Flat 61, Connaught Mansions, Great Pulteney Street, Bathwick, Bath
1-7 Great Pulteney Street, now Connaught Mansions, forms part of a Grade I group of late 18th century terraced townhouses situated within the Bath City-Wide Conservation Area and City of Bath World Heritage Site. Due to the terrace’s architectural homogeneity, scale, and the intentionally designed sightlines between the Holburne Museum and Great Pulteney Bridge, Great Pulteney Street constitutes an exceptional example of Georgian Town Planning and Georgian Architecture which contribute towards the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the World Heritage Site. This section of terrace as a whole retains a prominent position overlooking Laura Place and framing the centralised avenue running towards Sydney Gardens.
As existing, the roofscape features a varied mix of natural slate and fibrous cement slates, visible as part of the street-facing roof slope in which there is an evident discrepancy in the mix of roof coverings that have been used. The fibrous cement slates appear to be in a deteriorating condition with greater evidence of wear and vegetation growth.
We are generally supportive of proposals for the replacement of the existing asbestos imitation slate tiles, where these are a non-historic addition of detriment to a listed building and are indicated to be deteriorating. The upgrade of the existing roof surface offers an opportunity to reinstate a more traditional and sympathetic material finish that would enhance the character and appearance of a listed building, and its contribution to the character of the conservation area and World Heritage Site where it forms part of a significant architectural setpiece.
We recognise that where the existing roof finish is already an artificial, modern addition, this intervention has already resulted in less than substantial harm and any further works would have a very limited impact on historic fabric. Nonetheless, given the Grade I status of the building and its contextual relationship with its built setting, we maintain that the use of a reconstituted slate would be visually inappropriate and would fail to sustain the special historic and architectural interest of a listed building. Reconstituted slate is not an acceptable alternative to natural slate; where it would intersect with the existing natural slate covering adjacent to the street-facing dormers, the reconstituted slate would be a visually jarring and discordant addition in its thickness, finish, and how it weathers.
We maintain that the opportunity should be taken to reinstate a materially coherent roof surface to a Grade I listed building, with the use of a natural Welsh slate being strongly preferred.
This application proposes the use of inappropriate materials which would harm the architectural interest and significance of the Grade I listed building, would neither preserve nor enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area, and risks cumulative harm to the OUV of the World Heritage Site. This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, B4, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D3, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan.