Chandos House, 27 – 28 Westgate Buildings, City Centre, Bath
The proposed site of tree works is the area of green landscaping between Abbey Church House and 22 Westgate Buildings, situated within the Bath City-Wide Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. The site itself is a Scheduled Monument due to its close proximity to the Roman Baths and the location of the Beau Street Hoard discovery in 2007. The site was previously occupied by a pre-war two-storey commercial building that was almost completely destroyed by war damage in 1942; it has since been left undeveloped, and has formed a positive green contribution to this area of public realm along St James’s Parade.
(As submitted, the application appears to be incorrectly attributed to 27-28 Westgate Buildings, and as such does not appear on the planning portal in association with previous proposals for the development of the site.)
The site has previously been the subject of proposals for a proposed infill two-storey office space (see application 20/01063/FUL). As part of the Delegated Report, the case officer summarised that “this area of land forms a small green gap between listed buildings that makes a positive contribution to the character of the street scene and conservation area”, and is considered to be “an established green area” with no apparent trace of former pre-Blitz development.
It is proposed to remove the existing tree from the site “to facilitate archaeological investigation of area”. Whilst BPT does not oppose the removal of the tree where it can be demonstrated that this would be necessary as part of the archaeological excavation of the site, we emphasise the site’s established presence in the streetscape as a green pocket that positively breaks up the otherwise urban form and hard landscaped qualities of the area. It is emphasised that the site should be retained as a green space post-archaeological investigations, and the removal of the existing tree should not be considered adequate justification for any potential future attempts to develop the site.
Where compatible with retaining any layers of archaeology in situ, we encourage the planting of a suitable replacement specimen once the investigation works have been completed.