59 Lyncombe Hill, Lyncombe, Bath
59 Lyncombe Hill forms part of a pair of Grade II early 19th century terraced townhouses, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The terrace forms part of the setting of a high concentration of Grade II terraced houses along Lyncombe Hill from the early-mid 19th century, and forms a homogenous, well-balanced pair with the adjoining No. 61 with a cohesive Bath stone ashlar façade and parapet roofline. The terrace forms part of the steep eastwards slope looking towards Widcombe; in particular, the east elevation is open to wider townscape and landscape views where Forefield Rise falls away to the east, with clear sightlines maintained between key features such as the rear of Widcombe Crescent. 59 Lyncombe Hill maintains a strong streetscape presence along Forefield Rise due to its elevated position as well as its unbroken extent of coursed rubble stone boundary wall that delineates the length of the rear garden strip, culminating in a 20th century garage structure, also finished in a coursed stone. To the rear, an example of a 19th century ground floor balcony has been retained and is clearly visible in public streetscape views, with a latticed metalwork armature. Whilst the garage is referred to as a “coach house” throughout this application, we note that coach house/stable style structures are not historically present in this area; the site of the garage was instead occupied by a historic glasshouse up until the later 20th century when it was replaced. However, there is an existing precedent for development of a residential scale along Forefield Rise from the late 19th and 20th century.
We have strong concerns that the proposed increase in the height, scale, and massing of the dormers would be detrimental to the significance and architectural value of the listed building and character and appearance of the conservation area.
The existing dormer windows are late 20th century set within the pitched natural slate roof; 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.
Opportunity exists to mitigate existing harm to the listed building through the remodelling of the existing dormer windows to better relate to and reinforce the established roofscape form and order of proportion across the main body of the building.
We acknowledge that there are some benefits of the proposed dormer design. The sash windows would be repositioned to better realign with the windows below. The use of a recessed infill between the windows would create a sense of two single bay dormer windows which is more characteristic of dormer size and positioning in this location.
The resulting effect would be of oversized windows out of keeping with the hierarchical order of scale across the building frontage. In particular, the dormer windows on the proposed west elevation look much larger than the first-floor windows, resulting in a top-heavy, overbalanced appearance. It may be that this effect would be further exacerbated by the proposed use of 1-over-1 sash windows; the use of smaller glazing panes as part of a multi-pane window design (eg. 2-over-2, but note the rear dormers at no. 61 use 6-over-6 sashes) may therefore help to mitigate the perceived scale of the windows.
We note similar proposals have been granted consent at 36 Lyncombe Buildings (see 22/00815/LBA). However, in this case it is worth highlighting that the proposed replacement dormer windows were of a reduced size than existing, and were positioned lower on the front and rear roof slopes, with the window sills sitting closer down towards the parapet. We therefore do not consider this to be a suitable planning precedent in relation to this scheme.
The proposed rooflight is indicated to better illuminate the staircase between the first and second floors, although the staircase would already benefit from increased light from the northernmost sash dormer window on the front roof slope. However, the position of the rooflight on the principal roof slope would be awkward and cramped in relation to the proposed dormers, and result in an unwelcome, asymmetric arrangement clearly visible within the streetscape. We therefore strongly recommend that this aspect of the scheme is omitted.
Whilst we welcome the opportunity for the replacement of the existing, deleterious 20th century dormer windows, we maintain that the proposed dormers by virtue of their increased height, scale, and massing would result in further harm to a listed building. We encourage consideration of design revisions in line with our comments to better mitigate visual impact.
We have concerns regarding the proposed scale of the rear extension and its enclosure of the entirety of the rear elevation at lower ground floor level. Whilst it appears that the existing openings would be reused as access points into the extension, it is unclear as to the material impact, and any potential fabric loss resulting from fixings, etc., that the proposed extension would have on the listed building. In particular, the height, placement and appearance of the extension in relation to the ground floor balcony above is uncomfortable and constricted in appearance, resulting in visual conflict with this feature of historic interest, which contributes to the significance of the listed building. We therefore encourage further, in-depth consideration of the proposed extension in relation to the established significance of the listed building, ideally using a mechanism such as a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA).
The proposed extension would also feature a “structural glass roof”. In relation to the overhanging balcony, we question how the extension would be practically maintained, such as managing potential standing water and/or staining. In light of the current Climate Emergency and increasing hot spells during the summer months, it is important that means of shading or darkening the glass are considered to ensure the extension is a sustainable, long-term addition to the building.
Proposed Coach House:
We are not opposed to the principle of an annexe-style development on the site of the existing garage, where this would remain ancillary to the main building. However, the proposed height and scale of development within this small-scale plot should have a strong degree of subservience to the listed building. Given the steep topography of Forefield Rise, the proposed development would be a prominent addition to the streetscape as experienced from the east approach. We also have further concerns regarding the perceived scale of development in wider views, given the clarity of sightlines between Forefield Rise and the Widcombe character area.
Given the scale of development, it would be helpful to provide further sections or contextual elevations to better illustrate the relationship between the proposed coach house and the listed building to ensure that the coach house would be an appropriately subservient and ‘utilitarian’ addition in keeping with the traditional characteristics of the coach house typology.
We would therefore welcome further consideration of a structure of a reduced scale, to more appropriately balance development against the established character of its context.
Whilst this scheme offers potential for the positive refurbishment of a listed building, proposals at this stage would cumulatively result in less than substantial harm to the listed building, and its setting and conservation area, without being appropriately outweighed by demonstrated public benefit, and would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area. Development as proposed would therefore be contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D3, D4, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be further amended, refused or withdrawn.