Cedar Park Care Centre, 27-28 Oldfield Road, Oldfield Park

Internal and external alterations for the erection of a single and two storey extension to the south following demolition of the existing extension and link staircase, minor internal and external…
Our Response

This application relates to the Cedar Park Care Centre, situated at the corner of Oldfield Road and Oldfield Lane within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site. The site comprises of 27-28 Oldfield Road, a pair of Grade II semi-detached Victorian Italianate villas characteristic of the architectural form and texture along Oldfield Road, and contemporary to several other Grade II Victorian villas within its immediate streetscape setting such as Oldfield Villa and 31 Oldfield Road. The boundary wall and gate piers along the Oldfield Lane access, whilst ancillary to the appearance, layout, function, and age of 27-28 Oldfield Park as St Catherine’s Nursing Home, are individually listed as Grade II. 27-28 Oldfield Road are documented as ‘notable buildings’ within the Bear Flat and Oldfield Park CACA “as a particularly fine example of the houses of the period” whilst contributing towards the distinctive, concentrated architectural palette of large, ornate Victorian villas within this region of the conservation area. Whilst the north elevation functions as the primary façade looking onto Oldfield Road, the gradual east-west slope of the site has elevated the position of the site looking down over King Edward Road; therefore, the exposure and gradient of the west elevation should be accounted for with regards to the proposed visual changes to the setting of a listed building, and a prominent visual feature at the entrance to the Bath conservation area.

This application, whilst proposing some minor changes in design, materiality, and layout, has not demonstrated an acceptable change in height, scale, massing, or volume in accordance with the previous reasons for refusal given in response to applications 17/1542/FUL & 17/01543/LBA or 15/04344/FUL & 15/04345/LBA. In the Decision Notice of both applications, the primary reason for refusal was given as:

“The proposed development due to its scale, design and location is considered to result in the overdevelopment of the site to the detriment of the character and setting of the listed building and the character and appearance of this part of the Conservation Area.”

Therefore, from further consideration of the most recent iteration of the scheme, the Trust is surprised to see that this proposal has increased the volume and density of on-site development in comparison with its predecessors. In 2015, a GIA net increase of 905.4m2 was proposed; this increased to 981.2m2 in 2017, and the current proposal now intends a GIA net increase of 1031m2, despite an overall decrease in capacity by two bedspaces. In conjunction with this, we note the significant growth in scale and density of the proposed southernmost wing of the development, which appears to be roughly double the size of the existing Orchard Wing as seen in the Floor Plans and Site Plans provided.

Furthermore, whilst both the 2015 and 2017 applications proposed to situate the main bulk of the south wing towards the eastern boundary, recessed back from Oldfield Lane behind the existing two-storey Orchard Wing, the current proposal sits up against Oldfield Lane on the same alignment as the existing Orchard Wing, but with a significant increase in width and bulk, which would therefore result in a more imposing, dominant overlook over the narrow Oldfield Lane and out onto sloping mid-range views across King Edward Road and towards Monksdale Road, and is distinctly visible from public spaces such as Monksdale Road cycle path bridge due to its height, massing, and incongruous profile. Whilst there is a surprising absence of context elevations taken from along Oldfield Lane, the Illustrative Views provided arguably demonstrates the potential ‘canyoning’ or overshadowing impact felt along Oldfield Lane, with visual detriment to a well-used southern approach to the entrance of the conservation area from Monksdale Road, as well as part of the streetscape setting of a listed building and its ancillary boundary walls.

The proposed interface with the south elevation of 27-28 Oldfield Park remains oversized and directly challenges the architectural prominence of a listed building. Significant, historic villa characteristics include its substantial size and spacious garden setting, set back from the roadside and suitably buffered from neighbouring dwellings in a suburban replication of ‘country living’. Whilst there is already a precedent for development on the site, the existing single storey link (whilst of a poor design) is subservient in its low height, recessed position, and slim width. In marked contrast, the insertion of a two storey link imposes on the visual prominence of the villa and is visible n mid-range public views rather than sitting below the boundary wall as existing. The proposed development would therefore result in direct detriment to the setting of a listed building which remains integral to its architectural and evidential significance, and would create an awkward visual imposition in which the clear aesthetic dominance of the villa would be challenged.

Consequently, the Trust maintains that this application has not made any changes which significantly address the previous concerns with superseded iterations of the scheme, and therefore we would conclude that this application continues to propose the overdevelopment of the site and substantial harm to a listed building with no suitable demonstration of public benefit. Despite claims in the Planning and Listed Building Statement, no viability statement has been submitted as part of this application, without which the LPA cannot properly assess whether harm is outweighed by substantial public benefit in accordance with paragraph 195 of the NPPF. Whilst we appreciate the need for updated, improved care facilities on-site, this is not adequate justification for unsympathetic design, height, or massing at the consequent detriment to the character and appearance of the conservation area, special architectural and historic interest of a listed building, and special qualities of the World Heritage Site.

As part of the Delegated Report in 2017, the officer noted that:

“The submitted scheme is considered to represent overdevelopment which would detract from the character and appearance of the building itself and that of the wider Conservation Area by virtue of its visibility from public views. The proposed scale and built form of the extension would have an overly dominant relationship with the host dwelling and would be unsympathetic and disrespectful to the listed building.”

We see no evidence that the current application has suitably addressed any of these concerns, and consequently we maintain that this application would continue to pose unmitigated harm to the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building, and would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area, and is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, B4, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D3, D5, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be refused or withdrawn.

Application Number: 20/02818/LBA
Application Date: 05/08/2020
Closing Date: 04/09/2020
Address: Cedar Park Care Centre, 27-28 Oldfield Road, Oldfield Park
Our Submission Status: Object