26 Church Road, Upper Weston, Bath
26 Church Road forms part of a Grade II listed early/mid-19th century terrace, situated within the Upper Weston character area of the Bath Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. The terrace is modest in scale; each dwelling features a two-storey, 2 bay frontage in Bath stone ashlar that steps down the east-west slope of Church Road towards Crown Hill. The terrace rear is relatively enclosed by surrounding development, but limited views across the rear are sustained from the private car park on Church Road.
BPT notes that the proposals are indicated to be retrospective. We strongly maintain that all relevant permissions should be secured before works to a listed building are allowed to commence to minimise the potential of unauthorised, and in some cases irreversible, harm to the special interest of the building.
In light of the Climate Emergency, BPT is supportive of sensitive sustainability retrofits, where deemed appropriate, within the historic environment, as well as the sympathetic upgrade of traditional housing stock to better meet modern standards of living. As such, we therefore note a positive opportunity for the sensitive implementation of energy efficiency retrofits and thermal improvements, where this is appropriately balanced against the sustained special interest and identified significance of the listed building.
The existing windows are indicated to be single glazed timber framed sash windows in the Victorian style (single pane). However, it remains unclear as to their age or provenance; given their design and the early-mid 19th century age of the building, the existing windows (prior to unauthorised replacement) may have been original to the building. We strongly recommend that this assessment should be included as part of the Heritage Statement as a critical aspect of the planning balance. Where windows can be demonstrated to be a later addition, their replacement would therefore only affect demonstrably non-historic fabric and would be of negligible harm to the special interest of the listed building. However, where the windows can be demonstrated to be original to the building, this would necessitate the loss of higher significance historic glazing and therefore result in greater harm.
Where the proposed window replacement can be concluded to result in no loss of historic fabric, BPT is therefore supportive in principle of the installation of slimlite double-glazed sash windows, where these are coherent with the listed building in their appearance, design, and profile. We note that the application refers to double-glazed windows but does not specify that these would be ‘slimline’ (eg. 12-14mm thickness). We maintain that a standardised double-glazing profile (approx. 24mm) would not be appropriate within this context and recommend that this detail is clarified. We further emphasise the need to submit relevant proposed window details and sections to illustrate the proposed glazing thickness and the thickness and profile of the proposed glazing bars in relation to the windows due to be replaced.
We note the proposed use of internal wall insulation, which could be a positive intervention to improve the thermal performance of the building and reduce emissions with no impact on the external appearance of the building. However, no further information has been provided as part of this application regarding the proposed type of insulation, its thickness, or how it would relate to any historic details or features of interest within the building, although it is indicated that the skirtings and wall surrounds would be brought forward in line with the new wall finish. We therefore maintain that there is currently insufficient information to assess the suitability of this intervention and the degree of impact to the historic building, and therefore recommend that this aspect of the scheme is clarified with the case officer.
BPT is very interested in working with the applicant to reach an acceptable solution and to assess the performance of the windows before and after retrofit to create a ‘best practice’ case study.