46 Sydney Buildings, Bath
46 Sydney Buildings forms part of a pair of Grade II semi-detached early 19th century dwellings situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site, overlooking the boundary of the Bath and Bristol Green Belt and the Cotswolds AONB. It forms a streetscape of semi-detached pairs of Grade II dwellings following the road to the south, with some ‘glimpses’ of wider landscape views out to the west to the Georgian city. The building is designed as a balanced, symmetrical pair with its neighbour centrally divided by blind windows on the ground and first floors; this is an architectural device utilised across the front and rear elevations. There is some limited visibility of the southern side elevation from the pavement. The existing side extension is believed to be water closet dating to the late 19th century or later; however, the lower ground floor section could be contemporary to the original construction date of the building. This lower ground floor section would be retained as part of proposals.
BPT has responded to a series of refused applications for the proposed replacement of the side extension (see 20/00889/LBA & 20/00888/FUL, 21/00966/LBA & 21/01182/FUL). The principle of a new side extension is not opposed; however, any such extension should be complementary and recessive in its design and use of materials, with suitable justification provided regarding any possible loss of historic fabric or aesthetics.
Further revisions have been made to the scheme to address concerns raised regarding the impact of the proposed extension on the appearance and contextual streetscape relationship of the listed building. The extension is now pushed much further back from the principal street elevation to allow the first-floor blind window on the south elevation to be retained as an externally visible feature, and enable the continued expression of the south-east corner in streetscape views. Its semi-detached appearance and separation from 47-48 Sydney Buildings would be retained.
The use of slate cladding is considered an appropriate material choice within this location, considering the early 20th century use of the extension as a water closet, and that slate is traditionally used for cladding hanging loos or outshot toilets, and extensions.; However, we question the use of the proposed octagonal, ‘fish scale’ slate pattern. Within this context, a more uniform slate layout would better reference the existing roof treatment of the streetscape as well as other examples of slate cladding in Bath (see Walcot Steps). We consider that this would result in a more recessive and contextually-appropriate appearance in accordance with the extension’s subservient position, whereas a more unusual external treatment may draw too much attention visually to the proposed structure.