55 New King Street, Kingsmead, Bath
The proposed site of development is on the corner between New King Street and Cumberland Row, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The proposed development would materially relate to 55 New King Street, a Grade II late 18th century townhouse. It originally formed part of a historic pair of townhouses; the eastern section of the street was heavily damaged during the Blitz, with the other half of the townhouse pair recorded as a ‘ruin’ post-1950s before being demolished. The site’s footprint has consequently been eaten into to create traffic access, and also provides several off-street parking spaces and a garage. 55 New King Street retains its significantly exposed gable end where its neighbour would have originally been connected which has since been rendered to the building’s aesthetic detriment.
BPT previously commented on a similar permitted scheme (see 18/00185/FUL & 18/00186/LBA). We note that the scheme is largely the same as that already permitted, and therefore reiterate our comment as previous:
We are supportive of the principle of streetscape repair on this site. We consider that the application is lacking in appropriate detail at this stage to properly assess the impact of the scheme on the listed building No.55 and the historic street scene. It is our view that whilst the overall scale, massing and height of this scheme is sensitive and appropriate to context, it will be the finer detail of this scheme that will decide its quality and the success of its contribution to the townscape.
The Heritage Statement does not give enough detail of the original buildings on the site; visual information is readily available and we would be happy to provide some examples. We maintain that the level of detail regarding the surviving fabric in No.55 is inadequate and there should be floor plans of all levels on this building so we can understand the impact of the new build on this asset as we have some concern that there may be more loss of historic fabric to this building than the surviving rear wall remnant. The drawings are not detailed enough to properly understand how the old and new will assimilate together physically and visually and in particular their junctions. We recommend the case officer request 1:50 scale drawings so that understanding of finer detail can inform the planning judgement, this includes joinery and stone work detailing at 1:2 or 1:10. In particular there are no large scale window drawings but they appear flush to the surface of the façade; we question whether they should be inset with stone sills to mirror the prevailing fenestration pattern of the street.
We note that a condition was attached to the previous permit asking for further detailed drawings and cross sections to identify means of attachment to the listed building, and we strongly recommend that this continues to be applied to any forthcoming consent.
It is regrettable that the corner lost to the highway impacts on the scheme in such a fundamental way as to preclude reinstatement of the original façade with a 90˚turn up Cumberland Row and we continue to ask whether any enquiries have been made as to whether this arrangement is unchangeable. The design of the corner link building does not excite or enhance the special interest of the listed building but we accept that it does offer a simple transition on an awkward corner and the legible scar of war damage is still visible.
Other observations include:
• We are unsure of the impact of the flat roof to the link building but accept this is difficult to design in to the scheme, the introduction of human activity via the roof terrace should be very carefully considered for appropriateness given it faces the public realm. A 3D rendering of the scheme viewed diagonally from New King Street would help understand how it would look in reality.
• Similarly the size and location of the new dormers should be reconsidered, again possibly to replicate No.55.
• In adopting a traditional design approach on the Cumberland Row elevation it would desirable to incorporate a correctly detailed chimney stack to enliven the roofscape (and this could be used to vent internal services)
• We find the design, detail and appearance of the rear elevation to be bland, and overbearing.
• The rainwater goods should be painted cast iron or aluminium to be of a suitable quality for the scheme.
• The truncated mansard roof with the flat roof section that leads back to the new tall rear elevation wall, adjacent and overlooking the listed building, is an uncharacteristic traditional roof form.