9 Mount Beacon, Beacon Hill, Bath
9 Mount Beacon forms part of a Grade II section of early 19th century residential dwellings, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The terrace features an eclectic mix of building heights, profiles, and materials; it features an unusual mix of dwellings with Bath stone ashlar or rubble stone facades. 9 Mount Beacon forms one of a terraced pair of four storey dwellings with a rubble stone façade, as well as the late 19th century addition of canted two-storey bay windows across the shared principal elevation.
The proposed focus of works is to the rear elevation fronting onto Richmond Lane. The lane is characterised as part of the backland setting of the high concentration of early 19th century Grade II dwellings at Mount Beacon, as well as the adjoining Grade II terrace at Richmond Hill. Examples of historic outbuildings that front the lane survive at 2-3 Mount Beacon, now converted to residential use. There are several examples of residential development that front onto the northern end of the lane, but it must be noted that these are attributed to the mid- to late 20th century, and are somewhat at odds with the lower density and backland characteristics of Richmond Lane. The historic streetscape is otherwise defined by the largely unbroken extent of coursed rubble stone wall to the east, defining the boundary line of the gardens at Mount Beacon, and the low cock ‘n’ hen capped wall to the west that delineates the edge of Richmond Hill Allotments.
The section of wall to the rear of 9 Mount Beacon, whilst heavily obscured with vegetation growth, therefore forms part of a coherent boundary and streetscape treatment within this part of the conservation area. It is further a surviving remainder of 9 Mount Beacon’s original boundary wall, now almost entirely lost, that incorporated its historic garden setting (now occupied by St Stephen’s House). As such, it is considered to be curtilage Grade II listed.
The boundary wall as existing is significantly overgrown, and has been for a number of years (see Google Street View, 2009). However, in accordance with paragraph 196 of the NPPF, “where there is evidence of deliberate neglect of, or damage to, a heritage asset, the deteriorated state of the heritage asset should not be taken into account in any decision.”
It is further noted that the existing “dilapidated” outbuilding can be attributed to the mid-late 19th century; a building of a matching footprint and location is present in the 1844-1888 OS. However, there is no further assessment of the potential historical significance of this structure as part of this application, despite it falling within the building’s Grade II curtilage.
There are several examples of rear garages that front onto Richmond Lane. The garages at 7-8 Mount Beacon are attributed to the 1970s; at 8 Mount Beacon, listed building consent was granted consent in 2014 to have one of the garages removed (14/04658/LBA). It was concluded by the case officer that “unsympathetic alterations that appear to originate from the late 20th century have resulted in harm and a loss of historic fabric.” The previous garage at 4 Mount Beacon (removed post-2004) did not appear to have planning permission, unless it was incorporated into general 1950s refurbishment works. Considering existing acknowledgement of the harm resulting from these 20th century interventions, it can be concluded that these garages are detrimental features within the streetscape and are not considered a suitable precedent.
We acknowledge the proposed benefits of the provision of off-street EV charging. However, we emphasise that this must be weighed proportionately against the creation of a new access point and the resulting loss of a large section of boundary wall and associated historic fabric, with adverse impact on the setting of a listed building and the established, historic character and appearance of the Bath conservation area. As yet, there is insufficient consideration of this planning balance as part of this application and how the proposed harm would be appropriately outweighed, in accordance with Section 16 of the NPPF and local Policies BD1 and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan.