Flat 5 Ground Floor, 14 Royal Crescent, Bath
14 Royal Crescent forms part of a Grade I Georgian terraced crescent situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site, overlooking the Grade I Victoria Park. The Royal Crescent is one of Bath’s most significant surviving examples of monumental, grand design, intended as a key visual landmark within the city, and Georgian innovation in town planning, fundamental aspects of the OUV of the World Heritage site. Both 13 and 14 Royal Crescent have been internally converted into flats from the 1960s. Currently on the site of the proposed extension is a modest, single storey laundry extension of little architectural or historic interest.
The Trust acknowledges the precedent for development on the site due to the existing extension, and the presence of later additions to the rear elevations of other dwellings along the Royal Crescent. These rear elevations, despite having limited public view, possess significance through their visual demonstration of historic change and alteration unique to Bath’s backland character, and therefore any proposed changes should be suitably recessive in scale and design to minimise harm to the aesthetic and architectural interest of the rear elevation.
Consequently, the Trust cannot support this application due to the proposed inappropriate increase in scale, detrimental intrusion into views of the rear five storey bay window, and the development’s potential for short-term and holiday let usage.
Whilst the existing laundry extension has established an acceptable precedent for development of a similar small, ancillary scale, we feel that the proposed extension constitutes inappropriate development due to the excessive increase in scale to the rear of the property, both extending out to the rear northern boundary of the terrace as well as increasing its width west, eating into the available outdoor seating space whilst encroaching into views of and in/out of the rear five storey bay window. The rear of 14 Royal Crescent is somewhat unusual due to its largely retained uniformity of appearance across the rear elevation; the extension would therefore harm this architectural and aesthetic element of a listed building by introducing a strong asymmetrical focus whilst partially obscuring a historic feature of interest.
Furthermore, whilst the extension is proposed to relocate the bedroom from the living/dining space, the Trust maintains that the self-contained nature of the extension, with an ensuite and separate access onto the terrace, is indicative of potential short-term or holiday lets, rather than functioning as ancillary to the primary residential use of the ground floor of the building. We therefore feel that this extension could subdivide the existing ground floor flat into a site of multiple occupancy types at the detriment to 14 Royal Crescent’s retained residential character, and would establish an unwelcome precedent for other, similar alterations across the Royal Crescent and others of Bath’s monumental Georgian ensembles that could further erode the provision of housing for local residents within the city centre and its immediate surroundings.
This application therefore constitutes harm to a Grade I listed building with no demonstrable public benefit, and may potentially erode the retained long-term residential use of the building. Consequently, this application is contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, B4, BD1, D1, D2, D3, D5, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be refused or withdrawn.