7 St James’s Street, Lansdown, Bath
7 St James’s Street is a Grade II late 18th century townhouse, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of a high concentration of Grade II terraced townhouses along Marlborough Street, St James’s Street, Great Bedford Street, and Park Street which all contribute to the setting of the Grade I monumental development at St James’s Square. 7 St James’s Street bears evidence of significant later alterations to its principal façade, particularly at ground floor level where there was historically a shopfront which has since been removed, and the irregular placement and size of windows across the upper three floors. The rear elevation is publicly visible as part of the Victorian retail access to the laundrette on St James’s Place.
We note that it is indicated that works have not yet started, but the photographs in the D&A Statement show that the pennant paving in the vaults has already been taken up. We emphasise that we do not support the commencement of works to listed buildings without first obtaining the appropriate consent.
The implementation of drainage works and channels to deal with the natural water ingress and damp conditions of the vaults is considered a more appropriate intervention, but we continue to recommend further details regarding the proposed ground works and the proposed laying of hardcore.
The proposed insertion of two new windows at lower ground floor level is acceptable. The blockwork used to infill the existing window openings is indicated to be modern in origin and therefore removal would not constitute a loss of historic fabric. The use of slimlite glazing is a positive energy efficient intervention in an area of low public visibility, although we maintain that this should be in keeping with the established window form and profile across the rest of the building to ensure a coherency of quality detail.
We maintain that regular maintenance can help alleviate damp issues, such as ensuring the pennant stone covering is in good condition, properly grouted, and clear of invasive vegetative growth. We recommend that the applicant liaises with Highways regarding the ongoing future maintenance of the pavement at ground level, which would have a positive result on the underlying condition of the vaults.