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.
This application specifically focuses on the outbuilding to the south of 92 London Road West, bordering the vehicle access to the Avon Rugby Football Club. It is suggested to have originally functioned as a coach house or stable and likely dates to the mid-19th century. It is clearly visible from London Road and is recessive in its height, massing, and setback position to the main dwelling, and features in wider landscape views out to the south across Bathampton. The structure is responsive to its steeply sloped setting and drops a storey to the south with the garden. The outbuilding is also considered to constitute a NDHA.
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 welcome the opportunity to bring this heritage asset into a more sustainable use appropriate to its conservation. However, we note the following concerns regarding the scale and design of the proposals:
There are no existing and proposed northern elevations of the outbuilding provided as part of the application. We strongly recommend these are suggested to enable a full assessment of the proposed material changes to the building, as currently the documentation is incomplete.
We do have concerns regarding the scale of development, with a visual increase of a storey on the roadside and two storeys to the south. The outbuilding has remained modest in appearance and scale in relation to 92 London Road West, and this reflects its ancillary historic use by the main dwelling. We therefore feel that the scale of development would result in a conflicting relationship with the main detached building, where it has previously been visually recessive in accordance with its ancillary function, with resulting visual impact to the conservation area.
The proposed extent of redevelopment is inappropriate, and it is unclear as to what areas of the building may be demolished or significantly altered, such as to raise the overall height of the roof ridge. The proposed infill to the south would add two storeys to the building with an excess of glazing across the south elevation on landscape views out towards Bathampton and Bathampton Down, out of character with the established non-domestic appearance and character of the building. This would drastically change the building’s retained historic plan form and profile and would visually ‘double’ the building in scale and massing.
We maintain concerns regarding the proposed extent of glazing (see also application 21/01012/FUL), and feel this would be detrimental in wider landscape views due to significant amounts of light spill and sun glare. We feel the lack of information provided as to how this new development would impact existing views and the landscape setting of the World Heritage Site is unsatisfactory, with landscape concerns being largely restricted to immediate views across the site and from the roadside. We suggest relevant documentation such as a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment would be needed to inform design based on the site’s position and visibility within wider landscape views.
We are further resistant to the addition of pastiche ‘barn’ features, such as the projecting gable on the west elevation, which do not accord with the building’s historic appearance or function and instead completely obscure the building’s original, modest form.
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.
In its current form, whilst this application proposes to bring a NDHA back into beneficial use, the current design proposals are inappropriate and would erode the modest appearance and character of a NDHA, rather than working to preserve and enhance the coach house characteristics and material vernacular that are of recognised local value. The considerable increase in scale and consequent visual conflict with the NDHA 92 London Road West would not preserve or enhance the conservation area. 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, HE1, and NE2 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan and should be refused or withdrawn.