33 Belvedere, Lansdown
33 Belvedere is a Grade II Victorian shop located within the core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site. Due to its position amongst a high density of Grade II terraced properties, this site is exceptionally sensitive with regards to its potential impact or enhancement of the ancillary streetscape. The additional positioning of the Grade II Hedgemead Park along the western boundary of the garden means that the building’s rear façade retains a high visual significance and sensitivity to change.
BPT encourages the implementation of internal remedial works proposed in this application. The removal of 20th century inserts is generally positive, and we approve of the reuse of original doorways to reinstate a Victorian, or earlier, plan form. The retention and maintenance of the original shop front will consequently enhance the streetscape and preserve the socio-historic readability of the building’s frontage and original function.
The Trust further supports the incorporation of energy-efficient or low-carbon measures into property refurbishments where this will not have a detrimental impact on historic fabrics or landscapes.
We additionally support the replacement of poor-performance modern extensions with contemporary, high-quality alternatives that are sympathetic to the core historic building. The use of glazing can be positive, dependent on location, due to its ‘light touch’ approach that enables the continued readability of a building’s exterior.
However, we are concerned regarding the intensive scale of development to the rear of 33 Belvedere, particularly with reference to the required subterranean works for both the extension and the basement. The documentation provided within the application is insufficient and more information such as a structural survey and intended construction works would be required before this application could be approved.
We are also particularly concerned with the massing and materials of the extension; the eastern elevation is heavily glazed and faces onto the Grade II Hedgemead Park. We feel that this application does not adequately present the potential visual harm to the park’s views and how this will be mitigated. The proposed conservatory is particularly problematic in this aspect due to the concentration of glazing on the lower portion of the eastern facade.
The expansion of the basement is additionally concerning due to the potential damage to historic fabric and the original plan form of the building. The Section of Historical Development provided within this application specifies the basement to be the foundation of the original building dating to 1740; therefore, further consideration as to how subterranean expansion will impact the existing significance and conservation of the basement requires adequate demonstration and documentation.
Therefore, whilst BPT supports the majority of internal remedial works, we feel that the subterranean expansion of the existing building has not been adequately justified with consideration for how the extant foundations will be affected, how the invasiveness of works and structural risk will be mitigated, or how the eastern view will affect the setting and significance of Hedgemead Park. We do not consider that enough information relating to the structural works has been submitted in order to make a proper assessment of the impact. We would recommend that further information is submitted in support of this application.