Noya’s Kitchen, 7 St James’s Parade, City Centre, Bath
7 St James’s Parade forms part of a Grade II late 18th century section of terraced dwellings at 6-18 St James’s Parade, now with commercial/retail ground floors, situated within the commercial core of the City Centre sub area of the Bath City-wide conservation area and is within the World Heritage Site. 7 St James’s Parade currently contributes to the active commercial character of the streetscape with a traditional-style timber shopfront at ground floor, and the ground and lower ground floors are currently occupied by a restaurant. The upper floors form residential accommodation. The proposal focuses on the rear of the terrace, which has some restricted close to mid-range public visibility from Corn Street; the building rear remains largely unobscured from public view and views within the conservation area, with the addition of a single storey stairwell extension of an indeterminate age, although from map progressions could be of mid-20th century origin and therefore of limited historic interest.
There are a number of examples of later 20th century extensions of two storey height along the terrace, such as at the adjacent 8-11 St James’s Parade, which appear to be in a reconstituted stone and are of a square, heavy form. We maintain that by virtue of their scale and massing, these extensions constitute substantial additions to the terrace rear and are therefore considered an undesirable precedent for future alteration and development.
While BPT is supportive of an appropriately designed contemporary extension it is strongly recommended that the application adequately justifies the need for an extension of this size and appropriately defines the public benefit of this scheme. Considering the expansive proposed footprint of the extension, to sit in line with its neighbours, a single storey extension may be considered a more appropriate balance between meeting demand and limiting harm to the appearance and fabric of the listed building.
We have some heritage concerns regarding the proposed height and cumulative scale of the extension.
We therefore strongly recommend that further contextual elevations of the proposed extension are provided to more accurately show the proposal within its historic setting, and in particular in relation to other similar extensions along the terrace rear to allow for comparison in height and scale.
BPT encourages the consideration of a contemporary, ‘light touch’ addition to a listed building, where need is justified and harm is minimised. In this instance the use of glazing helps to soften the visual impact of the build-out of the terrace rear. The extension would read as an honest, later addition that is appropriately simple in form and profile to ensure it remains recessive to the main building. In comparison to the adjacent extensions which are visually heavy and overbearing, we consider that this approach is a notable improvement and of a quality that maintains the legibility of the historic façade, and less dominant in the townscape and setting.
We welcome the glazed link, which provides a visual break and distinction between the old and new. However, further details are required regarding the means of fixing to historic stonework, and in particular along with other details as outlined below to more competently assess the scale of harm to historic fabric, and balance this against the proposed public benefit of the scheme.
BPT maintains further concerns with regards to the loss of historic fabric through the opening up of the rear windows into doorways and significant alteration to the articulation of the rear façade of a listed building. There is minimal information provided regarding the historic value or current condition of these windows, such as surviving internal detailing. From the proposed plans, it appears that some historic stonework could be removed to widen the opening as well as dropping both window sills; this would need to be clarified. We strongly recommend that other options to facilitate the connection of the extension with the main building are appropriately considered to justify harm. Where possible, existing doorway openings could be used to provide a less materially harmful connector.
In light of the Climate Emergency, BPT welcomes the opportunity for the sensitive integration of microrenewables into the historic environment where this does not negatively compromise the established character and appearance of an area, or erode the special historic and architectural interest of a listed building. We are supportive of the principle of using the new extension’s roof to install a solar array, and strongly recommend that further information is provided regarding the type and material finish of the panels, and how they would be mounted and angled to ensure any impact on townscape views is appropriately mitigated. Furthermore, from the proposed elevations provided, it is unclear as to whether the extension’s roofline features a parapet behind which the panels are concealed; this would be clarified by the addition of illustrative sections.