Manor Farm, Old School Hill, South Stoke, Bath
Manor Farm is a Grade II mid- to late 17th century farmhouse, situated within the South Stoke village Conservation Area, Cotswolds AONB, Bath & Bristol Green Belt, and the indicative landscape setting of the Bath World Heritage Site. The farmhouse forms part of a historic farm complex with the adjacent Grade II* tithe barn, attributed to the 15th century, as well as the Grade II 17th century range converted into cottages by the later 19th century. The farm complex is situated on the western edge of South Stoke behind the Church of St James, but remains visible in contextual views from the westerly PRoW to Millennium Viewpoint and Combe Hay Lane. The farmhouse retains high significance as an important local building and an “early farm complex with rare surviving late medieval agricultural buildings” (South Stoke CACA); its use of traditional building materials positively contributes to the overall character, appearance, and palette of the conservation area, generally characterised as 17th century Cotswolds vernacular with some later 19th century additions.
In response to the Climate Emergency, BPT is generally supportive of the principle of slimlite double glazing installation where this would sustain the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building, and be compatible with the identified character and appearance of the historic environment. We maintain the importance of the sympathetic upgrade of traditional building stock to better meet modern standards of living.
The D&A Statement indicates that “the existing windows are not the original glazing or frames, but are previous replacements considered to be over 30 years old.” Where the existing windows are later 20th century additions, these are of very limited historic or material interest, and make a negligible contribution to the overall identified special interest of the building. Their replacement would therefore result in NO loss of or harm to historic fabric.
Where the existing windows are already in a poor condition, their replacement is necessary and offers a positive opportunity for thermal upgrades.
We note that the measurement of the proposed glazing thickness varies throughout the application between 12mm (Technical Details of Proposed Windows) and 12.5mm (Window Section Plan) and we recommend that this detail is clarified to ensure a standardised measurement throughout.
We are interested by the proposed use of ‘Cylinder’ effect glazing “to match the existing aesthetic precisely” (we presume this statement is being made in reference to the traditional aesthetic of the building itself, rather than the surviving use of any cylinder glazing on the property?) and would welcome the provision of relevant samples to allow for an assessment of how well the visual effect of cylinder glazing would be replicated, and whether this would be a suitable addition to the building. There is a slight risk that where a glazed finish is ‘over-manufactured’, this may ultimately detract from the appearance of the building, with a simpler, more honest float glass addition in some ways being preferable.
We therefore conclude that proposals would result in less than substantial harm to a listed building, and would be outweighed by the public benefits of improved thermal efficiency and a reduction in carbon emissions in accordance with B&NES net zero objectives, but recommend further details are provided regarding the proposed glazed finish to enable for a fully-informed assessment of the proposed interventions.
We further highlight that retrofit measures should be considered as part of a ‘whole house’ approach in which interventions are considered holistically across the entirety of the building, as well as in conjunction with other available measures (eg. insulation).