Dam Health, 3 Milsom Street, City Centre, Bath
3 Milsom Street forms part of the Grade II mid-to-late 18th century terrace of townhouses, now with commercial ground floors and shopfronts, at 2-22 Milsom Street, situated within the Bath Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. Alongside its notable grouped value as part of a contemporaneous terrace, it additionally constitutes part of a high concentration, terraced group of Grade II and Grade II* buildings along Milsom Street, a large number of which are contemporary to the original development of Milsom Street in 1762 by Thomas Lightholder. Milsom Street remains a highly significant commercial streetscape, though originally residential, representative of large-scale Georgian town planning providing intentional sightlines into the city centre. 3 Milsom Street’s value is largely derived from its aesthetic contribution to the wider conservation area and World Heritage Site, and its architectural consistency throughout the rest of the terrace.
It additionally features later elements that, whilst of a lesser significance when considered in relation to the building’s 18th century architectural form and fabric, are of interest as to how the building has been adapted and used, and its wider contribution to the character and appearance of the conservation area. For instance, it incorporates an attractive 1911 ground floor shopfront attributed to C. Bryan Oliver (Historic England) with deeply curved large plate glass windows and fine ‘colonnette’ glazing bars that echo the building’s Neo-classical architectural principles whilst positively contributing to Bath’s eclectic mix of traditional shopfront ‘vernacular’.
The previous shop closed in 2020 and has remained vacant ever since. The presence of an empty shopfront along this significant historic high street is therefore of detriment to the vibrancy, amenity and activation of the streetscape. We therefore strongly welcome the opportunity to bring this retail unit back into use with resulting benefits including the reactivation and revitalisation of this area of Bath’s commercial centre, as well as the continued occupation and associated maintenance and care of a listed building.
We had strong concerns regarding the proposed addition of applied acrylic signage, which would be materially incompatible with, and unsympathetic to, the visual amenities of a listed building and its sensitive historic setting. We are therefore pleased to see that proposed revisions (as of 16/01/2023) now propose the use of hand-painted signage across the fascia, which would better reflect and reinforce the special historic and architectural interest of the listed building, the grouped value of the listed terrace, and the wider established character and appearance of the conservation area.
We note reference to the proposed use of the basement as a staff area with a WC and kitchen; previous listed building consent 19/02357/LBA was secured for the installation of new staff facilities at basement level, although it is unclear if these works were undertaken. Should this latest application propose any material changes at basement level, or installation of staff facilities where this has not already been undertaken, we recommend that further details are provided as part of this application to ensure a comprehensive overview of proposed changes to the listed building.