17 Lansdown Crescent, Lansdown, Bath
17 Lansdown Crescent forms part of a Grade I late 18th century crescent terrace of townhouses by John Palmer, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. Lansdown Crescent is one of Bath’s formative examples of monumental Georgian design and town planning in its scale, implementation of Palladian architectural principles, coherent use of material vernacular, and picturesque setting. Consequently, it strongly contributes towards the Georgian town planning and architectural OUV of the World Heritage Site, and forms an important aspect of a highly significant ensemble of formal Georgian townhouses to the north of the city centre.
The application also encompasses 17 Upper Lansdown Mews, an ancillary coach house situated at the southern boundary of the garden plot. A coach house was originally on the site from the early 19th century, and a coach house of an approximately similar footprint is present from the 1840s onwards. The existing section of boundary wall adjoining 16 Upper Lansdown Mews is likely a surviving remnant of the historic façade and the eastern ‘wing’ of the coach house has since been removed to allow for the extension of the historic yard used for parking and single storey store. A protruding bay on the southern elevation facing towards the main house appears from the late 19th century but this has also been removed as part of later alterations. Despite these later alterations, the coach house retains evidential and historic significance due to its retained interconnected spatial and functional relationship with the main dwelling and is therefore encompassed within the Grade I curtilage of 17 Lansdown Crescent.
There is insufficient information provided to assess the impact of the proposed orangery, and the existing elevations of the coach house appear to be missing from the planning portal. Furthermore, there is some uncertainty regarding the existing appearance and condition of the southern elevation, which is attributed specific significance connected to its visual relationship with the rear of Lansdown Crescent. There are some concerns that the addition of a significant extension that runs the full length of the mews building may unbalance the current, recessive appearance of the coach house befitting its historic function and appear as an overtly domestic feature. Further details and photographic evidence are strongly encouraged to more adequately assess the building and its wider Grade I context.
We note that there is an existing precedent for the residential conversion of utilitarian buildings along Upper Lansdown Mews, but we also highlight the retained subservient relationship between 17 Lansdown Crescent and the coach house as an ancillary, utilitarian space that still serves the main building. As such, we strongly encourage that this connection is retained with benefit to the setting and significance of a listed building. We have some concerns regarding the proposed use of the coach house as a "self contained unit ancillary to the host property" (D&A Statement), and are resistant to the coach house functioning as a separate dwelling. Should the principle of residential conversion be considered appropriate, we maintain that use should be secured via condition to remain ancillary to the main building and mitigate the potential subdivision or fracturing of the garden setting of a listed building, and sustain the wider group value of the terrace and the character of the conservation area.