Mallen House, Widcombe Hill, Widcombe
Mallen House is an unlisted late 20th century residential property located within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site. To the east is the Grade I Widcombe Crescent, and the area is heavily characterised by the use of Bath stone ashlar and natural slate or clay roof tiles. Despite the high density of the area due to 20th century infill, its green infrastructure has been retained which contributes positively to the Widcombe character area.
BPT encourages the suitable use of contemporary design where it will preserve or enhance its historic environment. Due to the location of the proposal, we acknowledge that this new development will not negatively impact the existing streetscape, and instead appreciate that this is a beneficial opportunity for new and imaginative design, whilst the inclusion of traditional materials such as Bath stone ashlar will complement its context.
The reorientation and shrinking of the proposed building footprint is appreciated due to the reduced impact on surrounding mature trees and vegetation. Not only will this retained vegetative screening minimise any potential visual impact on surrounding buildings, but will continue to contribute to the overall green character of the character area in a positive fashion.
We are very supportive of the inclusion of energy-efficient and micro-renewable features in light of the recent Climate Emergency, and encourage the incorporation of solar panels within this less historically-sensitive region of the conservation area. The adherence to established Passivehaus standards is also recommended through the use of solar shading and renewable materials.
However, we question claims made in the D&A Statement that the existing property on the site would be unsuitable for effective energy retrofits. The claimed energy efficiency of the proposed dwelling does not account for the energy used in demolition, reconstruction, or the production of new materials that will be used. Furthermore, this application does not consider the embedded carbon value of the existing property, and the consequent embedded carbon cost of the new-build, nor the resulting generation of landfill waste and air pollution.
Therefore, in the interests of a truly energy-efficient dwelling, the Trust would like to see designs that consider the positive retrofit and redevelopment of the existing property to minimise the damaging consequences of demolition in accordance with sections 2 and 14 of the NPPF, and Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan Policies CP1, CP2, CP3, and CP6.