8 Gay Street, City Centre, Bath
8 Gay Street forms part of a Grade I mid-18th century terrace of townhouses, with several dwellings with commercial/office ground floors, at Nos. 2-17 Gay Street, situated within the Bath City-Wide Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. It forms the indicative setting of a high concentration of Grade I and Grade II segments of 18th century terrace up Gay Street. It remains a significant aspect of Bath’s monumental architecture and Georgian Town Planning Outstanding Universal Value that provides direct views between the Grade I The Circus and the Grade I Queen Square.
In response to the Climate Emergency, BPT is supportive of the principle of retrofit works to improve the energy efficiency and thermal performance of Bath’s existing listed and traditional building stock, where this does not result in adverse impact to the special interest of a listed building or the character and appearance of the conservation area.
The focus of the proposed window replacement works would be across the rear elevation of the building, which, whilst visible as part of the terraced backdrop along Gravel Walk, is of an increasingly varied appearance with evidence of later alterations and additions. The introduction of slimlite double glazing would be coherent with the material and architectural qualities of its backland context.
The existing windows are indicated to be later, Victorian or Victorian-style single pane additions. Replacement would result in limited harm to or loss of historic fabric, which would be outweighed by the benefits of reinstating a more traditional and sympathetic multi-pane fenestration style, with resulting enhancement to the appearance of a listed building and the visual amenity of the wider terrace.
The existing windows at lower ground floor level in the pavement lightwell would also be included in the proposed retrofit works, to incorporate “slim-profile double glazing and draught proofing”. Installation in this location would be of limited impact to the appearance of a listed building where the windows are set below pavement level and are of reduced visibility when considered as part of the building’s principal façade. Associated works to remove internal modern boxing and the removal of the sealed casement lights from the left hand window would have additional benefits in reinstating a pair of historic sash windows and associated enhancement of the special interest of a listed building.
Further energy saving measures could include the upgrade of the existing single glazed windows and the associated improvements to energy efficiency and the windows’ thermal performance, though we maintain that any energy efficiency gains need to be considered from a holistic, ‘whole home’ perspective, which considers the ‘energy hierarchy’, including behaviour change and measures to reduce energy waste. The improved thermal efficiency of the building would be considered to further contribute towards B&NES’ net zero objectives for the district.
This proposal 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 get a better understanding of the existing window condition and performance, to be reassessed post-retrofit.