King Edwards School, North Road, Bathwick, Bath

Proposed Rooftop Solar Array at The Wessex Building, King Edwards School.
Our Response

The proposed site of works is the King Edward’s School complex, situated within the Bath City-Wide Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. It is closely bordered to the east by the Green Belt and Cotswolds AONB. The school site has grown up around a Grade II mid-19th century detached house, formerly Nethersole, which subsequently became St Christopher’s School in the early 20th century. This Grade II building is situated to the far south-east of the site, overlooking North Road; the wider school has grown up from the late 20th century onwards to the west. By virtue of the steep east-west incline of the site, the wider school site retains a degree of separation from the main Grade II school building, a visual effect which is reinforced by the building’s retained boundary wall treatment and the perception of a privately retained garden setting as experienced from the road.

The proposed focus of works would be the roofs of the two buildings located along the western boundary of Nethersole House. The buildings form a mixture of flat and pitched roof slopes, the ends of which are visible from North Road. In their materiality and form, they clearly read as part of the later 20th century school complex and sit down low in relation to the setting of the listed building.

In response to the Climate Emergency, BPT is broadly supportive of the principle of energy efficiency retrofits and microrenewable installations where this would be coherent with, and sympathetic to, the special historic and architectural interest of the setting of a listed building and the wider historic environment.

The proposed installation of PV panels would result in no harm to or loss of historic fabric, and would not significantly increase the height or pitch of the existing roofscape. We are supportive of the use of later, non-historic buildings that form part of the school site to allow for the integration of renewables with very limited impact on the setting of a listed building. Where the existing roofscape is already legible as a contemporary addition, the use of solar PV would be materially and visually in keeping with the existing characteristics of both buildings.

We are supportive of the opportunity to upgrade and improve the performance of the existing modern structures on the site, and consider that this approach may be applicable for wider application on other modern buildings of limited visibility.

We recommend that further design details of the proposed panels are submitted as part of this application to ensure a non-intrusive appearance and finish in accordance with Policy SCR2 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, particularly in relation to the setting of a listed building. We suggest that PV panels should be monochrome with a matt finish to minimise reflectivity and associated sun glare, and should sit as flush with the roof slope as possible.

Application Number: 23/02938/SOLPA
Application Date: 08/08/2023
Closing Date: 15/09/2023
Address: King Edwards School, North Road, Bathwick, Bath
Our Submission Status: Support