25 Upper East Hayes, Walcot, Bath
25 Upper East Hayes is an unlisted mid-20th century bungalow situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It is located adjacent to the Grade II late 18th century Hayes Mount, originally a detached villa dwelling, now with a semi-detached cottage to the rear, and forms part of the wider indicative streetscape setting of a number of Grade II 18th century villas along Upper East Hayes. The area is of a high urban residential grain interspersed with pockets of green along Bennett Street and Kensington Gardens; private gardens and planted boundary treatments further contribute to the distinctive green character of the character area. 25 Upper East Hayes remains a significant visual feature due to its L-shaped plot and resulting dual frontage visible in views from the east and south. It retains unbroken sections of traditional rubble stone boundary walling which contribute to the wider material vernacular of the conservation area. The existing bungalow, whilst of no architectural or historic value, sits low on the site and is well-screened from public view by planting; the extent of its aesthetic contribution to the streetscape is its hipped roof in clay pantiles.
We note the existing consent for the development of two 3-storey 4-bed detached dwellings on the site (see refused application 19/00230/FUL and approved appeal APP/F0114/W/19/3240981). BPT objected to the scheme on grounds of overdevelopment of the site, loss of the historic boundary wall which is a positive townscape feature, and an incongruous form ‘alien’ to local character and the character and appearance of the conservation area.
We maintain that the principle of some form of development on this site would be acceptable.
We are supportive in principle of proposals for the retention and retrofit of the existing bungalow. We consider the use of the site to provide one dwelling results in a more appropriate density than previously proposed (see 19/00230/FUL) and sits more comfortably within its retained garden setting.
However, BPT questions the feasibility of providing a “modern, energy efficient family home” using the existing bungalow. We query whether the existing bungalow is suitable for retrofit with regard to its structural integrity and materiality. BPT encourages the reuse of existing buildings, where possible, to ensure the retention of embodied carbon that originally went into material production and construction. However, we strongly recommend that further details regarding the structural capacity of the existing building and foundations are supplied for assessment by the relevant officer to ensure this scheme is deliverable.
We in-principle oppose the use timber cladding and consider that its proposed use in an ‘inner city’ context would be inappropriate. Bath’s urban core has a distinctive local vernacular in which the use of timber would be an incoherent insertion that would not relate visually or architecturally to its historic context. BPT maintains that the use of timber cladding is better suited in rural or green settings due to its soft, natural finish, colouring, and weathering. We further highlight the aesthetic impact of the proposed first floor due to its elevated position within short and mid-range streetscape views along Upper East Hayes to the east and south.
This application in its current form would therefore pose an unwelcome precedent for the introduction of timber cladding into the core of the Bath conservation area and WHS with resulting harm to the established material, architectural, and aesthetic character of the city. We would strongly recommend that the applicant considers other possible material and palettes that would better reflect and complement the character of its setting.
We note the consented design uses Bath stone ashlar facing across all visible elevations which is a more sympathetic material treatment in the established character and appearance of the conservation area. We consider that any future proposals should involve a palette of materials that reflects local townscape character and preserves and enhance s the character and appearance of the conservation area.
BPT previously had concerns with the square, flat-roofed form of the proposed dwellings in application 19/00230/FUL which we felt would be “alien” to local character. We therefore reiterate concerns with the proposed form and roof treatment considering its increased visibility to the south and east and prominent position at the top of a steep north-south slope down towards London Road. We therefore feel that a flat-roofed form would fail to reinforce local character and would sit uncomfortably with the sloping contours of the site. We have further concerns regarding the potential visual impact of the unbroken massing of the north-east extension to the character of the streetscape, as well as the blocking of wider townscape views. Application 19/00230/FUL previously proposed a gap between the two dwellings to break up visual massing; we remain of the view that the building should be broken down more both in size and form so as to respect the quality and grain of local character and to allow more glimpses and views past the buildings, which is a feature of Bath’s townscape character.
The detail of the current application is inadequate with regard to assessing prospective visual impact to the area. We strongly recommend that existing and proposed context elevations are provided to better elaborate on how the proposed first floor extension would sit in relation to its urban context. We additionally suggest that further details regarding landscaping across the site are provided, particularly along the northern corner of the site which appears to have been excluded from the existing and proposed floor plans.
Whilst we are supportive of the principle of the reuse and retrofit of the bungalow, the proposal by virtue of its form, massing, and materials would not preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area. The application is contrary to the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D3, D5, HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan.