92 London Road West, Lower Swainswick, Bath
92 London Road West is an unlisted residential dwelling alongside the main arterial route into Bath city centre. It is situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site, and is included within B&NES’ 2018 Draft SPD on Locally Listed Heritage Assets as a positive example of vernacular design along London Road. Consequently, it is deemed to be a Non-Designated Heritage Asset (NDHA) that positively contributes to Bath’s peripheral streetscape through its highly visible use of coursed rubble masonry and clay pantile roof tiles in both the central building and its single storey western extension. It is indicated that it could date to the late 18th century, although its current plan form is more likely attributed to the mid-19th century when the site was being used as the Batheaston nurseries.
Whilst punctuated by the A4, the area is identified as “rural with open character” (Bath City Wide Character Appraisal, 2005). The plan form is of a middling density, with a large number of detached and semi-detached dwellings set back from the road in generous private gardens and with development frequently punctuated by wooded and pastoral land. New development in the area, such as Hicks Field to the south, largely conforms to this established grain.
The Trust previously objected to refused applications 19/05124/FUL & 19/04529/FUL on grounds of unjustified harm to a NDHA and the Bath conservation area.
We note that this proposal is remains largely unchanged from refused application 19/04529/FUL aside from the following amendments:
- Two new windows in the street-facing boundary wall in existing blocked-up openings.
- Retention of existing chimney stacks.
- Improved fenestration on the southern elevation.
Therefore, the Trust maintains the proposals would be harmful to the architectural and historic interest of a NDHA and would neither preserve nor enhance the appearance or character of the conservation area. We consider that the proposed additional extensions to the east and west of the central building would result in the loss of the readability of the main building body and would drastically increase the building’s visible massing. Part of the vernacular character and charm of the building is its varied appearance in which the layered history of changes and alterations to the property are visible both materially and cartographically as early as the late 19th century, over the tops of which wider landscape views to the south can be glimpsed. Consequently, we reiterate that the proposed changes would overwrite the visual narrative of the extant building, and enforce a singular, uniform appearance which would harm and overwhelm the historic and aesthetic significance of a NDHA and its ancillary infrastructure such as its north-facing boundary wall.
We maintain the use of render is not appropriate on principal elevations that are visually prominent within the conservation area due to its sharp contrast with the softer natural colour and material palette of Bath stone.
We continue to object to the proposed use of uPVC windows within a NDHA and the conservation area due to their associated visual harm to the area.
The scale of harm proposed to the NDHA remains unjustified by the proposal, and we maintain that the dwelling could be more sensitively adapted to provide a single family home without the need for excessive expansion.
Furthermore, we feel that these changes would be of direct detriment to the existing special character and appearance of the Bath conservation area. The current varied roofline of the dwelling follows the natural line of the boundary wall, resulting in a building that appears low-density and ‘organic’ in its construction that does not overshadow the roadside. Consequently, the unification of the roofline through the erection of first floor extensions to the east and west of the central building would result in a dominant, high-mass façade that would overshadow the streetscape. Roadside development within this area of the conservation area is broken up into detached and semi-detached dwellings set back from the road, with the 20th century bungalows to the south-west sitting significantly lower so that wider hillside views are visible over their roof ridges. Housing follows the sloping topography and presents a more fragmented, spacious streetscape indicative of Bath’s residential peripheries. Within this context, the development proposes the intensification of 92 London Road East’s street-facing elevation and is consequently at odds with the prevailing appearance and character of the conservation area.
We note this application has been submitted alongside additional applications 21/01012/FUL & 21/01010/FUL for the residential redevelopment of the old stable/coach house and two new dwellings on the garden site to the south. Considering 92 London Road East’s historic connection with the Batheaston nurseries, we are concerned that the dwelling could be completely cut off from its garden context. We additionally note that the proposed two dwellings in the NDHA would have no private garden amenity space as this would be given over to extensive hard landscaping and car parking, and would therefore be detrimental to the residential amenity of future occupiers contrary to Policy D6 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan.
Therefore, this application is of direct detriment to the appearance and interpretation of a NDHA, and would not preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the Bath conservation area, with no suitable provision of justification or evidence for the need to expand the existing building. This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, D1, D2, D4, D5, D6, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan and should be refused or withdrawn.