9 Abbey View, Widcombe, Bath
9 Abbey View forms part of a terraced group of Grade II mid-19th century houses at 1-9 Abbey View, situated within the Bath Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. The terrace forms part of the grouped setting of other adjoining Grade II dwellings of the same date to the north and south including 10 Abbey View and Abbey View House. The terrace consists of a modest two storey stepped frontage in Bath stone ashlar, running along the north-south slope with an accompanying raised pavement which is a later 20th century addition. The terrace retains a strong sense of aesthetic unity and homogeneity, with the exceptions of Nos. 1 & 2 which incorporate corniced sash window openings at ground floor level rather than a canted bay window as displayed further along the terrace. A consistent window fenestration has been sustained, utilising single pane single glazed timber sash windows with horns, although there are one or two exceptions of incongruous modern interventions to the bay windows at ground floor.
In response to the Climate Emergency, BPT is supportive of the principle of retrofit measures where these sustain heritage significance or respond to the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building; alterations are expected to be visually coherent with the character of the building, the shared group value of the Grade II terrace, and the broader character and appearance of the conservation area.
We acknowledge that the existing windows proposed for replacement are non-historic in origin (indicated to be post-2000s replacements of earlier uPVC units) and are in a poor condition, necessitating replacement.
This therefore offers a positive opportunity for the implementation of energy-efficient retrofits without the loss of historic fabric, resulting in identified public benefits such as the improved thermal performance of the building and its ongoing sustainable occupation as a fit-for-use dwelling, potential reduction in energy and heat loss, and a broader contribution towards the council’s net zero objectives. When considering energy efficiency retrofits, we encourage these to be considered as part of a holistic ‘whole house’ approach that takes into account a range of potential measures, including behaviour change and improved insulation and how these would work together to secure optimum energy savings.
Window replacements should be of an appropriate design, thickness, and finish to ensure proposals would reinforce and sustain the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building, and the wider character and appearance of the conservation area.
We therefore have concerns regarding the proposed insertion of ‘standard’ 24mm double glazing without appropriate consideration or assessment of the potential detriment to the appearance or significance of a listed building. These are typically not as sympathetic to the character of a listed building due to their chunkier profile and ‘double reflection’. The proposed windows appear to be a standardised specification and are not tailored to the specific architectural interest of the Grade II building and its wider terraced setting. The frames appear from the proposed drawings to be much thicker in profile, although this is as yet unclear due to a lack of measurements of either the existing or proposed windows. We therefore do not consider this to be an acceptable approach to the principal elevation of the building, which is clearly visible within the local street scene. We therefore strongly recommend the consideration of a slimmer profile 14mm glazing as a more sensitive alternative.
The D&A Statement indicates that “a large proportion of the properties on the opposite side of the road to our property have replaced their windows with PVCu modern window designs, these properties also fall within the conservation area”; this is not a relevant consideration when assessing works to a listed building.
Whilst we are strongly supportive of the opportunity to install more thermally efficient glazing, the use of standardised double glazing is not appropriate within this context and a slimmer profile alternative is recommended instead. Alternative glazing suppliers may be consulted to find alternative options to appropriately balance limited less than substantial harm to a listed building against the potential public benefit.
BPT is very interested in working with the applicant to reach an acceptable solution.