Lawrence House, Lower Bristol Road, Twerton
The Lawrence House site is located along the A36 on Bath’s city periphery, although it remains within both the Bath Conservation area as well as the World Heritage Site Boundary. Its prominent position and massing makes it a visually distinctive building to visitors entering Bath. Therefore, this site requires sensitive treatment to best enhance the Bath’s peripheral landscaping, and to minimise any impact that might accordingly degrade Bath’s character and setting.
Initially, BPT encourages the efficient usage of brownfield sites, and acknowledges the potential of Lawrence House for increased residential function. The new four-storey property will be subservient in size and massing to Lawrence House, whilst the car park and retained trees will maintain the medium to low density nature of the area. Whilst there are no significant issues with the design and colour palette proposed, it is recommended that more details be provided concerning the types of material used, particularly what sort of timber will be used for cladding and how it might weather. However, we felt there was a missed opportunity for the use of typical Bath aesthetic and vernacular traditions in a way that would better enhance the streetscape. The use of a Bath stone-coloured render was proposed, but the potential for the implementation of Bath stone, in at least part of the scheme, has been overlooked.
Unfortunately, we feel that the provision of parking spaces remains insufficient; in particular, the spaces allocated in the north corner are impractical and cramped. Furthermore, whilst the D&A Statement emphasised the suitability of the site for pedestrians and cyclists, we are disappointed to see that no provision for bicycle storage has been made.
Ultimately, BPT encourages this reuse of an area of neutral value in which new development is recommended as a source of new visual and social interest. Based on the precedent set by Lawrence House, the scale and modern design of this new building seems appropriate within this site, albeit lacking an aesthetic style characteristic of Bath’s unique heritage. However, we would argue that this scheme has failed to consider the utility of the site through the inadequate provision of parking facilities and other alternative transport storage. Consequently, this would need to be remedied if this scheme were to be successful.