Demolished Beckford Gate, Lansdown Road, Lansdown
Bath Preservation Trust withdrew from commenting publicly on the proposals for the now demolished property ‘Beckford’s Gate’ and the proposed rebuild, nor on the conservation works to the Embattled Gateway, because at the time we were in discussion with the developer to consider a potential future management and access arrangement between Beckford Tower Trust (sole trustee Bath Preservation Trust) and the developer, and felt the Trust therefore to be conflicted. There has been no engagement for over a year in these discussions by the developer and we therefore feel our interest in the development is no longer conflicted and we revert to our usual position in relation to planning applications. Our obvious desire is to see the Gate restored as befits its listing with best conservation practice, and protected as best as possible as the largest physical remnant of the entrance to Beckford’s Ride. By way of background we attach the information sent to Historic England to encourage the extension of the listing of the walls around the gateway, which itself sets out much of the history.
The Trust objects to this proposal. The use of concrete as a replacement for Bath stone is not appropriate, regardless of whether other corbels have in the past been replaced with concrete; two wrongs do not make a right. This heritage asset was constructed in limestone ashlar and any stone repairs should be like for like. Concrete is an impermeable material that can cause problems elsewhere within the structure via rainwater displacement; permeable Bath stone is the only acceptable material to use. The accompanying Heritage, Design & Access statement contains no real assessment of the impact of the proposal on the fabric and interest of the heritage asset, nor any kind of special justification.
This proposal would harm the special interest of the listed building and there is no public benefit to outweigh the harm; it is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and fails to comply with Section 12 (Conserving and enhancing the historic environment) of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) policies; B1, B4 and CP6 of the B&NES Core Strategy and policies;, B4 & HE1 of the B&NES Placemaking Plan. For this reason we object to this application and recommend that the scheme is refused