Flat 1, 7 Victoria Buildings, Westmoreland
7 Victoria Buildings is part of a Grade II Victorian terrace situated along Lower Bristol Road within the Bath World Heritage site. The area is characterised by its high volume of Victorian and Edwardian residential heritage to the south of Bath city centre.
Whilst BPT does not oppose the proposed construction of a rear extension, we have the following concerns with the scheme and the associated application:
The Trust would recommend that the existing and proposed front elevations of the building are submitted to the planning portal to elaborate on the proposed installation of sun tunnels in the building’s façade. We would also appreciate if the proposed sun tunnel design could be clarified. Currently, we are unable to make an informed assessment of the potential visual and material impact of the proposed sun tunnels, and there is insufficient information for the LPA to make a fully-informed decision.
Furthermore, we feel that more details need to be provided regarding the current condition, historical significance, and proposed works to the lower ground floor. Typically, historic basements, cellars, and vaults retain a largely unaltered appearance that is historically, architecturally, and evidentially significant. BPT maintains that these areas, due to expected levels of damp and poor air quality, are not considered suitable for domestic usage, and should have an ancillary function only as a store room or utility space that requires minimal interventions into the historic fabric.
Therefore, we feel that the proposed “recreational” function of the lower ground floor would be inappropriate in principle unless proven otherwise. We would additionally request the clarification as to what works are being proposed with regards to the conversion of the space and any waterproofing measures. We would strongly advise against the use of invasive methods such as tanking and impermeable paints or plasters that would further exacerbate any existing damp conditions.
We additionally do not feel that the removal of the wall to open up the front basement room has been sufficiently justified. It is possible that this wall is part of the original Victorian external wall, and therefore would constitute a significant loss of historic fabric. We would therefore recommend that the historic nature of this wall is clarified, and a potentially less extensive method of removal, such as the insertion of a doorway, is considered.
Ultimately, we do not feel that the LPA has been provided with enough information to properly assess this application due to a lack of available historic and design information. BPT would consequently recommend that further information regarding the conversion of the lower ground floor is submitted, the requested details of which are stated above, before this application progresses any further.