16-17 Walcot Buildings, Walcot, Bath
The Trust has no concerns regarding the change of use element as we acknowledge that trading conditions on London Road are difficult. In addition the reinstatement of the largely original plan form of the ground floor of the single dwelling house and the associated conservation work to historic fabric is a benefit to the special interest of the listed building.
The reinstatement of the façade v’s retention of the shopfront/retail use is a difficult call to make. On the one hand there is an argument for the reinstatement of the original façade which will remove the slightly awkward shop front insertion and better reveal the pedimented doorway and the authentic elevation. On the other hand the removal of an historic shop frontage will remove a feature of historic interest to the building and impact on the wider historic retail streetscene. The character of this section of the road is of mixed retail and has been for many years. The removal of the shop front will create a break in the eclectic ensemble of shop fronts, and this will cause some harm to local character. Furthermore the loss of retail until will further erode the retail function of this local shopping centre. On balance we marginally prefer the retention of the shop front but would accept the case officer’s judgement on this following the weighing up judgement.