1 Canal Cottages, Beckford Road, Bathwick, Bath
1 Canal Cottages is a single storey mid- to late 19th century structure, since converted into a residential dwelling, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of the Grade II curtilage of the attached 2 Canal Cottages, an early 19th century two storey cottage finished in Bath stone ashlar. 1 Canal Cottages is located along the towpath of the Kennet & Avon Canal and is indicated to have been formerly used as a stable and ticket office. The building has since been converted to residential use and underwent recent refurbishment works, including the over-cladding of the exterior in timber, as permitted in 2014 (see 14/02369/FUL & 14/02370/LBA).
The side extension as proposed is considered to be suitably recessive in its height, scale, and massing. It would sit below the existing pitched roof eaves of the main body of the building, and be set back from the principal, canal-facing façade. The proposed material treatment of the extension in timber cladding and slate roof tiles is considered to be acceptable, pending appropriate samples to ensure a close visual match in colour and finish.
In response to the Climate Emergency, BPT is supportive of the principle of PV panel installation on listed building where this can be appropriately sited to sustain the special historic and architectural interest of a listed building and the wider, established character and appearance of the historic environment, whilst contributing towards B&NES Council’s objectives to reach Net Zero by 2030.
We note that the applicant has indicated that the rear, west-facing roof slope is currently of elevated visibility from Beckford Gardens (see image dated December 2022 in the D&A/Heritage Statement), although it should be emphasised that the image indicates visibility during the winter season when screening foliage is at its thinnest. From this public perspective, the addition of PV panels would therefore result in some visual change as to how this roof slope is perceived in close-range, external views of the listed building and its canal setting.
It is proposed to use frameless, monochrome panels in accordance with local policy SCR2, which would also sit well as a recessive and subdued addition against the natural roof slates. As this detail hasn’t been clarified as part of the application, we recommend that the panels proposed are of a matte finish to minimise potential reflectivity or sun-glare in westerly views. The panels would occupy a symmetrical and rhythmic position across the roof slope, positioned low enough to avoid intersecting with the chimneys, and as such we consider that the proposed installation has been suitably considered in relation to sustaining the special interest and appearance of a listed building.
We therefore conclude that the less than substantial harm to the building (arising by the visual impact of modern materials over a visible traditional roof covering), as experienced from limited, westerly views from Beckford Gardens, would be outweighed by the public benefits of ‘green’ energy generation and associated reduction in carbon emissions, which if implemented alongside whole home energy efficiency and behaviour change to improve heat loss and energy waste, would contribute towards B&NES Council’s objectives to reach Net Zero by 2030.