2 Georges Place, Bathwick Hill, Bathwick
2 George’s Place forms part of a Grade II 1800s terrace situated within the Bathwick Hill region of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of the historic, contemporary setting of the Grade II 1820s terrace 1-4 Bathwick Terrace; together they form an L-shaped backland elevation overlooking Lime Grove Allotments. The terrace’s backland visibility is publicly accessible from the Tesco car park, and in longer-range views from across the allotments to the south. The two Grade II terraces are jointly unusual in the absence of apparent 20th century interventions across their rear elevations, with later development being limited to regular, three storey mid-19th century ‘service’ extensions to the rear of each terraced dwelling in Bath stone ashlar. Low boundary walls and undeveloped garden strips result in revealing views across the rear of the terrace in its entirety. Whilst not as formally designed as the principal street-facing elevations, the rear elevations of terrace possess significance through their visual demonstration of historic change and alteration, or in this instance the rare retention of the terrace’s original backland appearance.
The Trust is unable to support this application on grounds of the cumulative scale, layout, and position of the proposed extension resulting in overdevelopment of the site. We maintain that the existing garden space contributes to the positive, open setting of both 2 George’s Place as a Grade II listed building, and the wider terrace as a group in which the backland appearance of the terrace is positively framed in both short range and longer range public views. The application has not accounted for the contribution made to the appearance and special architectural and historic interest of a listed building by its existing garden setting, contrary to paragraph 189 of the NPPF. Therefore, we maintain that the development would result in a significant, detrimental loss of the dwelling’s accompanying garden space with resulting visual harm to the setting of a listed building.
We acknowledge the application’s provision of a historic ‘precedent’ for development of this scale in this location. However, the current condition of the site, as listed in 1972 following the demolition of the bakery roof, is of a distinctively open and exposed appearance. The development would consequently obscure part of 2 George’s Place rear elevation and restrict views across the entirety of the terrace and would consequently be of harm to the setting of a listed building and would neither conserve nor enhance the appearance or character of this region of the conservation area.
Whilst the principle of a single storey extension could be deemed acceptable, any addition must be proportionately subservient in scale, massing, and position to mitigate any resulting harm to the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building and its setting. The current proposal is oversized in its footprint, pushing up against all three boundary walls to the terrace rear, and in concurrence with the steepness and height of the proposed angular roof ridge, would visually dominate the rear of the terrace
We are concerned that the scale and visibility of the development would constitute an unwelcome precedent for the loss of garden spaces within Bath in favour of residential expansion.
The loss of the existing garden space would be of significant harm to the residential amenity of the lower ground floor flat for both existing and future occupiers, contrary to Policy D6 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan. The amenity value of private external spaces has been emphasised by the recent Covid-19 pandemic, and the proposed ‘courtyard’ spaces would be insufficient in scale to make up for the irreversible loss of garden space whilst also intensifying residential capacity from three to five beds.
This application would therefore be of harm to the setting of a Grade II listed building and the wider Grade II listed terrace with no outweighing public benefit, would neither conserve nor enhance the appearance or character of the conservation area, and would be of significant harm to the residential amenity of existing and proposed occupiers. This application is contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D3, D5, D6, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan and should be refused or withdrawn.