Flat 8, Fitzroy House, 59 Great Pulteney Street, Bath
59 Great Pulteney Street is one of a Grade I series of late 18th century terraced townhouses, a number of which have since been subdivided to provide residential apartments, 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.
We note that this application refers to proposed alterations on the ground floor (see existing and proposed plans). However, the works would affect the third floor, being focused on the flat roof of the rear extension stack; we therefore believe that the proposals may have been registered to the wrong address. It appears that the works would be carried out in association with Flat 23 (based on previous sales particulars).
In the current circumstances following the pandemic, BPT greatly appreciates the growing demand for outdoor space. This application proposes to make use of the existing flat roof to the rear, which forms part of a later mid-19th century extension addition. The rear of the terrace would further be fairly limited in close-range public views due to the narrow, constrained nature of Pulteney Mews.
In this particular example, we consider that there may be feasibility for the addition of a roof terrace, although we highlight the importance of securing an appropriate, visually recessive design to minimise impact on the special interest and appearance of the listed building and the wider group value of the terrace.
We maintain that the suitability of installing roof terraces within Bath remains determinable on a case-by-case basis dependent on visual and material impact to multiple high-significance heritage assets, including the conservation area and World Heritage Site.
However, we consider that the use of a glazed balustrade at this height on the building would introduce a mix of overtly contemporary materials across the façade in sharp contrast with its established material palette, particularly in wider views to the south from the Recreation Ground, as well as limited short-range views to the west from William Street. We therefore strongly consider that the extension wall could be extended even higher to form the terrace balustrade, in a similar style to the adjacent roof terrace, which would instead read as part of the rear extension rather than a new, contrasting element. The use of an opaque Bath stone balustrade would conceal the terrace from public view and sustain the established material character and appearance, and associated value, of the Grade I terrace.
Considering the Grade I status of the building and its terraced context, we do not consider that the proposals have been sufficiently detailed, particularly in relation to aspects such as the profile and appearance of the proposed frameless glazing and how this would sit against the Bath stone wall and coping stone. There are further concerns as to whether the proposed glazing would achieve adequate structural loading to meet safety regulations.
Whilst the existing small window is concluded as being non-historic, the window opening may originally have been in use as the staircase window prior to the building being converted into flats. In this case, some evidential value would be attributed to the opening as being indicative of the building’s original use and plan form.
Therefore, whilst in this instance BPT consider that the proposed use of this area may be appropriate for a roof terrace, its suitability remains highly dependent on the proposed material approach and resulting impact on a listed building. We consider a traditional material at this height on the terrace rear would more appropriately reinforce local character.