Manvers Hall, Old Orchard Street, City Centre, Bath
Manvers Hall is a Grade II mid-19th century Roman Catholic School, now in use as a Gospel Hall, situated within the commercial core of the Bath City-Wide Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. It is situated directly behind the Marks & Spencer Building and is set well back from the main road within the self-contained streetscape of Old Orchard Street. It forms part of the setting of a number of Grade II and Grade II* early to mid-18th century dwellings, some of which are attributed to John Wood the Elder, including the Grade II* St James’s Portico which forms the main access point onto Manvers Street. The focus of works is the single storey 1960s side extension, which is clearly visible across the adjoining car park from Henry Street.
In the light of the declared Climate Emergency, BPT is generally supportive of opportunities for the retrofit and thermal upgrade of listed buildings where interventions would be coherent with, and sensitive to, the special architectural and historic interest of the building. Measures are also expected to sustain the character and appearance of the shared setting of a number of listed buildings, and the surrounding conservation area.
The principle of replacing non-historic casement windows with double-glazed equivalents is therefore acceptable. Whilst we may typically advocate for the use of slimlite double glazing in a listed building, we recognise that the proposed windows would all be located within the later extension which is clearly a later addition to the main historic building envelope.
However, there is some discrepancy in the proposed material finish as described within the application. The Design & Heritage Statement proposes the use of “white finished anodized double glazed aluminium windows”, as do the proposed elevations. However, the Application Form proposes the use of “UPVC double glazed frosted glass windows”. We maintain that the use of uPVC windows within the conservation area would be materially inappropriate, and would result in detriment to the appearance of a listed building. Replacement windows should utilise a metal frame where this would be more coherent with the character of the area, and would match the material treatment of the existing windows. This aspect of proposals should be clarified with the case officer, and we would recommend that alternatives to the installation of uPVC windows is encouraged.