Land At Rear Of 1 And 2 Worcester Place, Bay Tree Road, Fairfield Park, Bath
The proposed site of development is located to the rear of 1 & 2 Worcester Place, part of a wider Grade II early/mid-19th century terrace situated within the residential Larkhall area of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. To the immediate north-west of the site is the Grade II early/mid-19th century terraced row of artisan cottages known as Worcester Villas. The site was previously occupied by the three-storey Worcester Lodge, a mid-19th century detached dwelling, which was consequently demolished by the 1980s. The site currently forms an ancillary yard space for the use of 2 Worcester Place, and facilitates access to the north-south pedestrian access to the rear of 1-8 Worcester Place which is designated a legal right of way for residents.
The Trust cannot support this application on grounds of the scale, massing, and height of the proposed development constituting overdevelopment of the site, poor unresponsive design that would neither conserve nor enhance the appearance or character of the conservation area, and unmitigated, cumulative harm to residential amenity.
Overdevelopment of the Site:
By virtue of the dwelling’s height, scale, and massing, we maintain that this proposal would constitute overdevelopment of the site. The established grain of this area of the conservation area varies between higher density stepped terraces with long rear garden strips, and mid-density semi-detached 20th century dwellings set within a generous garden plot back from the roadside. Therefore, whilst we appreciate that the historic location of Worcester Lodge on the site until the 1980s may be considered a precedent for development, we maintain that the cramped appearance of the scheme and the absence of private outdoor amenity space would be out of character with its setting and would serve as a precedent for grain of a significantly higher density than is appropriate within this residential periphery of Bath. This development would therefore neither conserve nor enhance the appearance or character of the conservation area, and would erode the established form, pattern, and grain of its setting.
Design and Appearance:
The Trust is not opposed to the use of a sensitive contemporary design within this area. However, we maintain that the design and form as proposed are not demonstrative of local distinctiveness, are not reflective of streetscape character, and would neither conserve nor enhance the appearance or character of the conservation area.
This area of the conservation area has been the subject of concentrated interwar redevelopment. However, the prevailing architectural and material character is of Bath stone ashlar with a pitched or hipped roof profile, with older terraces such as Worcester Place featuring a traditional mansard profile. The insertion of a flat roof profile and blocky form on this prominent corner site along Harwarden Terrace would therefore be architecturally incongruous with either its historic or 20th century context.
The street-facing first floor terrace infill is a top-heavy, alien addition and has no appropriate precedent within the area. We remain opposed in-principle to the use of render on principle street-facing elevations, particularly within the setting of a listed building.
Considering the quality of the neighbouring gable end articulation, proportion, and glazing fenestration, we are disappointed by the absence of detail from this proposal. The blank, blocky style of the front façade results in a heavy, awkward appearance at odds with its Grade II context. We maintain that should the principle of development be considered appropriate on this site, a greater degree of elegance and detail would be required to suitably complement and enhance the setting of a Grade II terrace, and conserve and enhance the appearance and character of the conservation area.
This application would propose cumulative harm to the residential amenity of the terrace. The two-storey aspect of the design to the rear of 1 Worcester Place would screen views and natural light from the west-facing, ground floor window without adequate mitigation or justification, whilst resulting in a visual ‘canyoning’ effect and restrictive narrowing of the pedestrian access which remains a legal right of way for all terrace residents. We further note that the section of access behind 1-2 Worcester Place currently measures 1200-1350mm, and the proposal would result in the narrowing of the access entrance by 300-450mm. Considering the location of utility boxes to the rear of the terrace which project out into the pedestrian access, we additionally question whether the proposed width of access would be compliant with building regulations, particularly with regard to disabled access requirements.
We further highlight that the relation between the proposed first floor wall and the rear bedroom window of 1 Worcester Place does not comply with the 45 degree rule. This would therefore result in excessive overshadowing of the neighbouring property. We maintain that should the principle of development be considered appropriate on this site, the rear line of the dwelling’s two storey aspect should be brought forwards to further address this issue.
We note there have been some concerns raised over the ownership of the land. We trust this will be looked into by the relevant officer and clarified as part of the application.
Due to the height, position, and massing of the proposed dwelling, this scheme would result in cumulative harm to the residential amenity of and access to the terrace contrary to Policy D6 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan.
The proposed height, scale, and massing of this dwelling would constitute overdevelopment of a sensitive corner site overlooking a Grade II listed terrace, and would neither conserve nor enhance the character or appearance of the Bath conservation area. The proposed design would be incongruous within its streetscape context and would be of harm to the setting of a listed building. The height and scale of the dwelling would result in cumulative harm to the residential amenity of Worcester Place. This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Sections 12 and 16 of the NPPF, and Policies CP6, B1, BD1, D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan and should be refused or withdrawn.