Forsters House, Church Hill, Freshford, Bath
Forsters House is a Grade II early 19th century house, situated within the Freshford Conservation Area, the Cotswolds AONB, and the Bath & Bristol Green Belt. The house forms part of a terraced group of Grade II listed buildings that make up an eclectic mix from the early/mid-18th century to the early 19th century, though the group retain a visual homogeneity through the use of a consistent, classical-inspired architectural approach, and Bath stone ashlar finish. Forsters House, as part of the wider terrace, remains clearly visible in views through the conservation area, particularly in elevated views to the east from the Church of St Peter. In the Freshford & Sharpstone Conservation Area Character Appraisal, the views from the Church and its green setting are highlighted as providing important views through the conservation area, in which the brewery building and its chimney, and as a result its wider terraced context, is identified as a landmark building.
We therefore have concerns regarding the proposed addition of a glazed balustrade behind the parapet line of the existing building, where this would result in adverse impact to the appearance of a listed building, the group value of a number of Grade II listed buildings, and the wider character and appearance of the conservation area. The use of a glazed balustrade would contrast sharply with the established parapet line of this part of the building, as well as conflicting with the original historic treatment of the roofscape in this area. Whilst it is acknowledged that alterations have already been made to this part of the building to introduce an area of flat roof, as existing this is suitably concealed behind the parapet and the historic qualities of the roofscape in wider views has been sustained.
There are further concerns regarding the proposed use of the flat roof. Whilst the application indicates that the balustrade would be used to facilitate roof maintenance, the D&A Statement goes on to make reference to works “to provide access to a small outside seating area for the house that has no yard or garden.” Where the addition of a balustrade would potentially open up this area of the building to use as a roof terrace, this would result in the activation of the roofscape, at odds with the historic character and qualities of Freshford’s roofscape, which would be clearly visible in wide-ranging views across the conservation area.
The degree of impact to the special interest of a listed building, as well as the established character and appearance of the conservation area, has not been sufficiently assessed or mitigated as part of this application.