Pizzarella, 15 Chelsea Road, Newbridge, Bath
15 Chelsea Road forms part of an unlisted late 19th/early 20th century terrace situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The street historically featured a mix of shops through the 20th century and today remains an important local high street in the Newbridge area, which is otherwise predominantly residential in use and character. The terrace is relatively modest in scale and form at two storeys in Bath stone ashlar, which steps down the gentle north-south slope towards Newbridge Road. It includes attractive finishing details, such as cornicing around the parapet and Corinthian pilasters framing the first-floor windows. 15 Chelsea Road occupies a corner position with a chamfered dual frontage; a carving of what appears to be ‘1888’ at first floor level likely indicates the building’s original construction, in keeping with the terrace’s architectural design and finish. Doe to No. 15’s dual aspect and elevated position in views on the southern approach along Chelsea Road, it therefore remains a visually prominent aspect of the streetscape and part of an attractive terrace that forms part of Bath’s 19th and 20th century expansion out from its Georgian centre.
We therefore have some concerns regarding the visual impact of the proposed insertion of a metal flue on the street-facing roof slope of the building. The proposed flue is a large, incongruous addition in stainless steel which sits in sharp contrast to the general material and architectural appearance of the terrace. The installation of a flue in this area would introduce an unwelcome backland services feature in a well-used local centre. The flue may result in increased noise or emissions in this area which would have an adverse impact on the character and amenities of the street scene. We therefore consider this treatment of the street-facing frontage to be inappropriate would not preserve or enhance the character or appearance of this area of the conservation area.
Whilst we recognise the need for the flue, we highlight that other properties along the terrace have installed similar infrastructure (eg. flues, pipework, air conditioning units) on the rear elevation where this is of reduced public visibility and lesser architectural significance than the more finely-finished street-facing façade. Furthermore, whilst the application form indicates that “the takeaway extractor fan had to be replaced by new one”, it is unclear as to why the new fan could not continue to use the existing means of ventilation, or replace the existing ventilation system/flue in a similar location. As such, the flue location as retrospectively proposed has not been appropriately justified in terms of why this position was originally selected and what other options may have been available, and of lesser visual harm.