178 London Road West, Lower Swainswick, Bath
178 London Road West is an unlisted mid-20th century dwelling situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It occupies the site of an earlier, mid-19th century dwelling which was subject to heavy alteration, the historic remnants of which appear most clearly on the first floor. The detached dwelling forms part of an eclectic streetscape which appears to be largely mid- to late 19th century in architectural character, albeit with retained diversity of height, form, use of materials, and elevational treatment. Whilst there are examples of later development publicly visible to the west, a significant volume of newer-build dwellings are set below the road on the steep north-west – south-east slope looking across the River Avon and Bathampton Meadows towards Bathampton. 178 London Road West retains an elevated, and therefore visually prominent, position at the top of this slope and as such retains clear views across the valley.
BPT is generally resistant to the use of render on principal and high-visibility elevations, where this typically results in an unwelcome contrast with the visually-softer Bath stone ‘vernacular’ of the area. However, we note that the dwelling’s reconstituted Bath stone frontage is already out of keeping with its material context and therefore this could be an opportunity to better integrate it with its setting without necessarily trying to replicate a Bath stone-esque finish. We strongly recommend that further details regarding the proposed render, colour, and finish are provided as part of the overall scheme to better assess its suitability within this streetscape context.
Considering the fringe setting and elevated position of the dwelling with extensive views out to the south/south-west, we have some concerns regarding the proposed, extensive volume of glazing across the rear elevation and the cumulative impact this may have on wider landscape views into and across the World Heritage Site, and a recognised green corridor which acts as a buffer between Bath and its surrounding villages. We note concerns of increased reflectivity/sun glare and light spill, and suggest that a proportionate landscape assessment/LVIA may be necessary.