80 Newbridge Hill, Newbridge, Bath
80 Newbridge Hill is an unlisted early 20th century semi-detached dwelling situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The proposed site of development is located to the rear in 80 Newbridge Hill’s historic garden setting, since developed into a series of garages, that sits just outside of the Bath conservation area boundary. The area is set back from the roadside of Newbridge Hill and has a distinctly low-rise, backland character made up of garages, private gardens, and the addition of late 20th/early 21st century bungalows. The area relatively high density with a mix of terraced and semi-detached Victorian and Edwardian housing, but these retain good-sized rear strip gardens as well as walled front gardens that set development back from the pavement edge – in some cases these front gardens have later been given over to provide off-street parking.
Whilst the existing footprint of the garages lies just outside of the conservation area boundary, part of the site is located within the conservation area which would be affected by the proposed development. By virtue of this, and the garage’s tight proximity to the edge of the conservation area, we consider that this development needs to be considered in relation to whether it preserves and enhances the character and appearance of the Bath conservation area, as well as local townscape character.
In principle, this application offers a positive opportunity for the redevelopment of the garages, which are currently a neutral contributor to the appearance of the area or local character. This is an opportunity for the enhancement of backland character.
In this case, development would be expected to align with the low-profile and visually open grain of the area, whilst remaining appropriately recessive to the ‘primary’ residential development facing onto the road.
The principle of an energy efficient design is welcomed, but we emphasise that emission mitigation measures and microrenewables should be designed holistically into the building as part of a ‘whole home’ approach, alongside consideration of embodied carbon. We are keen to see this integrated as part of the overall design to ensure this is carried through into the delivery phase.
However, we have strong concerns regarding the proposed scale of development on this site and how this would impact existing and future residential amenity, and the character and appearance of the area.
We note that the D&A Statement as provided does not appropriately assess or justify the proposed impact of development on the surrounding area, contrary to Policy BD1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan. The proposed scale and form of development should be evidenced in relation to the Bath design values, and how this will positively respond and contribute to the character of Bath.
We maintain that the site is of an inadequate scale to provide the proposed three studios, and the proposed density of development would therefore constitute overdevelopment of the site. The proposed development would result in a significant extension of built form across the site in comparison to the existing garages, and would not allow for adequate set back from adjacent properties to the north and south. In particular, “Studio Jack” would push up closely against the rear of 80 Newbridge Hill; as a result, this property would become increasingly ‘landlocked’ and cut off from its garden context.
There are some concerns regarding the proposed residential amenity of the future occupiers of this development. “Studio Liz” is proposed with only two windows, one of which would face directly onto the car park, and the other would face onto the gable wall of the adjacent garage. We maintain that development in this area should be well-spaced and appropriately scaled to provide quality accommodation with appropriate amenity (access to natural light, passive ventilation, etc.).
We consider that the development would result in the loss of valuable garden space associated with 80 Newbridge Hill, and would therefore have an adverse impact on existing residential amenity. Whilst the current residential use of the property is unclear, it is indicated that it was used as an 11-person HMO in 2017 (see 17/02900/FUL) and was available for student let in 2021. The development of the rear space, combined with the conversion of the front garden to vehicle hardstanding, would result in the near-entire loss of 80 Newbridge Hill’s outdoor private amenity space. The retained outdoor space would be insufficient to meet the needs of 11 residents.
The development proposes a permanent subdivision of the site and loss of garden space, which would be of adverse impact to existing residents as well as precluding the possible change of use of the property back to a family dwelling in future.
We additionally have concerns regarding the proposed conversion of the front garden to off-street parking. We acknowledge that there are precedents for this type of conversion along Newbridge Hill, but maintain that further loss of front gardens and increased pressure on traditional boundary walls for new vehicle access points would result in further cumulative harm to the appearance and character of the conservation area. The demand for new parking space is further indicative of the development ‘squeeze’ on this site. The proposed vehicle access point in the western boundary wall appears awkward and would be a tight access point at the junction of Newbridge Hill and May Lane; we trust that appropriate comments will be sought from Highways.
We therefore maintain that a development of this scale would be out of keeping with the local area and would not preserve or enhance the appearance or character of the conservation area. A development of reduced size (2 studios) may be considered more acceptable where this would improve the relationship with 80 Newbridge Road.