Kelston Park, Kelston Road, Kelston
Kelston Park is a Grade II* country house originating from the late 18th century, set within the Grade II Kelston Park west of Bath city centre. It is located within the Kelston conservation area, and remains a significant Georgian landscape feature within the setting of the World Heritage site and the landscape setting of Bath. It additionally contributes to Bath’s Green Belt and the Cotswolds AONB.
Without the benefit of a site visit BPT is not properly informed to comment on the proposed internal changes to the building, but highlights the positive removal of unsuitable, impermeable waterproofing methods for the improved health of the building. We are also pleased to see the reinstatement of surviving original features.
The exterior changes proposed largely consist of the replacement of modern inserts with more period-appropriate equivalents, with the reopening of blocked windows to increase light/air flow and restore the house’s aesthetic symmetry. We are additionally supportive of remedial measures such as the replacement of rotten window frames and broken roof slates, and encourage the implementation of regular maintenance works in future to ensure that surviving historic fabric is not damaged or discarded through neglect.
The Trust encourages the retrofit of all the existing buildings on site, such as the Piggeries, to ensure the sustained presence of the site’s original layout; we feel that the maintenance of this outhouse is integral to the evidential, functional, social, and aesthetic integrity of Kelston Park, whilst ensuring an attractive visual buffer between the car park and the house’s northern elevation. However, as we have previously stated (see application 19/05181/FUL), we are disappointed in the lack of cycle parking provision, and feel that this discourages the use of more sustainable forms of transport between Kelston Park and Bath city centre.
It is positive to see that the original garden is incorporated into the proposed works, and landscaping works will significantly improve the setting of a listed building as well as highlighting the country house’s original, formally landscaped context. Whilst we have no objections to the insertion of a Victorian-style greenhouse along the boundary wall, we would advise that the intended colour of the powder coating is included within the application, and that the structure should be entirely freestanding to prevent any sort of strain or weight on the eighteenth century boundary wall.
However, the Trust is disappointed that the potential for sustainable retrofits or micro renewables have been largely discounted from the scheme. Whilst small, simple changes that would result in less than substantial visual and material harm such as secondary glazing have been dismissed as “detrimental”, we cannot see any provisions of further explanation that would suitably dismiss these options as unsuitable. We would appreciate a further, in-depth consideration of retrofits to minimise energy consumption or lessen carbon emissions that could be tailored to the bespoke energy and heritage requirements of the building. For instance, the proposed glass courtyard roof could incorporate photovoltaic technology with minimal visual or material disruption to the rest of the site.
Therefore, whilst we would encourage that the sustainability of the building is reconsidered to ameliorate its energy performance in light of the current Climate Emergency, the Trust is ultimately supportive of the proposed reuse and remedial works to Kelston House that will enhance the appearance and future function of a listed building. We additionally support the proposed landscaping works in which it is intended that the historic layout of the park and gardens will be emulated.