Flat 8, Fitzroy House, 59 Great Pulteney Street, Bathwick, 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 City-Wide 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 formerly commented in response to application 22/02598/LBA for similar works to create an outdoor terrace space on the roof of the existing rear stack extension, which was subsequently withdrawn. In response to the original proposals, the case officer indicated that the application could not be supported on grounds of loss of historic fabric from the rear elevation of a listed building, inappropriate addition of a door at third floor level at odds with the wider terrace, and the increase in height of the rear stack extension which would make it a more visually prominent addition to the building (see ‘confirmation of withdrawal from agent’, 22/02598/LBA).
We reiterate our general principle that there is a growing requirement for outdoor amenity space, particularly where residents of apartments and high-density accommodation types often have poor/limited access to private outdoor space.
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. This remains to be determined on a case-by-case basis in relation to the specifics of the proposed design, and the degree of assessed impact to the appearance and significance of heritage assets including a Grade I listed building, the conservation area, and the World Heritage Site.
We acknowledge the changes that have been made to the scheme in an attempt to address previous concerns. The overall footprint of the terrace would be reduced and set back from the existing parapet edge of the extension roof, though the terrace decking level would be 38mm higher than previously proposed. The increased set-back would help to make the terrace read as a less prominent addition to the existing extension’s roof; however, this measure has been somewhat undermined where the extension’s outer walls would not be extended up to partially obscure the terrace. The visual effect is of the proposed terrace being perched on top of the extension, rather than set into the roof below the parapet line.
We have continued concerns regarding the use of a glazed balustrade at this height on the building, which we do not consider have been sufficiently addressed by the amendments made to the scheme. The glazing would still be left largely unobscured in wider views to the south from the Recreation Ground, despite the introduction of planting to “both soften the impact of the sky garden from immediate and distant context views and provide privacy to and from the private residential amenity space itself.” We maintain that the use of a solid boundary treatment, such as the extension of the Bath stone ashlar elevation of the rear extension, would much more effectively address concerns with the visibility of the terrace in wider views, as well as residential privacy.
The effectiveness of the proposed green screening would be dependent on its ongoing maintenance and care to ensure that planting at this level would thrive and grow to a suitable level to screen the balustrade in the long-term. Success would also be dependent on selecting a planting species that would cope with the conditions of being planted at a high level (eg. exposure to high temperatures, etc.).
We reiterate the need for clarification on further details such as the profile and appearance of the proposed frameless glazing and how this would intersect with the original roof. There are further concerns as to whether the proposed glazing would achieve adequate structural loading to meet safety regulations.