Bailbrook House Hotel, Eveleigh Avenue, Lower Swainswick
Bailbrook House Hotel is a Grade II* Georgian mansion house situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site.
BPT appreciates the necessity for suitable, sensitive change based upon the improved utility and function of listed buildings. The provision of a sheltered walkway between the two hotel blocks would be significantly more functional with regards to visitor comfort and the flow of usable interior space. The use of glass follows a recommended ‘light touch’ approach by enabling the readability of the listed building to be retained separately from its modern, standalone extension.
However, we have concerns regarding some aspects of the scheme. Information regarding how this new structure will be fixed to the existing Grade II* exterior seems to indicate the installation of support brackets into the historic stone, and therefore little consideration is demonstrated for this visible loss of historic fabric. The Trust requests that the consideration of other, less invasive options such as a ground-mounted extension needs to be publicly documented before this current design can be justified. The use of historic change on the site as a precedent to rationalise further development is inappropriate, and lacks the necessary understanding of how the scheme will impact the current material significance of the Grade II* Bailbrook House Hotel.
Furthermore, the proposed Details to the Roof Junction included in the application has led us to believe that this design includes a running unsealed gap between the glass roof and existing supporting wall. Whilst this gap does minimise the amount of historic fabric damaged, it does maintain this new structure as a strictly outdoor space open to some water and cold air ingress. We are concerned that this structure will not be sustainable, and will therefore require either alteration or replacement within the short term, consequently causing further and unnecessary irreversible damage to a Grade II* listed building. We would therefore require that further information be supplied to supplement the justification for this specific design, and any necessary clarification of the current design plans.
Therefore, BPT feels that this is a missed opportunity for a higher-quality, imaginative addition to the existing building. We feel that the explanation for the current design is insufficient, and are concerned about the proposed irreversible loss of external historic fabric that will consequently impact the façade of a listed building. In accordance with the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, section 16 of the NPPF, and Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan Policies CP6, D1-D5, and HE1, the Trust asks that a more thorough application is submitted with the evidenced consultation of alternative, more materially-sensitive designs.