41 Richmond Place, Beacon Hill, Bath
41 Richmond Place forms part of a section of Grade II early 19th century residential terrace, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of a much longer terrace of 56 Grade II early 19th century artisan cottages, considered to be the longest terrace of period cottages in the UK. It overlooks Richmond Green, historically identified Beacon Hill Common by the late 19th century, and enjoys a verdant well-planted setting screened by the tree belt to the south and tree planting along the north-eastern garden line. The terrace is visually modest in scale at two storeys as perceived from the roadside, gradually stepping up the north-west – south-east slope with a marked increase in building height on the north-west section of terrace. 42 Richmond Place is indicative of the small-scale and simple articulation of the terrace, albeit with some marked variation in window alignment and positively contributes to the shared character and appearance of the terrace in its retention of traditional-style 6-over-6 timber sash windows, 6 panel top-glazed timber door, and red clay pantile roof.
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 without the loss of historic fabric.
It is indicated that the existing windows are 1960s replacements in a Georgian style, and are currently in a deleterious condition. We therefore note that replacement would not result in a loss of historic fabric and is therefore considered acceptable.
The existing windows are chunky in profile with thick glazing bars measuring 30mm. We welcome their proposed replacement with a more slender and historically coherent design; the glazing bars would be reduced to 22mm thickness with a tapered ovolo and fillet profile which would reinstate a more traditional and fine profile. Further reference to the typical window profile historically used along the terrace is recommended to best inform the selection of a glazing bar profile which would sustain and reinforce local character and the group value of the terrace.
We question whether a slimmer meeting rail and bottom rail have been considered to avoid the proposed windows looking overly chunky or heavy within a terrace of relatively fine fenestration.
We note that the applicant proposes the use of 12mm slimlite glazing in the application form, but the glazing is indicated to be 14mm thickness in the Hawker Joinery drawings. It would be helpful to have the proposed glazing thickness clarified; where possible, a 12mm thickness is preferred, examples of which have been used elsewhere in Bath (see 20/00024/LBA).
However, we are not supportive of the proposed use of timber sills. Due to the malleability of Bath stone, sash windows were historically set directly onto the stone window sill. This remains a common feature of the traditional windows existing along the terrace and we therefore maintain that the use of timber sills would be out of keeping with the established group value and shared appearance of the Grade II terrace. We do not consider the existing timber sills in the building, likely part of the 1960s window installation works, to be adequate justification for their continued inclusion; we strongly recommend that this aspect of the proposed window design is omitted.
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. This application could help provide an invaluable opportunity to monitor the thermal and acoustic efficiency of the windows, before and after, whilst also observing any additional repercussions such as changes in humidity levels. This information could then be used to more accurately assess the suitability of slimlite installation in Bath’s historic building stock, and inform future upgrades of listed buildings.