2 Bathwick Hill, Bathwick, Bath
2 Bathwick Hill, also known as Cumberland Villa, is a Grade II early 19th century villa situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of the setting of a high concentration of Grade II villas and terraces following Bathwick Hill south-east, and marks an area of 19th century suburban development designed to purposefully embody a semi-rural, looser form of development with significant views out to the south and west. 2 Bathwick Hill is a fine, balanced example of villa development in this area with a symmetrical three bay façade and recessed two storey flanking wings. Due to a generous gap between the dwelling and its Grade II* neighbour Bathwick Lodge, its side elevation is particularly visible in south-easterly public views from the road.
BPT previously expressed our concerns regarding the volume of CCTV proposed in refused application 20/00196/LBA (appeal decision pending). We additionally emphasised that we do not support retrospective works to a listed building without first obtaining listed building consent.
The current application is similar to revisions to previous application 20/00196/LBA in which cameras have been relocated to below the eaves on the front and rear elevations to mitigate visual impact, but differs in the location and number of cameras proposed to the side elevation. We therefore continue to emphasise our concern with the volume of proposed CCTV to the exterior of 2 Bathwick Hill, with an increase of six cameras to seven that have all been mounted to historic fabric. In particular, we feel that the addition of cameras to the front and side elevations is unsuitable due to the building’s high visibility from Bathwick Hill and fine road-facing façade. The addition of cameras to the front elevation will result in an increasingly cluttered and asymmetrical appearance contrary to the building’s intended design. Whilst the side elevation is less aesthetically prominent, the clustering of four cameras in positions highly visible from the road such as the stone parapet and jutting first floor window, renders them more visually prominent and intrusive.
We would therefore maintain that the front elevation, as the most significant elevation facing onto Bathwick Hill, should be kept clear of additional fixtures that will clutter the building’s existing appearance. We would also encourage that the cameras attached to the side elevation should either be reduced in number or restricted to the ground floor or around areas of existing rainwater goods to minimise their visual incongruity.
We remain concerned with the means of fixing the proposed cameras to the external walls of the building, on which no information has been provided. Should fixings require drilling into the historic masonry, this would constitute irreversible harm to historic fabric and we continue to strongly recommend that the proposed method of fixing is detailed and submitted before this application progresses further.
Application 20/00196/LBA was refused on grounds of the CCTV system being visually obtrusive, incongruous, and prominent, with resulting harm to the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building. Considering the similarities between this scheme and the previous refused application, we see no reason why this application should not also be refused.