14 Beaufort West, Lambridge, Bath
14 Beaufort West forms part of a Grade II late Georgian residential terrace 8-17 Beaufort West situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms the streetscape setting for, and is contemporary to, the other Grade II listed ‘half’ of the terrace 1-7 Beaufort West. The terrace is set back from the road with generous private front gardens bordering the roadside; due to the angle of the terrace, 8-17 Beaufort West are set back further from the roadside and have significantly decreased public visibility from London Road, although views across the terrace from the north are maintained along St Saviours Way.
BPT is not opposed to the reinstatement of traditional-style 6-over-6 sash windows at this dwelling, which would be in keeping with the wider fenestration pattern and appearance of the terrace. However, the proposed elevations describe the works as: “Adapt existing Victorian sashes to receive brushed beads and ‘scribed in’ Georgian configuration glazing bars to match existing mouldings”. Scribed-in glazing bars typically refers to applied glazing bars that are stuck onto existing glazing panes, a method which would not be appropriate in this context. We strongly recommend that detailed sections are provided to ensure that appropriately-profiled through glazing bars are utilised.
Where there are new/replacement sash windows proposed to the rear of the building, BPT highlights the opportunity to implement slimlite double glazing to ensure an improved thermal performance in light of the current Climate Emergency. The existing casement windows in the rear extension stack are largely concealed from public view and replacement in slimlite glazing would be of negligible visual impact.
With regard to the proposed widening of the front lightwell, BPT has responded to other similar applications in this area (see 19/05558/LBA & 20/04820/LBA). We therefore reiterate that we do not oppose the proposed external staircase to enable basement access via the existing entrance, although we maintain that it should be clarified as to whether there is a historical precedent to this type and scale of access at this property. Further details are required as to the proposed extent of harm to historic fabric to allow for a fully informed and balanced assessment to be made. From the photographs provided, it appears that further opening up may result in the increased loss of the front vaulted arch, although we trust this will be considered in further detail by the case officer.
A comprehensive methodology is recommended for the proposed reconstruction works to the collapsed front vault to ensure that works are coherent with the original structure of the vault as well as the wider character of the listed building.
We recommend that further close-up drawings of the proposed railings and external staircase are submitted to the LPA to minimise harm and ensure a high quality design and finish in keeping with the traditional appearance and character of a listed building.
BPT typically does not comment on internal alterations without the benefit of a site visit. However, we have some concerns regarding the proposed treatment of the rear vaults. There is a lack of clarity regarding the narrative of material alterations in this area; the Heritage Statement indicates the retention of what is likely to be a pair of barrel-shaped vaults to the rear (only Vault 2 is photographed) which connects directly with the two room depth lower ground floor plan of the main building. Vault 2 is shown to have undergone little alteration with the retention of exposed stonework and what appears to be a coal chute in the ceiling. Whilst little information is provided regarding Vault 1, the indication of a retained “dirt” floor on the existing lower ground floor plan suggests that this remains in a similar condition. The insertion of a large structural glass panel would therefore likely result in the loss of historic ceiling fabric from the vault space and associated harm to the significance of a set of vaults which are already in a deleterious condition. We strongly recommend that the scale of harm is adequately assessed against the historic value and existing condition of this area, as well as the proposed public benefit of proposals to adequately outweigh this harm.
We further note the proposed conversion of rear Vault 1 to a bathroom. BPT is typically resistant to the residential conversion of vaults due to the harmful impact on historic fabric and character, and the increased pressure this places on vaults to meet appropriate standards of light and ventilation, something that historic vaults are not designed to do and therefore requires more intrusive alterations. Conversion would require the fitting of a delta cavity membrane system in both Vaults 1 and 2 over the original stonework to mitigate the naturally frowsty and dank condition of these historic spaces with resulting harm to their surviving appearance and character. We continue to emphasise that historic vaults are ill-suited to modern standards of ventilation and air quality and use should remain strictly ancillary to the main dwelling. Whilst the use of Vault 2 as a utility area is not objectionable, we emphasise the need for a lighter touch of interventions in this space.
We note the addition of a separate bathroom and kitchenette at lower ground floor level, as well as the creation of a separate external access via the front lightwell. This may indicate plans for the use of the lower ground floor as an individual apartment with increasing pressure on this space to meet more immediate residential demand. At this stage, we have ongoing concerns with possible future pressure for the existing vaults to be converted to additional bedrooms or living spaces and emphasise that these spaces are not suitable for this type of conversion or habitation.