Play Area, Sydney Gardens, Bathwick
Sydney Gardens is a Grade II Designated Park and Garden, formerly a Georgian pleasure grounds now managed as a public park, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site. It is additionally the setting of numerous Grade II and Grade II* buildings and infrastructure ancillary to the Garden’s original function, including the Grade II Edwardian ladies’ and gentlemen’s public lavatories.
BPT has previously supported the principle of this scheme, and we continue to support the proposed maintenance, conservation, and reinterpretation of both the park landscape and the numerous listed heritage assets it contains.
The Trust is supportive of the decision to locate all interpretation panels within the Temple of Minerva. In particular, the exclusion of the “interpretative illustrations” either side of the Loggia entrance will help to retain the existing aesthetic significance of the structure whilst maintaining the full extent of the sightlines from the Loggia down the central path through the Gardens without distraction.
We maintain that the new-build café could be better positioned away from the northern boundary to reduce its visual impact.
Edwardian Ladies Lavatory:
We are pleased to see that the potential use of the Edwardian Ladies Lavatory has been described as a “Discovery Room” with potential for significant educational and communal benefit.
Whilst the repositioning of the toilet has been consented (see applications 18/03452/REG13 and 18/03451/REG03), we continue to seek clarification regarding the designation status of the toilet if it is moved. We are concerned that dismantling and rebuilding in a new position may compromise its listing status and we would wish to see correspondence with Historic England securing its designation.
We are pleased to see the implementation of new railings throughout the park, including along the canal path. However, despite positive efforts to acknowledge the significance of the railway path through resurfacing and step improvement measures, we would continue to recommend the installation of suitable railings along the east and west boundaries of the railway line. The existing timber and wire mesh fencing intended to restrict access to the railway is visually detrimental to the quality of the landscaped gardens and the setting of the Grade II* listed balustrades to the sides of the railway. We would therefore encourage the replacement of this fencing with more permanent, quality railings as part of the wider scheme of works.
Additionally, we feel that there has been a missed opportunity to maintain a consistent appearance in the proposed railing designs. Three distinct styles of railings have been proposed along the canal path, to the rear of the café, and around the play area; we feel it would be beneficial to the overall aesthetic harmony of the Gardens to retain a continuity of railing design, potentially derived from the railings visible outside of the Holburne Museum.