19 Westgate Street, City Centre, Bath
19 Westgate Street is an unlisted terraced building, currently with a commercial shop unit at ground floor with B1 office use across the upper floors, situated within the urban core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The building can likely be attributed to the mid- to late 19th century at the latest due to historic retention of plan form and street pattern, although this may be based around an earlier late 18th or early 19th century building. It forms part of an architectural group with the adjoining 17-18 Westgate Street due to the shared use of architrave window reveals at first floor level and moulded cornices at parapet level. It forms part of the setting of a high concentration of Grade II terraced shops along Westgate Street, as well as the Grade II* 17th century 14-15 Westgate Street, now The Grapes.
BPT is supportive of the provision of “affordable rent” dwellings, where this is policy-compliant with other considerations such as the change of use from office space within the city centre. We are keen to see the delivery of genuinely affordable housing in Bath and therefore recommend that further details are provided as part of this application to define what constitutes “affordable rent” and how it would be secured as part of a planning permission.
There is a preference for long-term or ‘in perpetuity’ affordable housing to ensure that future numbers of affordable housing are appropriately secured.
We commend the opportunity for energy efficient retrofits and have the following comments:
We are supportive of the opportunity for the installation of internal insulation. However, we maintain that the proposed insulation type should be coherent with the breathable qualities of the historic building fabric such as Bath stone to minimise the risk of future issues such as increased condensation or damp. Whilst the building is unlisted, we encourage consideration of how the proposed insulation would interact with surviving historic features and more complicated areas such as window reveals and surrounds. A total thickness of 135mm is proposed (30mm cavity, 105mm insulation backed plasterboard) and it is unclear as to how this depth of insulation would interact with the building.
We are generally supportive of opportunities for retrofits, such as the thermal upgrade of windows to double glazing. As yet, there is insufficient detail regarding the proposed appearance and thickness of the replacement windows; whilst unlisted, the building is of traditional construction and appearance in keeping with its wider, largely Grade II setting, and in this context the use of slimlite double glazing (12-14mm thickness) is preferable. Aspects of traditional style construction such as through glazing bars should be used, rather than applied glazing bars. We strongly recommend that further details and sections are submitted as part of this application.
There is an absence of heritage information regarding the building, such as the age and significance of the existing windows proposed for replacement. Clarification on this point to ensure no loss of historic glazing is recommended.
BPT is generally supportive of the principle of PV panels installed where this would preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the setting of a number of listed buildings and the wider conservation area. The proposed solar array would be mounted on the flat roof to the rear of the building, presumed to be a later addition/alteration, and would therefore be concealed from public view by the street-facing parapet and pitched roof. Views would be screened to the rear due to the wraparound corner position of the adjoining 20 Westgate Street. Therefore, the principle of PV panels in this location is considered to be acceptable due to being largely concealed from public view. We note that similar areas of flat roof have been used for PV installation within the immediate vicinity, such as the roof of the Grade II Little Theatre.
However, we recommend that further material details are submitted regarding the proposed fixing and appearance of the panels to allow for a fully-informed assessment of the proposed works, and to ensure that the works are compliant with Policy SCR2 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan. The use of monochrome panels with a matte, non-reflective finish is preferable.