External alterations to steps and landscaping to front gardens (Retrospective).
10-14 Hampton Row is a group of Grade II early 19th century terraced houses situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The terrace forms part of the wider Grade II terrace along Hampton Row, and the indicative townscape context of the Grade II* Cleveland Pools. The terrace is regular in scale and form, typically of two storeys with a two/three bay façade in Bath stone ashlar – a number of these adjoining properties are framed with a shared bay of blind windows which align with the chimney breast. As a whole, the terrace is set back from the roadside with a defined front garden (typically hard landscaped in this area), set within a boundary treatment of black wrought/cast iron railings set into a Bath stone coping. The gate is set within a pair of stone piers, although the design of the piers has gradually become more varied along the terrace due to later alteration. The group value and street scene character, alongside the cohesive use of a traditional palette of natural materials, contribute to the special interest and significance of these listed buildings.
10-14 Hampton Row have been derelict for a number of years; a series of planning permissions in 2014 and 2016 were granted for the proposed refurbishment and reuse of this section of the terrace to create a mix of residential houses and flats; it is indicated that these works are largely completed, with a number of the properties already up for let.
We note that application 18/05646/COND previously proposed hard landscaping material details as part of the wider scheme at 11-14 Hampton Row, and was permitted. This application proposed the use of gravel and pennant paving as the predominant hard surfacing materials, with wrought iron railings set into the top of a rubble stone wall. The proposed boundary line of development would follow the historic boundary line of the terrace (see 1844-1888 OS).
The deviation in materials from pennant paving and gravel to the use of tarmac is wholly inappropriate in this location and we do not consider that the use of a road surface treatment is materially or visually coherent with the front garden setting of the listed buildings, their group value, and unifying features of special interest and significance. As part of the application, no justification has been provided for the proposed use of tarmac. The extant permission for the use of more traditional materials in keeping with the natural stone palette of the terrace is preferable to sustain the architectural and aesthetic interest/significance of the listed building and its setting.
The proposed (retrospective) hard landscaping scheme would be entirely out of keeping with the special interest of a group of listed buildings, and the homogenous character and appearance and resulting group value of the wider Grade II terrace.
It is possible that the tarmac surfacing is intended to provide a number of off-street parking spaces associated with these properties. However, given the sustainable location of the terrace, the very limited benefits of providing parking would continue to be outweighed by the total harm to a group of heritage assets.
We highlight further concerns with the erosion of the historic boundary line and associated treatment. Historically, the boundary line followed on from the established coping line at No. 9, which would have been beneficially restored under application 18/05646/COND. The shared extent of tarmacked surfacing and the restricted areas of defensible space immediately outside of the front door and ground floor window bears no resemblance to the historic plan form or homogenous boundary treatment along the terrace, and would have an adverse impact on its group value and interest.
The installation of what appear to be unfinished (silver in colour) metal railings is inappropriate; these should be appropriately finished in a black gloss paint. Whilst we acknowledge that the proposed style of railings appears to have been secured as part of application 18/04212/COND, we maintain a preference for cast iron railings that are secured directly into the stone coping with lead caulk. This bespoke approach would be more coherent with, and sympathetic to, the traditional characteristics of the streetscape than an ‘off the rack’ railing type.
In light of the Climate Emergency, we further highlight the need to consider more permeable forms of hard landscaping to increase water attenuation and mitigate against excessive water run-off and flooding in response to more extreme weather events. Previously proposed materials such as gravel and pennant stone are naturally more permeable/porous and as such would remain a materially preferable option for landscaping in this area. We are disappointed that the use of raised planters and associated planting appears to have been omitted from the most recent landscaping proposals.
Proposals would therefore result in harm to the significance of a group of listed buildings and would fail to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area, contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D3, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be refused or withdrawn. While we recognise the heritage public benefits of bringing the buildings back into use, these have already been secured through previous consents and this further proposal cannot have the same benefits attributed given the principle of development has been granted. The deviation in materials has no demonstrable public benefit to outweigh the harm.