36 Lyncombe Hill, Lyncombe, Bath
36 Lyncombe Hill forms part of a Grade II 1824 terrace of townhouses, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The terrace sits in an elevated position on the western side of the Lyncombe Hill road and its east elevation is visible in wider hillside landscape views from the east. The west elevation is visible from certain points in Alexandra Park to the west, and Lyncombe Playing Fields to the south-west. Whilst the principal terrace façade overlooks Lyncombe Hill and extensive views to the east, the main access to the terrace is via the rear service road and through the rear western elevation. The rear elevation features a number of outshot ‘thunderbox’ WCs across the first floor, likely a later 19th century addition. Adjacent garden ‘strips’ to the north have been adapted to provide off-street parking and ancillary outbuildings of varying ages, with a garage of poor condition and no architectural or historic merit associated with 36 Lyncombe Hill.
The existing dormer windows are late 20th century; due to their scale and incongruous fenestration style they are considered to be an unsympathetic addition that sits uncomfortably within the context of the terrace and the wider historic roofscape.
BPT was invited to comment on these proposals at pre-application stage, with consideration of several options for either the refurbishment or the replacement of the existing roof dormers. We expressed a preference for the replacement of the dormers and welcomed the opportunity to reduce the dormers in scale and realign them with the main body of the building. The reinstatement of a traditional-style sash window profile would be more coherent with the appearance of a listed building and the grouped character and appearance of the wider Grade II. However, we did maintain some concerns with the proposed design of the dormers and expressed a preference for a more visually recessive and traditional profile and use of materials.
We therefore maintain our pre-application comments as follows:
We are generally supportive of sympathetic maintenance works to the vaults, such as appropriate repointing in lime mortar, gentle cleaning, and the removal of redundant services. We welcome submission of further details regarding how water ingress from garage service penetrations will be mitigated. However, we note that it is proposed to locate what appears to be a new WC (sink and toilet) in the north-western vault. BPT maintains concerns regarding the use of vaults for more ‘primary’ residential use (bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, etc.) which would consequently place the vaults under increasing pressure to meet modern standards of residential living and comfort. You can see our position statement on the use of historic vaults and cellars via our website: https://www.bath-preservation-trust.org.uk/campaigning/vaults-in-bath/
Energy Efficiency Retrofits:
The replacement of the uPVC windows at lower ground floor level is welcomed, and we are pleased to see that the original window openings will be retained and the proposed lowering of the window sills has been omitted. We are additionally welcoming of the proposed opportunity to implement timber sash windows with slimlite double glazing. We are supportive of the sensitive fitting of slimlite double glazing where this does not necessitate the removal or loss of historic fabric. However, we maintain the need for appropriate sections and details of the proposed windows to ensure that the window thickness, profile, and detailing are coherent with the characteristics of the listed building.
Similarly, we maintain the need for appropriate window details and sections for the proposed replacement dormers in slimlite double glazing.
The opportunity for further retrofit works is welcomed, with proposed internal wall and roof insulation solutions. The proposed use of a slim wood fibre insulation board is materially acceptable; however, we are unable to offer more specific comments or support of the proposed measures in this context without being able to see how this would interact with surviving internal details and features, such as the window architrave. We recommend further comments are sought from the conservation officer with regards to the proposed covering of the “original plaster cornice to bedroom 017” and how this would materially and aesthetically affect the special interest of the listed building.
We maintain that there is a positive opportunity for remedial works as part of this proposal to address the current incongruous scale, form, and design of the existing dormers. We continue to express a preference for works to replace the existing dormers, rather than refurbishment, to allow for a reduction in width and to better align with the main body of the building.
The proposed dormers more clearly draw reference from examples of single dormer windows within the wider terraced context of Lyncombe Hill. Whilst we maintain a preference for a more subservient dormer scale and style, eg. two individual dormer windows, we appreciate the material and aesthetic improvements of the proposed design in attempting to emulate ‘standalone’ dormer windows, as well as the opportunity to mitigate the harm already caused to the special interest of a listed building.
The use of more sympathetic materials to replace the existing, incongruous use of uPVC and concrete tiles is welcomed.
The use of a recessed ‘infill’ between the two windows would help to break up the perceived scale and massing of the dormers and would enable a spatial ‘buffer’ to be read between the two windows. We strongly recommend the need for further details as to the appearance and material finish of the “grey stainless steel standing seam finish”. We further encourage the submission of through sections to indicate how far back the metal finish would be recessed as this is currently unclear from the proposed elevations.
However, we do maintain some concerns with the proposed appearance and scale of the dormer windows. As proposed, the 2-over-2 sash profile currently reads as too big, and looks oversized in comparison with the lower windows in the main body of the building. They do not appear to follow the typical pattern of Georgian window graduation where windows progressively reduce in scale across the upper floors, and as a result appear somewhat oversized and out of balance with the rest of the building.
The scale of the windows may be visually mitigated with the use of a smaller glazing panes as part of a multi-pane window design, such as 3-over-3 sash windows as previously proposed on the east elevation.
We emphasise the need to get the design ‘right’ to achieve an appropriate level of visual coherency, particularly as the re-establishment of white-painted timber sash windows will serve to increasingly pick out the new dormer windows as part of the terrace’s historic roofscape. Potentially, it may be beneficial to further reduce the scale of the dormer windows on the principal east elevation to more effectively achieve the window scale graduation in long-range views to the east.