Newton Hurst, Darlington Road, Bathwick
Newton Hurst is an unlisted, 1960s 3-bed 2 ½ storey house of neutral architectural significance, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site, overlooking the Kennet and Avon canal to the rear. It is additionally situated opposite 2 Canal Cottages, a Grade II early 19th century vernacular dwelling which originally functioned as a lengthsman’s cottage.
The Trust does not object to the principle of development on the site. However, we maintain some strong concerns regarding the application’s potential impact on the setting of the Kennet and Avon canal due to the increased development of the site with disproportionate volumes of glazing to the rear elevation of the proposed dwellings. The existing character of this section of the canal is of a semi-rural, low-density appearance. Buildings visible along the east bank are largely of a modest scale and design, utilising rustic boundary treatments either in the form of rubble stone boundary walls, or the planting of hedgerows and mature trees through which houses ‘peek’ out.
Conversely, this application proposes the insertion of two overtly contemporary three storey dwellings, with large panels of glazing across the rear elevation. We are therefore concerned that the proposed design will be incongruous with the established character and appearance of the canal side, and that this amount of glazing and light spill will have a detrimental impact on the view of the canal from the footpath.
Furthermore, we note the proposed replacement of the western boundary hedging with a close-boarded timber fence, which will further expose the proposed development and result in a harsh, visual ‘gap’ in an otherwise unbroken, verdant screen along the embankment.
Consequently, we are surprised that no contextual elevations have been provided in which the proposed development should be situated within its green surroundings for the benefit of the LPA’s assessment, despite submissions of the proposed street scene. We would therefore strongly recommend that an improved understanding of the site’s sensitive, historic setting is demonstrated before this application can progress further in accordance with Policies B1, B4, and BD1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan. We would assert that despite the treatment of the western ‘rear’ elevations as secondary to those facing onto the roadside, these elevations are equally, if not more, visually significant due to their proposed contribution to the character and appearance of the Kennet and Avon Canal.