6 Lansdown Place East, Lansdown, Bath
6 Lansdown Place East forms part of the Grade II Georgian terrace 1-16 Lansdown Place East situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site. It additionally forms part of the complementary planned setting on the south-western approach to the Grade I Lansdown Crescent. The area remains hugely significant in its presentation of Georgian monumental architecture and town planning, and the designed visual homogeneity and harmony throughout both Lansdown Place East and Lansdown Crescent which contributes to Bath’s World Heritage OUV. It is noted that 4-9 Lansdown Place East sustained significant damage from Blitz bombing and were therefore rebuilt in facsimile by the 1950s; in the case of 6 Lansdown Place East, this resulted in the loss of its original historic joinery and glazing. The current sash windows date to the 1970s following subsequent replacement of the 1950s reconstructions. Despite this, it retains a fine articulation of traditional six-over-six single glazed sash windows, with six-over-nine sash windows for the principal first floor, albeit with one-over-one sash dormer windows of a later style. 6 Lansdown Place East therefore retains significant architectural and historic interest through its maintained material and architectural vernacular, and continued aesthetic and architectural uniformity as part of the wider set piece of Lansdown Place East and Lansdown Crescent.
In the light of the declared Climate Emergency BPT is generally supportive of retrofit measures that protect elements that contribute to the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building; alterations are expected to be visually coherent with the character of the building, and the wider shared character of the listed terrace and surrounding conservation area.
We acknowledge that the existing windows are non-historic in origin and are in a poor condition, necessitating replacement.
This offers a positive opportunity for the implementation of energy-efficient retrofits without the loss of historic fabric.
We emphasise the importance of ensuring a high quality appearance harmonious with the traditional window profile of Bath’s Georgian terraces. This can be achieved through the use of an appropriate style of glazing bar thickness and profile to ensure the timber frame isn’t overly heavy or blocky in appearance.
We note that a previous, now consented, application at 3 Lansdown Place East proposed similar retrofitting works, with the replacement of four sash dormer windows with Ventrolla slimlite equivalents (see 20/00024/LBA). The Trust originally expressed concerns regarding the increased glazing bar thickness and change in glazing bar profile, but encouraged negotiation for an improved, more traditional design. We saw this proposal as a positive opportunity for the implementation of slimlite glazing in a low visibility area on one of Bath’s significant residential terraces. Whilst there was an incremental increase in glazing bar thickness, we acknowledged this would have a limited impact on the appearance of a listed building due to the largely concealed position of the dormer windows, a sentiment shared by the case officer. We therefore emphasise that 3 Lansdown Place cannot be considered an appropriate comparison or precedent for this application due to the smaller, more discreet nature of the proposed retrofits. This application would have a more substantial impact on the principal elevation of a Grade II building.
We note that measurements of the windows as existing have not been provided, and therefore the extent of change proposed by this application remains unclear. There are no existing window details, close up photographs or measured sections against which the proposed sections can be compared. We would therefore recommend that sections of the existing windows are submitted to enable the LPA to make a proper assessment regarding any potential change in glazing bar thickness and consequently the overall visual character of the windows.
Furthermore, we have concerns regarding the thickness and profile of the proposed glazing bars. We feel that the glazing bars would be too thick for the principal elevation and would clash with the fine fenestration of its Grade II terraced setting. The proposed ovolo and fillet profile would be too thick and shallow for a level of definition appropriate to the age and design of the building. The meeting rails are too thick and appear to meet vertically, rather than featuring a more traditional angled meet. The proposed windows appear to be a standardised specification and are not tailored to the specific architectural interest of the Grade II building and its wider terraced setting.
We are resistant to the introduction of timber window cills. Stone cills, either painted or unpainted, remain a distinctive feature along terraces within Bath; the addition of a timber cill over the existing stone cill would be inappropriate. We strongly suggest this aspect of the scheme is omitted.
Whilst we are supportive of the principle of the reinstatement of a more traditional fenestration to the front dormer windows, we have some concerns regarding the proposed six-over-six pane fenestration. This design is used on other dormer windows within the immediate vicinity of 6 Lansdown Place East, but we highlight that these dormer windows are taller in proportion and therefore better-suited to accommodate this style of fenestration. Due to the stepped format of the terrace, 6 Lansdown Place East’s dormer windows appear to be shorter and therefore a six-over-six design would be more visually cramped. The glazing panes would have a narrower, more rectangular emphasis out of character with the fenestration style of the building. We feel these windows would be better suited to a three-over-six sash window profile which would sit appropriately with other examples of sash windows on the terrace whilst allowing for the dormers’ small size.
This proposal, if got right, 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.
BPT is very interested in working with the applicant to reach an acceptable solution and getting better understanding of the existing window condition and design.
Therefore, whilst we are supportive of the principle of the wholescale installation of slimlite glazing, we maintain that the current design would result in harm to the appearance of a listed building and would not complement the character of the adjoining listed terrace, and would not preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area. We strongly encourage that the proposed glazing bar thickness is reconsidered and alternative glazing suppliers consulted to find alternative options to appropriately balance limited less than substantial harm to a listed building against the potential public benefit.