16 Prior Park Buildings, Widcombe, Bath
16 Prior Park Buildings forms part of a Grade II early 19th century terrace attributed to John Pinch, situated within the Bath City-Wide Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. The terrace is predominantly 3 ½ storeys tall in Bath stone ashlar with a rusticated ground floor, set symmetrically around a central tympanum. However, it is well set back from the roadside and largely concealed from view from Prior Park Road by an elevated band of mature trees and is accessed via two side lanes at Forefield Rise and Prior Park Cottages.
BPT is supportive of the scheme where refurbishment works are proposed to address the deteriorating condition of the building and bring it back into a sustainable, long-term use.
We note that the Design & Access Statement makes reference to the use of a “clear sealer” on the stonework associated with the internal staircase, which generally is not recommended. Sealants are typically designed to restrict moisture penetration, and can therefore be detrimental to the material qualities of Bath stone with unforeseen consequences.
Further works to the rear stack extension, which was in situ by the 1880s at the latest, propose to "line the existing walls to provide a waterproof membrane incorporating some thermal insulation.” The use of a waterproof membrane in this residential context is generally acceptable where it has been suitable considered as to how the membrane would function in harmony with the natural behaviours of porous Bath stone. We further encourage clarification of further details relating to the proposed type of internal insulation to be used. Where the proposed type and thickness of the proposed insulation system is demonstrated to be sympathetic to the particular material qualities and special interest of the listed building, BPT would be interested in working with the applicant to create a case study that could inform other, similar works elsewhere in Bath.
Where it is proposed to erect scaffolding, we emphasise that that where possible scaffolding should be freestanding to minimise the need to drill into the stonework of a primary elevation of a listed building. Should fixings be unavoidable, these should be limited to the mortar joints to minimise irreversible damage. We would therefore recommend further details regarding the schedule of scaffolding be supplied to the LPA, and emphasise the need for a minimally invasive approach.