Garden Flat, 14 New King Street, Kingsmead
14 New King Street forms part of a group of Grade II Georgian terraced houses within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site. Whilst its vaults do not contribute to the aesthetic or above-ground architectural significance of the building, the vaults are crucial in terms of their contribution to the historic, evidential, and social understanding of how the building was originally used, and forms part of a normally invisible yet architecturally valuable part of Bath’s subterranean Georgian streetscape. Therefore, proposals must account for the appropriate care of these spaces, if adapting them to modern utility.
BPT has previously responded to an application of the conversion of 14 New King Street’s vaults into a “scullery/ utility/ storage area” (see application 19/04896/LBA). We maintain that the newton cavity membrane system is considered suitable to allow the space to be adapted for the intended use, but the use of a cementitious or polymer-based solution may is displace or trap moisture that can lead to problems elsewhere. We continue to trust that officers will ensure the appropriate approach to these vaults.
However, in response to this application’s proposed conversion of the vaults into a “study/utility/storage area”, we would emphasise the unsuitability of vaults for residential use. Due to damp conditions and poor air quality, vaults are better suited to ancillary facilities or storage space; the use of vaults for a directly domestic function such as a "study" would not be suitable, either for the comfort of human usage or the alteration of historic fabric to meet modern standards of utility.