Basement, 3 Raby Place, Bathwick, Bath
BPT maintains an in-principle position that Bath’s vaults and cellars are not suited to direct habitable use or areas of intensive residential use (eg. bedrooms, bathrooms) due to their poorly-lit and ventilated character and limited ability to accommodate for modern standards of comfort. We therefore continue to recommend that vaults are used as ancillary and subservient spaces to the main house, in keeping with their historic ‘utilitarian’ function.
The principle of use of the northernmost vault as a utility is therefore acceptable as a secondary use of the space, where this is coupled with appropriately sensitive and non-intrusive material works to the space (ie. cleaning and repair of the existing stonework, as proposed).
We recommend further information is supplied regarding the proposed re-laying of the pennant floor over a new limecrete base. We recommend general best practice in relation to the proposed works, including the creation of a photographic record of the floor before any slabs are lifted and the numbering of slabs to ensure that these are re-laid in the same position.
Part of the proposals includes the removal of the existing infill stone wall from the north-eastern face of the vault to be replaced with a “half height ashlar stone wall” and glazing (including a casement window). We acknowledge the proposed benefits including improved natural ventilation to the vaulted space, but we have some concerns regarding the lack of information about the age or provenance of the section of wall to be removed. We therefore recommend further details are provided to better establish the degree of impact works may have on historic fabric that can then be assessed against the proposed benefits.