15 Kensington Place, Walcot, Bath
15 Kensington Place forms part of a Grade II section of late 18th century terraced townhouses at 11-21 Kensington Place, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The focus of this application is to the rear within the long garden strip running to the south towards Kensington Meadows. Historically, the terrace at Kensington Place featured generous linear garden plots, a large number of which remain as part of the original designed setting and layout of the terrace and contribute to the significant visual openness of the terrace rear. As such, the terrace as a whole contributes to the 18th century Town Planning OUV of the World Heritage Site due to its largely retained layout and setting. The principal elevation of the terrace is more formalised with a Bath stone ashlar treatment, whilst the rear elevation is more varied in a mix of ashlar and rubble stone; the gardens offer a continuation of this informal material palette with coursed rubble stone boundary walls, albeit with later unsympathetic additions such as the timber-clad garages along Meadows Lane. The upper halves of the gardens are typically used more in direct relation to the occupants of the building, whereas the lower halves have been adapted for use as off-street parking with access from the lower lane, and there are a number of examples of changing garden boundaries which have already disturbed the historic plot layout of the terrace’s garden setting.
BPT previously objected to permitted application 12/04992/FUL on grounds that the construction of a garage mid-way up the garden plot would disturb the historic garden setting of the listed terrace and the wider character and setting of Kensington Place. We did however emphasise that no objection was raised to the principle of “small garage developments of the bottom of these long garden plots”.
We therefore maintain that a garage at the end of the garden plot would be more appropriate to facilitate parking with reduced encroachment on the upper extent of the garden plot. This is an opportunity to tidy up the site and regularise the location of vehicle parking, as well as the removal of the unauthorised shipping container which appears to have been retained on the site contrary to the conditions of permitted application 12/04992/FUL.
Considering the historic sensitivity of its location and setting, we maintain that the proposed garage should be of a high quality design in keeping with its Grade II terrace, and conservation area setting. Considering the proposed use of Bath rubble stone for the external walls, the use of uPVC windows and doors would be an incongruous addition to the conservation area which is characterised by the use of timber windows and doors as part of its wider traditional material vernacular. We encourage consideration of more sympathetic timber or metal alternatives to ensure the garage would be a sustainable and sympathetic addition.
There are concerns regarding the extent of concrete hardstanding proposed as part of this scheme, and whether this would extend further into the garden space beyond the proposed garage footprint. We strongly recommend that this is clarified, and maintain that an excessive provision of hardstanding would have an adverse impact on the green garden setting of the listed terrace. We strongly recommend that further details are provided regarding how the on-site parking would be secured for use by the tenants of 15 Kensington Place, to ensure that the proposed public benefit of this scheme would be secured through to delivery.