Garden Flat, 6 Walcot Buildings, Walcot, Bath
6 Walcot Buildings forms part of a Grade II late 18th century section of terrace with commercial ground floors and 19th century shopfronts, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. This section of terrace positively contributes to this area of the conservation area; the streetscape is noted for its local shops and “specialist retail” offering as part of the main thoroughfare into the city centre, and offers a significant first impression to visitors coming into Bath’s 18th century core (Bath City Wide Character Appraisal, 2005). 6 Walcot Buildings is of particular interest to this evidential and historic significance of London Road’s commercial history due to its painted sign at first floor level for “Walcot Fruit and Potato Stores”, part of Bath’s distinctive ‘ghost sign’ heritage. The street-facing principal elevations are therefore of high attributed significance, although the varied rear elevations across the terrace retain notable evidential value as to the historic commercial function of the buildings, despite limited public visibility.
We note that there is currently no validated LBA associated with the proposed works. Whilst we acknowledge that the extension is a modern addition (see 09/04301/LBA), the Grade II status of the building extends to “any object or structure fixed to the building” as defined in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. We therefore maintain that an LBA with an appropriate heritage assessment of the building should be submitted.
We have some concerns regarding the proximity of the proposed garden room to the eastern boundary wall, shared with 7 Walcot Buildings. As shown in the proposed plans, the garden room would sit closely around the contours of the boundary wall, including features of interest such as the original heating flues for the 19th century glasshouses, with no clearance for future access or maintenance. We therefore recommend that appropriate setback of the new extension is considered to allow for continued access to the area; further details are welcomed regarding the current condition of the wall and plans for its ongoing maintenance and repair to ensure that this is retained as part of the curtilage setting of a Grade II building. This setback would still allow for views of the heating flues to be experienced from within the new garden room.
We further note that the proposed rear south east elevation is shown to materially intersect with the boundary wall, but there is insufficient information regarding how this extension would be fixed to the wall and the resulting impact to a curtilage Grade II structure. We maintain that further details are required to clarify this aspect of the scheme. There is a preference to minimise, or maintain a light touch approach to, historic fabric wherever possible.