would detract from the setting of the Church and the character and appearance of the Conservation Area. It is for this reason that we consider that the integrity and significance of the Church, Conservation area and world heritage site would be substantially harmed.

The proposals cannot be judged to make a positive contribution to the significance, character, setting, or local distinctiveness of the Conservation Area, or the Outstanding Universal value of the World Heritage Site of Bath. Nor is the justification or public benefit sufficient to justify such harm.

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

 12/05463/FUL – Closed Public Toilets, Claverton Street, Widcombe, Bath BA2 4LE

Erection of a two storey business starter unit following demolition of the former public convenience.

OBJECT Since the Trust owns the wall of the burial ground to the rear of this site, we would have expected to have been consulted and on the proposals for the site and notified about this planning application.

The Trust recognises that the existing building has little architectural merit and we do not oppose demolition provided that there is an acceptable proposal in place for a suitable replacement building. The public toilets are in a prominent site within the World Heritage Site and the Conservation Area, therefore a replacement building must preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area and setting of the adjacent listed wall, protect the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site and make a positive contribution to the local distinctiveness of Bath.

Whilst the Trust does not object in principle to the redevelopment of the site, the proposed building by virtue of its proportions, height, fenestration, and monopitch roof do not sit comfortably in this context. The height ought to be reduced to be subservient to the listed wall, and we query the necessity for an oversail roof.  We particularly object to the height which is visually intrusive to the appearance of the wall, and its architectural and historic interest specifically the ramped detail. Furthermore the ground floor is heavy in appearance with the glazing which does not align with the random fenestrations above.

Clarification of the method of construction is vital. We are pleased that the use of real Bath stone is proposed but have serious concerns about how the building will be constructed and maintained to the rear against the listed wall. Important details, such as method of construction, which will impact on the buildings appearance should form part of the planning application and should not be dealt with by Conditions.

Whilst some elements of the design are commercially attractive and stylish, we question the appropriateness of this approach, in this somewhat isolated and exposed location against the backdrop of historic listed buildings and structures. This incongruous design and height would have a detrimental impact on the character, appearance and setting of the Conservation Area and adjacent listed wall, and would compromise the authenticity and integrity and Outstanding Universal Values of the World Heritage Site.

The proposal cannot therefore be judged to make a positive contribution to the significance, character, or local distinctiveness of the Conservation Area and the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site, and would detract from the setting and significance of surrounding listed buildings. In our view the proposal fails to comply with the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 7 ‘Requiring good design’ and Section 12 ‘Conserving & Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and Local Plan Policies D2, D4, BH1, BH2 and BH6.

12/05078/FUL – Superdrug Stores Plc, 42 Southgate Street, Bath BA1 1TG

Redecorate existing shopfront.

OBJECT The design of the proposed shop front is inappropriate in the context of the Conservation Area. The black powder coated aluminium cladding across the fascia and down the sides is incongruous and an inferior quality material, which is not in the character of Bath.  The proposed colours of black and dark grey will have a harmful impact on the composition of the façade and adjacent unit. New shop fronts, even if contemporary or modernist in design, should respect the general principles of traditional modelling. The approach to this building should make better use of traditional materials, proportions, stallrisers, pilasters and details.

The existing internally illuminated aluminium fascia sign is inappropriate by virtue of its materials, siting and illumination. The metal material and light source is incongruous, a traditionally painted timber fascia sign would be much more sympathetic and harmonious with the traditional palette of Bath.

The proposed shopfront would be harmful to the visual amenity value of this part of the Conservation Area, fails to enhance local distinctiveness and would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area. This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Building & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 7 ‘Requiring good design’ and Section 12 ‘Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment’ of the NPPF and Local Plan Policies D2, D4, BH1, BH6 and BH17 and should be refused.

13/00051/LBA – 9 Edgar Buildings, City Centre, BA1 2EE

External alterations to existing shopfront.

SUPPORT The Trust supports this application, which is felt to be sympathetic and appropriately considered. The proposed traditional painted signs are appropriate in their position, size and colour and the approach is sensitive to the architectural and historic interest of the listed building, the character and appearance of the conservation area and special qualities of the World Heritage Site.

13/00059/AR – Lloyds Tsb Bank Plc , 47 Milsom Street, City Centre, Bath BA1 1DX

Display of 2no internally-illuminated projecting signs, 1no internally-illuminated round brand logo, 1no internally applied vinyl 1no non-illuminated aluminium name plate and 1no internally-illuminated acrylic atm collar.

OBJECT The Trust will continue to object to illuminated signs on listed buildings and 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, and would have a harmful effect on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site and the setting of listed buildings. 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.

13/00078/FUL – Apsley House Hotel, 141 Newbridge Hill, Newbridge, Bath BA1 3PT

Replacement of flat roof with pitched roof on eastern tower.

SUPPORT The Bath Preservation Trust supports this application for reinstatement of a former pitched roof. The proposal will enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area.

12/05657/AR – Midland Bridge House, Midland Bridge Road, Kingsmead, Bath, BA2 3FN

Display of 3no. non-illuminated fascia signs.

COMMENT Whilst the Trust welcomes non-illumination and stainless steel is an appropriate material within this context, we are not convinced by the position of signs A and C and query whether 3 signs are necessary.

