Charters, 43 Upper Oldfield Park, Bath
The proposed site of development is at 43 Upper Oldfield Park, to the rear of the Charters building that was built in 2015. The site is situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site, and is adjacent to a series of Victorian terraces along Junction Road.
In principle, BPT is supportive of the provision of additional, much-needed family housing within Bath. We are pleased to see that the intended residents of this development are no longer students, as we feel that there is already a surplus of student accommodation in Bath, and that this housing type is not in-keeping with the social grain of Oldfield Park. We are additionally supportive of the reduced residential density of the site.
The Trust does not object to the proposed design approach. We feel that it follows an existing precedent to the rear of Norland College, although there has been a missed opportunity to submit a design inspired by the adjacent Victorian terraces.
However, we do have concerns about the proposed intersection of the front elevation of the building with the existing Bath stone ashlar boundary wall; no information is provided with this application as to how this intersection will impact on the material and visual integrity of the wall, despite it being recognised as positively contributing to the character of the conservation area.
We would ultimately conclude that the current application is very similar in size and massing to application 18/02330/FUL that was refused on the grounds of the overdevelopment of the site, discordance with local texture, and the loss of landscaping to the rear of Charters. We feel that this scheme, whilst set slightly further back from the roadside, retains an oversized footprint and dense grouping to the east side of the plot that is of detriment to the characteristic ‘openness’ of the plot size, and the relationship between the Charters building and its landscape context.
Notably, this development is contrary to Conditions 3 and 4 of the approved Charters scheme (see application 15/02931/FUL) in which landscaping details were required within 6 months of the permission, and landscaping works should have been conducted within 12 months of the permission, “to ensure the provision of an appropriate landscape setting to the development”. The portion of land to the rear of Charters was encompassed within these Conditions; consequently, the proposed dwelling is contrary to the agreed open landscape setting of Charters, and will instead segment the site to the visual detriment of the conservation area.
The Trust would additionally question the proposed, excessive scale of the two-storey garage; we would emphasise our concerns that this standalone building poses a risk of future conversion to residential usage in future which would further intensify the plot’s usage. We would recommend that the size of the garage is reconsidered and reduced to one storey, or that a Condition is attached to this application preventing a future Change of Use.
Therefore BPT maintains that this application constitutes an overdevelopment of the site which will harm the open contextual setting of the Charters building, and the wider special character of the Bath conservation area. Furthermore, it is in breach of Conditions 3 and 4 that were attached to the original Charters permission. This application is consequently contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 187A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Section 12 and 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D3, D4, D7, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be refused or withdrawn.