Garden Flat, 32 Marlborough Buildings, City Centre, Bath
32 Marlborough Buildings forms part of a group of Grade II late 18th century terraced townhouses, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of the wider, indicative streetscape setting of the Grade I Royal Crescent and the Grade II Royal Victoria Park. Due to its unbroken length and scale it dominates the streetscape with long, largely unobscured north-south views from Cavendish Road towards Lower Bristol Road. The principal street-facing elevation has retained a large degree of the terrace’s original, designed homogeneity with rusticated ground floor detailing and clean three bay façade, albeit with some later alterations such as 19th century porches and extension ‘stacks’. No. 32 is of a comparatively narrower profile than other, typically 3 bay dwellings within the terrace, with a two-bay façade in Bath stone ashlar and a rusticated ground floor. Variations in height and profile are also more clearly distinct in open views to the rear across the Ring Common allotments; No. 32 is one of a series of interspersed dwellings within the terrace with a reduced shoulder height and a much steeper mansard roof slope where the slope and ridge are clearly visible above the parapet.
BPT typically does not comment on internal alterations without the benefit of a site visit. However, we have some concerns regarding the proposed conversion of part of the lower ground vaults to create a bathroom. We recognise that the space has already been subdivided to form a “store”, and material works are limited to cleaning “to remove existing lime wash/paint residues” and then re-application of limewash. We do not oppose the use of limewash as a more materially compatible means of mitigating damp issues.
However, we continue to emphasise that Bath’s historic vaults are ill-suited to modern standards of ventilation and air quality and use should remain strictly ancillary to the main dwelling. More immediate use, such as a bathroom, would result in an intensification of use/occupation, as well as a resulting increase in temperature and humidity levels which may adversely exacerbate damp conditions and increase pressures on the space to meet unrealistic modern standards.
At this stage, we emphasise that the conversion of this section of the vaults to a bathroom would not be considered adequate justification for future proposals for more intrusive damp management works, such as tanking.