35 Kensington Gardens, Walcot, Bath
35 Kensington Gardens forms part of an unlisted late 19th century terrace situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The area is largely consistent in age with a mix of late 19th and early 20th century terraces, but is varied in its architectural form and detailing. 25 Kensington Gardens forms part of a more modest style of terrace with pitched roofs in clay tiles, and two-storey bay windows running up the front elevation in Bath stone ashlar. The area is predominantly 2 storeys in height, with some taller ‘landmark’ buildings including the Grade II Hayes Mount to the north-east, but there is a perceived difference in terrace height due to the steep east-west slope of the hillside down towards London Road. Due to the gentle curve of the road, the terrace has a heightened visibility in mid-range views from Snow Hill and Upper East Hayes. There are frequent examples of contemporary conversion of the roof space into an additional storey; this is externally indicated through the modest installation of rooflights to the front roof pitch, or dormer windows to the rear, to ensure the retention of the area’s largely homogenous roofscape character and low rise appearance.
We therefore have concerns regarding the proposed installation of two 'PK19 Cabrio’ rooflights and feel this would be an excessive and over-dominant addition to the roof slope clearly visible in short and mid-range public views from along Snow Hill and Upper East Hayes. Whilst we acknowledge the precedent for modestly sized and positioned rooflights in this area, the proposed volume and scale of the Cabrio rooflights would isolate 35 Kensington Gardens from its terraced neighbours at the detriment to the character and appearance of the streetscape.
In particular, we highlight the use of PK19 Cabrio windows as inappropriate due to their use as a “balcony system”, resulting in an increased window size and the visual increase of the property’s activated domestic space by one storey. We maintain that this type of rooflight would be detrimental to the established roofscape of the area in which the residential conversion of the roofspace is intentionally concealed from the street by the restriction of larger dormer windows to the rear and the use of recessively sized rooflights on street-facing roof slopes. The introduction of balconies, whilst of a ‘foldable’ type and therefore less visually permanent, would introduce an additional visual storey to the terrace incongruous with its low rise and unified terraced context. We have concerns that this would establish an unwelcome precedent for similar insertions along Kensington Gardens, and at present this application would neither preserve nor enhance the character of this residential area of the conservation area.
We therefore strongly recommend that a more typical rooflight of a reduced size is selected that conforms to the existing roof treatment of the area.