Garages Rear Of 1 Cork Terrace, St Michael’s Road, Lower Weston
The proposed site of development is located to the rear of the late Victorian Cork Terrace, and adjacent to two Grade II chapels within St Michael’s Cemetery. It is situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site. The plot is currently occupied by two garages and a car park of neutral value to the character of the conservation area. Whilst the historic terraces of Cork Terrace, Cork Street, and St John’s Road are defined by their densely-packed residential character, more contemporary developments such as Audley Avenue in the 1950s have since established a tradition of large, detached properties in the middle of generous private gardens, a practice more suited to the low-density incorporation of significant green spaces in the area such as St Michael’s Cemetery, Royal Victoria Park, and the Victoria Park allotments.
In principle, BPT is not opposed to the use of brownfield sites to develop much-needed mixed residential accommodation within Bath. We are additionally supportive of contemporary design that suitably enhances or respects the existing architectural or historic character of its context.
Previously, an application for the residential development of this site (see application 07/02091/FUL) was refused on the basis of the existing garage’s drastic increase in height, its contrast with the existing local grain, poor quality of its frontage, and the unsuitability of its location.
Following consideration of the current application, BPT feels that the same issues are present in this revised design. Whilst we do not strongly object to the intended style of the dwelling, we would argue that it does not relate to either the historic or contemporary palette of the area. In view of the critical location of the plot between historic and post-war housing, the Trust recommends that a more congruous design is selected that is either subservient to, or borrows from, its setting.
We additionally feel that previous concerns with the height of the original design have not been fully addressed in this application. Due to a lack of provided elevation comparison with the previous scheme, the Trust cannot accurately determine whether the roofline has been dropped as recommended in the Delegated Report. Consequently, the dominant height of the previous design likely has not been resolved; instead, we feel that the increased footprint and use of a flat roof will exacerbate the building’s overwhelming presence within the streetscape at detriment to the special character of the conservation area.
Ultimately, BPT does not agree that this site is suitable for the development of a family-sized dwelling. The awkward nature of the site renders proposals cramped and at odds with the established, regular style of its setting. Due to the lack of available space, the building is pushed right up against the boundary of permitted development with no front-facing buffer against the pavement, a common feature of merit within the area. Therefore, we can conclude that whilst the design is not wholly suitable, we strongly feel that the underlying issue with this scheme is its location and massing which is incongruous to the size and shape of the plot.
This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, sections 12 and 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be withdrawn and reconsidered with regards to not only its design but its location.