7 Alexander Buildings, Lambridge, Bath
7 Alexander Buildings forms part of a Grade II early 19th century terrace of townhouses, situated in the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of the contextual streetscape setting of a high concentration of listed buildings including 5-11 Percy Place (Grade II), Grosvenor House (Grade I), 1-8 Worcester Terrace (Grade II), and Beaufort Cottage (Grade II). The focus of works is to the rear on the site of the recently completed garage and attached garden store (see 19/05354/LBA). It forms part of a mixed garage and residential streetscape along Ringswell Mews with views over the adjoining housing at Ringswell Gardens. The site is bordered by Kensington Meadows and the River Avon to the south, although it is noted that the flat topography of the site and mixed tree and hedge planting along the southern boundary help to visually screen adjoining residential development from the Meadows.
It is regrettable that the opportunity wasn’t taken as part of application 19/05354/LBA to integrate solar as part of the construction of the new garage. This would allow for considerations such as the inset of panels flush within the roof slope, or the use of new technologies such as solar slates to minimise visual impact.
The proposed panels would be mounted to the southern roof slope and would therefore be clearly visible from Ringswood Mews and Ringswood Gardens. It is noted that PV panels are already mounted to the south roof slope of 195 Ringswell Gardens (see 12/01702/FUL) which, whilst of more restricted visibility from Ringswell Gardens due to its two storey height and increased set-back along Ringswell Mews, are visible from Kensington Meadows. Primary views of the proposed panels would be from modern development along Ringswell Gardens to the south and east. However, due to the sharpness of the roof pitch, panels on the southern roof slope should be largely obscured from views from Alexander Buildings or the neighbouring Grosvenor Place. There may be some concerns regarding possible visibility in wider townscape or roofscape views from Kensington Meadows or whether this would be appropriately screened by the adjoining contemporary terrace; we trust this will be appropriately considered by the case officer as part of the planning balance.
We therefore maintain that the suitability of installation is heavily dependent on securing an appropriately recessive visual finish, in accordance with Policy SCR2. In the interest of maintaining coherence in the appearance of roof coverings, and a harmonious palette of materials that is characteristic of Bath, ‘frameless’ panels with a matt black finish are encouraged to minimise reflectivity and possible brightness of appearance and blend in as best as possible with the existing roof covering. The use of a black backing or backsheet is preferred to minimise visibility of grid lines. Panels should sit as flush with the existing roof slope as practicable to prevent a visible ‘increase’ in roof ridge height.