Garage Block Between Grosvenor House And Coach Cottage, Ringswell Gardens, Lambridge, Bath
The proposed site of development is an area of hardstanding and eight garages to the rear of the Grade I late 18th century terrace of townhouses at Grosvenor Place, situated within the Bath City-Wide Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. The site was formerly encompassed within the garden setting of Grosvenor House (which is separately Grade I listed) which was subdivided by the early 20th century at the latest. The site also closely adjoins Coach Cottage to the south, an unlisted early to mid-19th century dwelling of a modest two storey scale and backland location that was likely originally in ancillary use by Grosvenor House as a functional coach house.
In principle, BPT maintains a general support for opportunities to redevelop brownfield sites within the City to deliver much-needed housing. The use of backland areas of hardstanding and utilitarian structures such as garages could be well-suited for the gentle densification of Bath’s urban areas, though development would still be expected to sensitively reflect and respond to the established character, appearance, grain, height, layout, and massing of the local area.
Issues with the further loss of car parking have been raised by local residents which should be appropriately considered by the case officer.
We note that there appears to be a discrepancy in the planning drawings submitted for the existing and proposed rear elevations, in which the indicated height of the existing garages appears to change as presented in the existing and proposed elevational drawings. The height of the garages in the proposed elevations, shown to be approximately level with the upper floor stringcourse of Coach Cottage, appears to be more accurate. We recommend this detail is clarified with the case officer.
Whilst we are supportive of the principle of the scheme, we are disappointed that an opportunity hasn’t been taken to implement a design with a stronger reference to the context, character and architectural grain of the local area. The proposed “mews” building would fail to embody the characteristics of a traditional mews dwelling or coach house and instead appears to be a standardised bungalow typology without reference in its localised backland context. We note other examples of historic and contemporary coach houses and mews-style dwellings, including Coach Cottage, as well as the development to the rear of Alexander Buildings, with which the proposed development would be incongruous given its single storey height, large footprint, and eclectic mix of roof profiles.
We question whether the site would be better suited for the development of a modest two storey dwelling of a reduced footprint, where this would have a stronger design reference and connection to the area’s backland grain, whilst allowing for greater setback from both Coach Cottage and Grosvenor House and the increased provision of outdoor amenity space.
The current proposals would therefore constitute a standardised design approach without drawing from or responding to the established characteristics of the local area. It has therefore not been adequately demonstrated that proposals would preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area. Development would further result in adverse impact and harm to the historic setting, special interest and significance of a Grade I listed building. The application would therefore be contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1. BD1, B4, CP6, D1, D2, D3, D5, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan and should be refused or withdrawn.