5 Bladud Buildings, City Centre, Bath
5 Bladud Buildings forms part of a terraced group of Grade II mid-18th century townhouses, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. A number of these concentrated to the south-western end now have commercial ground floors and shopfronts that date to the 19th century, including No. 5. The terrace forms part of the approach to the Grade I Paragon, and cumulatively forms part of an architectural setpiece indicative of innovations in 18th century town planning utilising crescents and undulating terraces seen throughout the World Heritage Site. The focus of the works is to the rear of the property where No. 5 has retained the 19th century extent of its garden setting overlooking Walcot Street, although views of the terrace rear have now been substantially blocked by later development, most notably the YMCA building.
Planning permission was granted in 2013 for the existing glazed “pavilion” rear extension and glazed balustrade to the edge of the upper terrace (see 13/01902/LBA).
We note that the applicant indicates that the structure has been in situ from January 2012, although as yet there is no quantifiable evidence supplied as part of this application that indicates the structure was in place by this date. We therefore trust that the case officer will ask for further information on this point.
In accordance with Section 171B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, “Where there has been a breach of planning control consisting in the carrying out without planning permission of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, no enforcement action may be taken after the end of the period of four years beginning with the date on which the operations were substantially completed.” Where it is indicated by the applicant that the structure isn’t permanent and is intended for summer use only (ie. dismantled between uses), we therefore question whether this constitutes a period of uninterrupted, continuous use from the point at which works were “substantially completed”.
We note that based on satellite imagery from Google Earth, the canopy does not appear to have been in situ in August 2017 (during the summer, when the canopy is reportedly in use) – see Fig. 1 & 1 (attached separately).
We further note a current absence of information regarding whether the structure is freestanding or relies on any fixing points to the main structure, likely via the modern rear extension.
We conclude that the information provided is insufficient to determine whether the structure has been consistently in situ from 2012, and therefore we question whether this development meets the requirements of a CLEU application, or whether a retrospective FUL application would be more appropriate. This would also allow for improved and much-needed assessment of the structure as existing and the impact on the setting of a listed building, considering its size and elevated position.