Beckford Lodge, Lansdown Road, Lansdown, Bath
Beckford Lodge is an unlisted mid- to late 19th century semi-detached residential villa situated within the Bath World Heritage Site. Whilst Beckford Lodge is located just outside of the Bath conservation area boundary, the boundary line aligns with the retaining wall of Beckford Lodge, along the inside line of the pavement. Considering this overlap with the conservation area boundary line, as well as the positive, publicly visible contribution this retaining wall makes to this area of the conservation area, the wall is therefore considered to fall within the conservation area and therefore its treatment/management is expected to preserve and enhance the established character and appearance of the area. The streetscape is strongly characterised by a prevalence of retaining walls in coursed rubble stone, to which Beckford Lodge’s rubble stone retaining wall positively contributes, and encapsulates the lower density, semi-rural character of the streetscape as Lansdown Road runs up to the north and into Bath’s peripheral landscape setting.
The removal of the top layer of the stone boundary wall and instatement of metal railings would therefore drastically change the appearance of Beckford Lodge and its contribution to the established character and appearance of the conservation area. No evidence is provided as part of the application to adequately demonstrate that the wall was historically lower, and this does not account for the wall’s current height and associated, positive contribution to the conservation area as existing. The proposed boundary treatment would therefore be out of character with the established appearance of the area and would not preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area. The proposed harm has failed to be demonstratively outweighed by significant public benefit.
We have some concerns regarding the proposed demolition of the outbuilding, which appears to be contemporary to Beckford’s Lodge and forms part of the boundary treatment through its attached gable end. There is an absent of sufficient detail regarding the current structure, or justification as to why it cannot be retained.
We are concerned that the demotion of the unusual historic gate pillars from the main access to the property, to a new, visually secondary pedestrian access would be detrimental to the historic layout and streetscape appearance of Beckford Lodge. We highlight that the pillars are of a localised style to this area of the conservation area, forming one half of a historic pair; the gateposts (now used by the late 20th century dwelling Hermitage Lodge) formally served what is now Nash House, and have remained in situ as the primary vehicular access to Hermitage Lodge, echoing their original historic function. Similar gate piers have been recreated to match for the neighbouring 20th century dwelling at Wyvern Lodge. The relocation of the gate piers to the side pedestrian access would therefore disturb the established rhythm and balance of the streetscape and would result in the loss of the original access to a grand villa house. The creation of a secondary access would result in further loss of historic fabric.
This application would not preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area and would therefore be contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D3, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be refused or withdrawn.