Lower Maisonette, 4 Albion Terrace, Kingsmead, Bath
4 Albion Terrace forms part of a Grade II early 19th century terrace of townhouses within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of a mixed residential and light industrial area along the riverside with the Bath Riverside development immediately to the south across Victoria Bridge, but remains an important aspect of Bath vernacular form and materiality within the Lower Bristol Road streetscape which sits up against the pavement line. The terrace includes a lower ground floor with an uncovered front lightwell ‘trench’ which facilitates access to the vaults beneath the pavement and a uniform wrought iron railing boundary treatment, although the condition of these are variable across the terrace. 1 Albion Terrace features an opaque covering over its lightwell; this does not appear to have a related planning consent and is a feature of detriment within the terrace which should not be considered an acceptable precedent.
The Trust has some concerns regarding the covering of 4 Albion Terrace’s lightwell and an absence of detail regarding the proposed glazing panel and how it would be fixed to the stonework. The use of front-facing lightwells along the pavement line allow for unobscured views into the basement layer as well as providing beneficial natural ventilation to the lower ground floors and vaults. Whilst we acknowledge the use of single pane glazing as a ‘light touch’ approach intended to mitigate visual harm, we remain wary about the introduction of a material covering over an architectural feature of a historically ‘open’ appearance and character. Considering the continuity of exposed lightwells across the terrace frontage, the introduction of a covering here would have some visual impact with regards to the terrace’s visual homogeneity and uniformity.
We feel this application could establish a precedent for the covering of lightwells and emphasise the need for the careful consideration of appearance and design. Should the principle of a glazed cover be found acceptable, we emphasise the need for a standardised design to prevent a variety of glazing or covering designs being proposed with the resulting visual unbalancing of the uniform appearance and design which make up the special architectural and historic interest of the terrace.