20 Henrietta Road, Bathwick, Bath
20 Henrietta Road forms part of a semi-detached pair of unlisted 1970s bungalows, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It is set back from the public streetscape to the rear of the Grade II early 19th century terrace of townhouses on Bathwick Street as well as a mix of later 20th and 21st century residential development along Bathwick Street and Henrietta Road. There is a marked difference in residential scales and heights; Bathwick Street is historically ‘high rise’ at 3 ½ - 4 storeys (from ground level), a pattern which has been continued by later additions such as the apartment block at Holburne Place which is intended to replicate a series of Georgian style townhouses. In contrast, development along Henrietta Road is of a reduced height and density; in particular at Henrietta Gardens, where development is predominantly 1-2 storeys with a focus on detached and semi-detached dwellings set within open garden surroundings. As such, this streetscape reads more clearly as backland in character, with increasingly loose spacing and private gardens contributing to the visual permeability of the area.
BPT previously objected to application 22/00973/FUL. This application is almost entirely the same with regard to the scale and design of development proposals, and it is indicated that a new application is required as it has been found that it is no longer viable to reuse the foundations of the existing bungalows.
It is further noted that amendments have been made to improve the energy and thermal efficiency of the proposed dwellings, including improved fabric performance and insulation, as well as the use of air source heat pumps and roof-mounted solar arrays to generate on-site low carbon energy. In light of our previous comments, we are therefore pleased to see that the importance of improving the sustainability of these new builds has been taken on board and integrated into these latest designs, with associated benefits for both the future occupiers as well as the council’s net zero objectives.
Where the proposed design of development has not been altered from previous application 22/00973/FUL, we maintain our previous comments as follows:
We are unable to support this proposal on grounds of the excessive scale, height, and massing of the development, which would be out of character with its low rise backland context. Whilst the development proposes an increase of a storey with rooms within the roof space, the scale and pitch of the roof coupled with the addition of dormers reads as a total increase of two storeys in height. The height of development would exceed that along Henrietta Gardens and would be out of character with the established building height of the area. This would challenge the relationship between the otherwise subservient scale and grain of the Henrietta Gardens area with the principal Grade II townhouse typology of Bathwick Street.
Comparison with 21 Henrietta Gardens is not appropriate; permitted application 20/01061/FUL proposes development that reads as 2 – 2 ½ storeys across the principal elevation with a shallow pitched roof profile. It would be marginally higher than its neighbour but would otherwise reinforce the existing height of development in this area.
Furthermore, we feel that the use of a pastiche Georgian townhouse design is not appropriate in this area and is an incongruous addition to this backland context. The townhouse typology is used to define principal streetscapes, frequently in long, unbroken terraces that emphasise their intentional rhythm and homogeneity. Therefore, the proposed pair of ‘townhouses’ appear disconnected, awkwardly set back from the road, and generally oversized within this context. Furthermore the ‘mock Georgian’ design as proposed fails to accurately replicate classical proportions, the fenestration is fundamentally wrong both in the size of the ground floor openings and the casement windows proposed.
We feel that should a historic reference be considered for the redevelopment of this site, a more subservient building scale and form should be considered such as examples of historic mews buildings (see Henrietta Mews). Alternatively, considering the set-back location of the site and the relatively low public visibility of the building (at its current height), this could be an opportunity to consider a more sustainable zero-carbon contemporary design.
This development as proposed would fail to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area and would be of detriment to the setting of multiple listed buildings, and is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D3, D5, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan and should be refused or withdrawn.