7 Camden Crescent, Lansdown, Bath
As part of the scheme, it is proposed to “convert part of the small semi-external space to the rear into a shower room.” It is indicated that a “‘light touch’ approach will be adopted retaining walls and ceilings as they are but with a limewash finish.” This particular vault is indicated to be in a dry condition, although appears to currently be in use as an ancillary storage and/or circulation area.
BPT reiterates its general position on the use of vaults for more immediate, residential or domestic purposes. Vaults are typically dark, damp, and poorly ventilated spaces which are not well-suited to meet modern standards of living (eg. dry, adequate natural lighting and ventilation, etc.), or to cope with uses that result in increased humidity levels such as bathrooms and kitchens. Whilst we acknowledge that the interventions as proposed are relatively ‘light touch’ and would be finished in a limewash, we maintain some concerns that this proposed residential use would result in increasing pressures for future alterations to the vaults, such as damp-proofing measures, to meet modern residential standards with resulting harm to the traditional character and appearance of a listed building.
We therefore maintain at this stage that the more immediate residential use of the rear vault would not suitably justify future measures to manage damp or poor ventilation where these would obscure or damage historic fabric. It is emphasised that vaults are naturally damp and musty spaces that were not originally intended for residential use, rather ancillary and storage functions to serve the main house. These spaces are therefore not well-suited to residential use, and this should be understood by the applicant as part of proposals.