Bathampton Manor, Mill Lane, Bathampton
Bathampton Manor is a Grade II mid- to late 17th century manor house, since converted into a nursing home, situated just outside the boundary of the Bath conservation area to the north, and the boundary of the Bathampton conservation area further to the south, and the indicative landscape setting of the Bath World Heritage Site. It is additionally located within the Green Belt. Likely based on an even earlier late 16th century building, the manor house has been subject to series of extensions and alterations from the mid-18th century onward but largely retains its 1760 principle façade, albeit with the loss of the clock tower and cupola from the central roof ridge, which now clearly demarcates the historic ‘core’ of the building including the mid- to late 18th century western extension. The building was later subject to further extension in the 19th century; by 1881, a new single storey extension was added to the eastern end, which was later replaced with a glasshouse by 1922, and a significant 2 ½ storey western extension which matched the established roof height of the building frontage was in evidence until its demolition in the 1960s. As such, the current western extension is noted as a later 20th century addition and therefore of limited architectural or historic interest, although due to its position in views of the principal façade appropriate sensitivity and care is required when considering material alterations or additions to the building.
BPT does not oppose the proposed change of use to a single, self-contained dwelling, and consider that this would constitute a return to the building’s original historic use. We emphasise the heritage benefits of securing the optimum viable use of the listed building to ensure its sustainable future occupation and associated maintenance and repair.
We welcome the associated heritage benefits of the scheme, such as the removal of the detrimental car parking hardstanding outside the southern elevation and the removal of the fire escape from the east elevation.
However, we have strong concerns regarding the absence of heritage detail regarding the condition and material significance of the building, particularly the interior which would be subject to a number of alterations. Whilst BPT does not typically comment on internal changes without the benefit of a site visit, we note that the proposed plans show potentially invasive works, such as the removal of a section of what may be the original spine wall on the ground floor and the removal of the floor at first floor level from over the ballroom.
As such, we maintain that the level of detail provided as part of this application is insufficient and is not proportionate to the asset’s importance, nor does it appropriately assess or justify the schemes’ potential impact on the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building. We strongly recommend that a comprehensive Heritage Statement is submitted that fully details the narrative history of the building and a more closely detailed phasing plan of historic fabric. A Heritage Impact Assessment is also recommended to ensure the proposed scope of works is adequately weighed against the identified significance of the building.
Further clarification is required as to which windows would be replaced with slimlite double glazed sash windows, and we strongly recommend that further joinery details and sections are provided to ensure these are of a design and profile coherent with the appearance of the listed building.
We do have some initial concerns regarding the proposed form and massing of the proposed extension. Whilst we acknowledge there is a positive opportunity to address the negative qualities of the existing extension, the proposed extension would be overly square and ‘blocky’ against the western gable end, the effect of which would be exacerbated by the use of a flat-roofed form. The visual impact of this would be most clearly experienced along the traditional gabled end of the western elevation due to the proposed large areas of rendered external walls and continuous parapet line.
We note that the existing south wall of the extension sits proud of the historic frontage at ground floor level. However, this is not considered to appropriately justify the use of a ‘set forward’ elevational treatment across the upper floors which would heighten the visual impact of the extension.
We therefore suggest consideration of an extension design that more clearly responds to its historic context and breaks up the extension’s heavy roof line which runs unbroken from the north to the south. There is also a possible consideration of an alternate fenestration treatment or design across the extension’s west elevation which would help it to read as a later addition, rather than replicating the historic façade.
Whilst BPT welcomes the opportunities offered by this scheme to bring the listed building back into use and address detrimental later additions, ultimately we are unable to support this application without the submission of an appropriately detailed Heritage Statement and an adequate assessment and justification of the works proposed balanced against potential impact to a listed building. As such, this application is contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, CP6, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan.