2 Bath Street, City Centre, Bath
2 Bath Street forms part of a Grade I 1791-4 terrace situated within the commercial core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It sits opposite 9-16 Bath Street, which is also Grade I. Together, both terraces form part of the Bath Improvement Scheme of 1789 by Thomas Baldwin, and create a visual avenue between the Grade I 1783-4 Cross Bath and the Grade I 1788-9 colonnaded entrance to the Queen’s Bath. It consequently forms part of the 18th Century Town Planning and 18th Century Architecture OUV of the World Heritage Site. The ground floors have since been converted to commercial use with a lightweight, contemporary treatment, either utilising single panes of glazing or replicating traditional sash forms of fenestration.
BPT previously objected to application 20/04337/LBA on grounds of unjustified harm to historic fabric and the special architectural and historic interest of the listed building.
BPT encourages the residential conversion of the upper floors to provide much-needed residential accommodation within the city centre, although we emphasise our preference for accommodation to be tailored to suit long term occupation by local residents rather than short term holiday lets or seasonal student usage.
We note that as part of this application, the proposed amendments to the north elevation would be located below the frieze, and therefore the frieze would not be affected by the proposals. However, we maintain heritage concerns as follows with regard to the proposed ‘service’ treatment of a principal elevation:
The proposed insertion of ventilation louvres and obscured glazing would constitute a ‘service’ treatment of a significant street elevation. This design is more in keeping with Bath’s backland character and could be deemed appropriate on a concealed rear elevation. However, Bath Street remains a fundamental example of monumental Georgian design and town improvement at the heart of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. Within this context, the ‘utilitarian’ character of the proposed service door and ventilation grille on a the principal façade of a Grade I building would be highly inappropriate and would visually ‘deaden’ what is now a popular commercial street through the use of obscured glazing, and would neither preserve nor enhance the appearance of character of the conservation area.
We ask that the existing refuse collection and storage areas for use by the offices are highlighted as part of the plans, and ask why these could not be appropriately reused for residential refuse.
The proposed frontage treatment, by virtue of its incongruous character, would constitute harm to the significance of a Grade I listed building, which is not outweighed by any substantial public benefit, would neither preserve nor enhance the appearance and character of the conservation area, and would harm the special interest and erode the 18th Century architecture value of the World Heritage Site. This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, B4, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan and should be refused or withdrawn.