12/04816/AR & 12/05668/LBA – La Tasca, Grand Parade, City Centre BA2 4DF

Display of 1no externally-illuminated fascia sign, signage on wall mounted lantern, 1no non-illuminated window displayed hanging sign, signage in the windows, windbreaks and an A-board (Regularisation).

OBJECT The Trust will continue to object to illuminated signs in the Conservation area and the World Heritage Site. The signs, by virtue of the materials, illumination and method of fixing would cause harm to the listed building, detract from visual amenity value of the area, and would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation area, and would have a harmful effect on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site. The application therefore fails to comply with Local Plan Policies BH2, 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.

13/00071/AR – 21 Barton Street, City Centre, BA1 1HG

Display of 1no. internally illuminated fascia sign and 1no. internally illuminated hanging sign.

OBJECT The Trust will continue to object to illuminated signs in the Conservation area and the World Heritage Site. The signs, by virtue of the materials, illumination, colour 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, and would have a harmful effect on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site. The application therefore fails to comply with Local Plan Policies BH2, 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.

13/00100/AR – Mcdonalds Weston Lock Retail, Lower Bristol Road, Westmoreland, Bath BA2 1EP

Display of 3no internally-illuminated yellow acrylic “Golden Arch” fascia signs (retrospective).

OBJECT This flagrant breach of planning control is regrettable. A company such as McDonalds should have the resources to properly manage its buildings. It is particularly concerning when such development threatens the historic environment. Such unsolicited development undermines local efforts to protect our built heritage.  The approach to this building, has in the past been sensitive and bespoke – incorporating design and materials that reflect the special character of Bath.  We would encourage this approach to be maintained.

We will continue to object to illuminated signs within the Conservation area and in the World Heritage Site. The proposed signage, by virtue of the inappropriate materials, illumination, garish colour 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, and would have a harmful effect on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site.  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.

12/05560/FUL – Parcel  2866 and 0005 Woolley Lane Charlcombe

ALTERATIONS AND EXTENSION TO EXISTING AGRICULTURAL BUILDING; ALTERATIONS TO ACCESS; FORMATION OF HARDSTANDNG AND FARM TRACK; CONSTRUCTION OF STOCK POND; SITING OF 2 FEED HOPPERS; SITING OF A TEMPORARY TIMBER CABIN FOR AN AGRICULTURAL WORKER

OBJECT 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.

We had understood that there was to be one overarching application for all the activities which have taken place to date without planning permission, and are disappointed to see that in fact we are presented again with piecemeal applications.

We are very surprised that the case officer has recommended that an EIA is no necessary. Our understanding is that good practice requires that EIA assessment should be independent of the planning officer and we are therefore surprised to see that the case officer determined whether or not an EIA was required.

The Trust has previously objected to the creation of a farm track, pond and mobile home/cabin, and will continue to object to these elements of the proposal since the applicant has failed to demonstrate that there has been any difference in the approach, or impact and the extent of harm therefore remains unchanged.

The proposed alterations and extensions to the existing agricultural building would be 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.

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.

The pond which currently exists is visible within the AONB and can be seen from an adjacent public foot path. This artificial pond is not a natural feature of the landscape. It’s appearance 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 feed hoppers have been installed without planning permission and are located close to Woolley Lane; at a height of 5.4 m their tops are significantly higher than the important hedge bordering the lane. The location of these hoppers detracts from the visual amenity value of the open countryside and harms the AONB and the World Heritage Site setting. It would be possible to locate the feed hoppers in a less visible site.

Our previous objection to the proposed mobile home/cabin is maintained on the grounds that the proposal is not adequately justified, particularly since the location is in such close proximity to a residential neighbourhood. This proposal has been previously refused and the situation has not changed.  The justification stated in the application does not appear sufficient to allow this development in the Green Belt, and it has not been demonstrated that any very special circumstances exist.

In conclusion, the proposed 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.

12/05661/FUL – Parcel  2866 and 0005 Woolley Lane Charlcombe

ERECTION OF GENERAL PURPOSE AGRICULTURAL BUILDING

OBJECT We note that the proposal is for an agricultural building 12 m x 18 m x 5 m in size, which is reduced in size from the 2008 application. However the proposed building is significantly higher than existing stock barn/light industrial unit (3.5 m) and will be unduly prominent and highly visible in this location.  The individual and accumulative effect alongside existing development would be extremely harmful to the visual appearance of this very sensitive rural location. The development would detract from the openness of the Green Belt 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.

12/05662/FUL, 12/05663/FUL, 12/05664/FUL – Parcel  2866 and 0005 Woolley Lane Charlcombe

SITING OF MOBILE POULTRY UNITS (10)

OBJECT Collectively the ten mobile poultry units present the single most visually intrusive element of development on this site, and are completely inappropriate in this sensitive location. The ten sheds are highly visible from a number of vantage points in the valley and from the local lanes, especially Woolley Lane. They form a very prominent, highly visible and incongruous feature which has a detrimental visual impact on the open landscape. Individually and collectively the poultry unit(s), represent an inappropriate development in the Green Belt, the appearance of which detracts 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. This 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.

13/00154/REG03 – City Of Bath College, Avon Street, City Centre, 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, 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 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 and should 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.

Designed by Ice House Design