9 Belgrave Terrace, Camden Road, Beacon Hill, Bath
9 Belgrave Terrace forms part of a Grade II late 19th century terrace of townhouses situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The terrace forms an unusual gable ended two bay façade in Bath stone ashlar along Camden Road with arched window and door openings. It presents a grandiose three storey principal elevation, whilst the rear elevation drops to four storeys to follow the steep topographical slope towards London Road; the rear elevation therefore remains visually significant from Belgrave Crescent, and retains a fairly formal articulation in Bath stone ashlar. Along Camden Road, the terrace retains a fairly uniform boundary treatment with small set-back garden spaces within low stone ashlar boundary walls and inset hooped metal railings, and a small lightwell for the lower ground floor level. At some properties, this has been altered to provide an external stepped access to the lower ground floor.
We maintain that vaults have historically been used as ancillary spaces to the main house, and therefore similarly ancillary uses such as storage and a utility are considered acceptable, although this remains dependent on the impact of historic fabric through the potential fitting of new services, etc.
We maintain some concerns regarding the proposed extension of the WC further into the vault space and the resulting increased pressure on the vaults to cope with higher levels of humidity and dampness. We do not consider that this impact has been adequately assessed as part of this application.
We additionally maintain some concerns regarding the proposed glazed cover over the lightwell. Further details and sections are required to better detail how the glazing would be fixed to the historic stonework. Whilst we acknowledge the use of recessed glazing as a ‘light touch’ approach intended to mitigate visual harm, we remain wary about the introduction of a material covering over an architectural feature of a historically ‘open’ appearance and character. Considering the continuity of exposed lightwells across the terrace frontage, the introduction of a covering here would have some visual impact with regards to the terrace’s visual homogeneity and uniformity, and could set a precedent.
In relation to this aspect of proposals, we refer to appeal decision APP/F0114/Y/21/3274464 with consideration of visual impact to the listed building and conservation area, as well as practical considerations regarding the closing off of natural ventilation and possible exacerbation of damp issues.
The Heritage Statement states that “Within the last 10 years, the vaults have been tanked with a cementitious system. Both vaults have a concrete floor, which was likely to have been implemented when the tanking was installed.” However, there does not appear to be a relevant listed building consent associated with the alterations that have been made to the vaults. Planning applications prior to 1996 detail the permitted construction of garages to the rear and the demolition of a timber staircase. As such it is suggested that these works are likely unauthorised. We do not consider that this application should be considered adequate to regularise the tanking works and we maintain that we are unsupportive of cementitious tanking measures where this results in irreversible harm to historic fabric.