Bath Orthodontics, Waterside Court, Sydney Road, Bathwick, Bath
Bath Orthodontics is a late 20th century building, situated within the Bath City-Wide Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. Via its north-east corner, the building abuts the 20th century western wing of Cleveland House, a Grade II* early 19th century house by John Pinch. The building retains a prominent, 5-bay presence on Sydney Road, from which the Bath Orthodontics building is set well back as a recessive, later addition in scale, height, and form. The building also forms part of the wider setting of the Grade II Kennet House to the west, a mid-19th century detached house, attributed a later Gothic influence which is a somewhat unusual addition to the streetscape. Currently, views of the roofscape of Kennet House are retained over the top of the Orthodontics building, as perceived in views slightly further east along Sydney Road.
It is noted that planning application 13/04621/FUL was previously granted permission for works to extend the height of the drive-through section to two storeys in a Classical-inspired design.
Whilst Bath Orthodontics is of a low historic or architectural significance, being a much later 20th century addition, the building does have some merits regarding its existing low height (reading as a flat-roofed 1 ½ storey structure), recessed position, and otherwise subservient character in relation to the wider setting of multiple listed buildings.
We therefore have concerns regarding the proposed increase in height of the proposed drive-through to two storeys, and the resulting adverse impact on the setting of multiple heritage assets.
The increased height of the drive-through would be an uncomfortable addition, due to its increased height in comparison with the existing Orthodontics building. Where the existing building remains a low-profile and recessive addition, the step up of the roof height combined with the use of Classical-style detailing such as the introduction of a running cornice would result in a more competitive scale and form to the detriment of the setting of a listed building. The increase in height would further restrict through views of Kennet House from Sydney Road. We maintain that any height increase should be restricted to the established roof height of the Orthodontics building. Proposals may benefit from a simpler, stripped back design to maintain a recessive, subsidiary appearance in relation to the main building.
There are general concerns regarding the impact of the cumulative build-up of the site on the setting of a Grade II* building, originally designed to be a detached villa-style house with an interconnected relationship with the K&A Canal and its rural setting. The building’s form and setting has already been interrupted with the further addition of layers of extensions to the west; where the existing drive-through extension drops away as part of the east-west gradient along Sydney Road, it sits unobtrusively back from the streetscape. A proposed increase in height would result in a stark increase in bulk and massing, present in wider-range views of the listed building along Sydney Road, and would cumulatively increase the built form imposing on the setting and associated special interest of the listed building, and its contribution to the conservation area and World Heritage Site.