8 Park Road, Newbridge, Bath
8 Park Road forms part of an unlisted, late 19th/early 20th century residential terrace, situated within the Bath Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. The terrace is characterised as a modest 2 ½ storey series of houses in Bath stone ashlar, featuring projecting bay windows and hipped roofs. Despite its modest scale and form, the terrace features areas of ornate, decorative detailing around the window and door reveals; there are similar examples of decoration of a varying design, including Corinthian pilasters, sculpted keystones, and incised panels along Park Road. Despite a number of later insertions, the streetscape remains defined by its prominent use of terraced housing and shared qualities such as use of Bath stone ashlar, resulting in a greater visual homogeneity and harmony.
The proposed external works also include the rear of No. 8; the terrace rear is of a much more built-up and eclectic character. There are cited examples of building rears that have already been painted or rendered in the vicinity, such as No. 4. Views of the rear are constrained to close-range views from the south end of Warwick Road, and views from further north along the road are screened by adjoining terraced development. Whilst the rear of the dwelling is therefore of some public visibility, this is greatly limited and generally concealed in wider townscape views and as such is of limited significance or contribution to the conservation area.
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 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 intention of proposals is to improve the energy efficiency and thermal performance of the dwelling, where the rear of the property is already indicated to a much colder area and prone to heat loss. We are therefore supportive of proposals that seek to improve the liveable standards of this housing type and subsequently ensure its long-term continued occupation, whilst considering ventilation and the ‘breathability’ of porous Bath stone; nonetheless, we maintain the requirement for informed consideration as to why specific measures have been selected in relation to their context to demonstrate that these would appropriately complement the behavioural properties of this traditional building (ie. solid external walls in porous stone) and its appearance and character. For example, the application indicates that internal wall insulation would be considered on the internal face of the principal façade “due to the decorative stone to the front of the house”, but there is no elaboration as to whether internal wall insulation has already been considered and discounted for the rear elevation.
It is unclear what type of external insulation is proposed; the application form indicates the proposed use of a “lime render” to the walls, suggesting either an insulated lime or a lime finish applied over the top of an alternate external insulation system. We recommend this aspect of the application is further clarified, particularly in relation to the proposed thickness of insulation to be used, and its colour and finish.
There is some potential for visual impact in limited, close-range views from Warwick Road, particularly where the thicker ‘line’ of insulation would intersect with the rear elevation of the neighbouring No. 10. BPT acknowledges that ultimately these views would be very restricted and any visual impact would remain highly localised. Any resulting harm would therefore be limited, and should be appropriately balanced against demonstrated public benefits, including the improved thermal performance of the building and any associated reductions in carbon emissions and energy costs, particularly important during a cost of living crisis, and broader contributions towards the council’s net zero objectives.
The visual effect of the render could be further mitigated with further details, such as ensuring a closely matching colour and finish to better blend in with its terraced context, or the use of scoring marks to replicate an ashlar pattern. We further highlight the importance of ensuring a well-detailed finish to minimise risks such as cold bridging at external corners of the building, as well as how the proposed render system would relate to window/door openings and the roof eaves.
It is also proposed to add two additional PV panels on the south roof slope. Whilst there is a general preference for PV panels to be located away from the principal frontage (eg. side and rear elevations), there are a number of considerations in relation to the particular characteristics of the site. There are several existing examples of PV panels installed on the principal roof slopes which are relatively unobtrusive additions to the streetscape. The principal south elevation is well-enclosed by surrounding development, set back from the main road, and would be screened in wider views. The terrace features a steep roof pitch which is difficult to see from pavement level, and clear views of the roofscape are obscured along the street due to its use of dormer windows, and the hipped roofs of the projecting bay windows. We note that where this installation can be concluded to be of less than substantial harm, this would be outweighed by the benefits of on-site ‘green’ energy generation and associated reduction in carbon emissions, as well as maximising the proposed panels’ output by making use of the building’s south-facing roof slope, and resulting contributions towards B&NES Council’s Net Zero objectives. We otherwise continue to strongly recommend the use of monochromatic, frameless panels with a matte finish to ensure a non-reflective and recessive appearance in accordance with local policy. The use of a more symmetrical and visually balanced layout of panels would also be preferable.