Flat 1, 52 Great Pulteney Street, Bathwick, Bath
52 Great Pulteney Street is a Grade I late 18th century Georgian terrace, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of the wider streetscape setting of numerous clusters of Grade I terraced buildings along Great Pulteney Street to form a cohesive architectural whole that creates an intentional visual thoroughfare between Pulteney Bridge and the Holburne Museum as part of an unfinished mid-18th century aspirations to extend the city to the east of the River Avon. It is therefore a significant evidential aspect of Bath’s Georgian Town Planning OUV as a World Heritage Site. 52 Great Pulteney Street presents a dual frontage on the corner of the tributary road Edward Street, and displays an interesting variance in the formality and detailing of its southern and western facades.
The changes proposed are primarily internal with some minor external alterations to the rear yard elevation. Whilst the Trust does not typically comment on internal changes, we are concerned by the nature of the works proposed and the impact this will have on both the character of the basement and the health of the wider building as a whole.
Primarily, we strongly oppose the proposed installation of a Delta Koster NB1 damp proofing system, which is a cementitious waterproofing slurry. In principle, we object to the use of chemical injection or cementitious tanking within historic buildings. These impermeable materials do not allow the permeable traditional building fabric to breath or moisture to pass through; thus, moisture is displaced or trapped and frequently this can lead to problems elsewhere. In addition, these approaches have a short life span and are known to fail over the passage of time, but can result in irreversible damage to historic fabric when removed.
The basement currently utilises an impermeable gypsum plaster finish which could be partially responsible for ongoing damp issues. The current modern treatment of the interior is used to justify the proposed works as not “of a nature that would cause harm of a significant degree to the building” within the D&A Statement. There does not appear to be any recognition that the ongoing modern treatment of the interior likely continues to exacerbate the damp condition of the basement flat.
Its replacement with a similarly invasive and unsympathetic waterproofing alternative would therefore be ineffective and result in further harm to the special historic and architectural interest of a listed building.
Should the principle of damp proofing be found appropriate on this site, we suggest that more easily reversible means of damp proofing or management are considered such as dry lining and membrane lining systems, provided that internal features of interest would not be compromised.
However, in its current form this application proposes inappropriate material alterations to a historic building without adequate justification contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas), Section 16 of the NPPF, and Polices B1, BD1, B4 CP6, D1, D2, D3, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan and should therefore be refused or withdrawn.