Comfortable Place, Kingsmead, Bath
We have reviewed the revisions to this scheme and acknowledge that some work has been done to address widespread concerns regarding elements of the scheme. In particular slightly moving the built form and parking away from Onega Terrace (and additional tree planting) goes some way to relieve the overbearing character of this scheme on the local townscape, but we feel there is still harm from the heavy monolithic footprint of the building. The submission of LVIA’s with photomontages is welcome and we note there are some design changes including the rationalisation of fenestration on the south elevation and the revised roof storey on the west elevation.
In our view however we do not feel these changes go far enough to allow this development to assimilate comfortably within the distinctive grain of the local townscape or the conservation area and WHS (for detail on this refer to our previous submission). It is of a scale and massing that is still dominant and jarring with local character. The combined use of a mansard roof turning into a step back roof form is clumsy and of poor quality design. The large expanse of grey flat roof will be harmful in long views (see Southgate from Alexandra Park) and the material of the sloping roof element of the west elevation should be rethought as the expanse of grey is again blank and intrusive in views. There is a predominance of grey cladding in the eastern balconied portion of the south elevation, this should be replaced with a different material such as Bath stone or even a high quality timber cladding to reference the approved application adjacent and to make a visual transition to this scheme. The ground floor elevations are still inadequate in that they do not interface well with the towpath public realm; there could be more designed architectural interest and landscaping at this level.
A key tenet of urban planning under the Town and Country Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation areas) Act 1990 is the requirement to preserve or enhance local character and distinctiveness; this scheme continues to do neither. We cannot see that there is a case for sufficient public benefit to justify this scheme triumphing over considerate, contextually relevant place making.
We repeat our request that if the officer is minded to permit, we recommend that a condition is placed on the development that prohibits the use of these units as short term holiday lets; to ensure that they contribute to meeting Bath's housing need and are not bought solely as investment properties.