External alterations for the replacement of existing asbestos slate imitation tiles with new slate imitation tiles.
Our Response

17 Walcot Buildings forms part of a Grade II late 18th century section of terrace at 12-20 Walcot Buildings, with a mix of retail/former retail ground floors and residential upper floors, situated within the Bath City-Wide Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. It contributes to the varied streetscape of Walcot Buildings along London Road, and contributes to the group value of a high concentration of Grade II terraced buildings. The building has recently been granted listed building consent for the change of use of the lower ground floor, and the rear half of the ground floor, from commercial to retail use in conjunction with No. 16 (see application 21/03588/LBA). The established roofscape features a mix of clay pantiles and natural slate, although there are examples of later, inappropriate material finishes such as the use of cement which have already resulted in a degree of harm to the appearance and material integrity of a group of listed buildings.

We are generally supportive of proposals for the replacement of the existing asbestos imitation slate tiles, where these are a non-historic addition of detriment to a listed building and are indicated to be deteriorating. The upgrade of the existing roof surface offers an opportunity to reinstate a more traditional and sympathetic material finish that would enhance the character and appearance of a listed building, and its contribution to the character of the conservation area where it is situated along a prominent road into and out of the city centre.

Where BPT is generally resistant to the use of artificial slates, we do recognise that within this context a non-historic, artificial roof covering has already been installed, and as such has already resulted in less than substantial harm to heritage assets. The use of artificial slates, where these are proposed to be “imitation slate tiles” would therefore result in an approximately equivalent level of harm, though there would be an improvement regarding the condition of the roof associated with the proposed refurbishments, as well as endeavouring to mimic the appearance of natural slate.

Where the proposed works would therefore result in a lessening degree of overall existing harm, we continue to express concerns with the use of an artificial material that remains visually different to natural slate in its thickness, finish, and how it weathers, and as such would continue to be at odds with the material palette and appearance of the area, and results in ongoing discord with the character and appearance of the conservation area, and its traditional palette of materials. We encourage consideration of the use of natural slate where this would be more compatible with, and authentic to, the special interest of the building and heritage townscape. Natural slate has the added benefit of being a higher performance alternative to artificial slates, where these can be made of materials such as concrete or plastic, as well as being easier to dispose of at the end of its life cycle.

Application Number: 23/00992/LBA
Application Date: 13/03/2023
Closing Date: 26/05/2023
Address: 17 Walcot Buildings, Walcot, Bath
Our Submission Status: Object