25 Upper East Hayes, Walcot
The Trust finds the principle of some form of development on this site to be acceptable, however we have concerns regarding the scale of buildings on the site and the use of brick.
The form of these two buildings overdevelop and overtake the plot, as proposed they present a monolithic appearance that is over-dominant within the townscape, especially the building oriented down the slope. This is exacerbated by their solid box-like rectilinear forms and the hard landscaped terraces which are alien to local character and fail to assimilate with and contour themselves to the slope on which they sit.
It is very possible the dominant 3 storey forms also impact detrimentally on the setting of the adjacent listed buildings, particularly Hayes Mount. The narrow access road to this site, historically to mews houses, gives a clue as to the appropriate amount of development this land could comfortably accommodate. The buildings should be broken down more both in size, form and design to reference and 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.
Ideally they should sit within a larger green space to give them an appropriate setting and sense of place (this would require them to be scaled down in size and plan); pockets of green land and gardens form part of the character of this part of the conservation area as well as reference the historic use and form of this area in relation to the listed assets in close proximity. We agree with local concerns regarding the regrettable loss of the old stone revetment wall which is a positive townscape feature.
In addition we object to the proposed use of brick, which is not an appropriate building material within the historic city. Despite planning precedent in recent years it has been shown to be unsuccessful and visually discordant within historic environments. We have found it to be an acceptable material for use on a development on the outskirts of the city given it is arguably less contentious as it is a whole new quarter, with its own identity, without an immediate historic context.
In our view Bath stone is the only main building material that should be used within this sensitive and highly visible area, of course contemporary and complementary detailing materials within the Bath colour palette could also be used to create visual interest and break down the elevations.
The proposed scheme would fail to maintain or enhance the character of the conservation area. It would therefore detract from the special qualities of the WHS. The scheme would be contrary to the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 (Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment) of the NPPF, policies B1, B4, and CP6 of the B&NES Core Strategy and policies CP6, D2, D5, D7, HE1, BD1, B.4, of the Placemaking Plan. We would therefore recommend the application be refused.