Land North Of Kennet House, Sydney Road, Bath
The Trust continues to object to this application on the basis that we do not concede the principle of development for this land. If the principle for development were to be conceded, we acknowledge that the revised plans are a considerable improvement on the previous unacceptable design: however, we would still prefer a single storey scheme to minimise impact on the distinct character and appearance of the conservation area and the setting of heritage assets.
Principle of Development:
We have a strong preference for the site to remain undeveloped. Please refer to our objection to the principle of development on this site and the reasons set out in our previous response to this application.
Kennet House forms part of the picturesque tradition of setting buildings in large gardens to be viewed through a garden landscape setting, the character of which should only be sustained or enhanced. The proposed development would not sustain or conserve the character and appearance of the conservation area. Whether this development would enhance is a matter for debate, we have submitted informed comments and ultimately this is for assessment by the by the LPA or planning inspector.
The division of Kennet House’s historic curtilage by the site owner(s) has created “a site without a purpose”. However the involvement of the developer in this process provided a speculative development opportunity which did not previously exist. The argument that the land is now poorly managed and therefore should be developed cannot be acceptable: if we accepted such an argument this would send a dangerous precedent with perverse and inappropriate incentives to sequestrate and neglect land. Neglect and fly tipping is no justification for allowing development on this site.
We refer to our previous comments that we have a strong preference for a single storey building IF development is considered acceptable in principle by the LPA.
However on consideration of the amended plans the proposed reduction in height is an improvement and would achieve a more subservient building in relation to those adjacent, as is the removal of timber cladding which is an alien material in the city setting.
Roof Lantern Design:
Alternative 1: The slender version seems to achieve the functional and aesthetic aims of the architect while having the benefit of revealing more of Kennet House.
Alternative 2: The wider version relates better to the design and proportions of the proposed house so we also see a benefit to this approach.
A building of the height proposed, in the position proposed, undoubtedly has an impact on the views and visibility of Cleveland and Kennet House wherever it is located. We recognise that adjusting the siting would do little to mitigate this.
We would encourage hedge planting rather than any wooden fencing. The proposed wooden fence is too high and would have a harmful impact on the setting of Kennet House. A much lower fence or preferably a hedge would maintain some of the integrity of the setting, or indeed a shared driveway with no such intervention.
Our primary reasons for objecting to the principle of development remain applicable to the amended proposals.
The harm caused by the siting and height of the proposed house would be adverse its impact on a number of heritage assets. The NPPF paragraph requires that great weight is given to harm caused to heritage assets. Whether the harm amounts to substantial harm or less than substantial harm can be debated – in our views it is on the upper levels of less than substantial harm. The public benefit of one new dwelling is limited and low, so this proposal should be rejected on the basis that it fails to comply with the requirements of the Framework, paras 194/195 or 196. Paragraph 70 of the NPPF should also be taken into account by the LPA. The land is a domestic garden and remains as such and in accordance with the NPPF gardens are NOT brownfield sites.
The proposed development is contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and Placemaking Plan, Policies D1 (Urban Design Principles), D2 (Local character and distinctiveness), D7 (Infill and backland development), HE1 (Historic Environment), NE2 (Conserving and enhancing the landscape and landscape character), B4 (World Heritage).