Miles House, Bathwick Hill, Bathwick, Bath
Miles House is a Grade II listed mid-19th century detached villa, which has since been converted from offices to four residential apartments (see 18/02440/FUL & 18/02441/LBA), situated within the Bath City-Wide Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. Formerly Bathwick Rectory, the building continues to occupy a prominent corner position overlooking Bathwick Hill, and the Kennet & Avon Canal to the east. It retains the full extent of its original garden setting, though the front half of the garden has since been hard landscaped to create a car park. Its original boundary treatment along the roadside has also been retained in the form of a finely-detailed stepped wall in Bath stone ashlar, with corbelling to the pier capping, recessed moulding, and the use of a sweeping coping as the wall progresses up the hill.
Planning permission has previously been granted for the erection of detached 4 storey villa adjacent to Miles House (see 19/03362/FUL), which has now expired. It is noted that the design of the proposed villa building largely matches the design drawings that formed part of this previous planning permission, now with some minor amendments such as the inclusion of microrenewables to meet B&NES current sustainable construction requirements.
In response to the Climate Emergency, BPT is supportive of the principle to integrate energy efficiency measures and microrenewables where this would sustain and enhance the established character and appearance of the conservation area, and appropriately reflect and reinforce the special interest of a listed building and its setting.
Where the proposed panels would be installed as part of a new-build ‘villa’, there is a missed opportunity to better incorporate the panels into the design and appearance of the building and ensure a cohesive appearance against the proposed finish of the roofscape, such as setting panels flush into the roof surface, or consideration of alternative technologies such as solar slates. The current proposed positioning and layout of the panels across the eastern hipped roof profile has resulted in a somewhat messy and over-cluttered appearance across the east elevation where this looks directly onto the Grade II Miles House. Further provision of material details regarding the proposed appearance and finish of the panels are recommended in accordance with Policy SCR2 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan.
We additionally have some concerns regarding the delivery of suitable levels of biodiversity net gain on the site. The Biodiversity Net Gain Assessment summarises a -2.87% net loss of biodiversity due to the loss of scrub coverage along the eastern boundary line. It is unclear as to whether the proposed off-site provision of 43 trees in an as-yet unspecified location has been factored into this final calculation. The position of the proposed villa up against the eastern boundary would also result in the loss of 17 trees with detriment to the site’s overall appearance in streetscape views, as well as loss of screening between this site and the adjacent Grade II terrace at Dunsford Place. In accordance with Policy NE3a, “development will only be permitted where no net loss and appropriate net gain of biodiversity is secured”; we emphasise the importance of maximising on-site mitigation planting and enhancement works to address the adverse impact of development, with the added benefit of maximising green space on the site for the use of future occupiers.
The site would cumulatively be occupied by anywhere between 2-4 residents per flat, at a maximum total of 16 residents in the entire block. Accounting for similar conversion works that have already taken place at Miles House (up to 14-16 residents maximum), the site may accommodate up to 32 residents total. In relation to the scale of the site and the associated garden facilities as proposed, we question whether this would provide “adequate and usable private or communal amenity space and defensible space” for future occupiers in accordance with Policy D6. There is a risk that the high residential density being accommodated in proposals would be considered to result in the overdevelopment of this site.