Prospect House, Prospect Road, Widcombe, Bath
Prospect House is an unlisted late 20th century dwelling, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of the indicative setting of a high concentration of Grade II buildings to the east at Macaulay Buildings. The dwelling is set back from the eastern side of the road on a steeply sloped driveway; as such whilst it is relatively screened by roadside planting, it retains a slightly elevated position over the road. This area is of notable sensitivity due to the extent of open landscape views to the west and north looking across the Georgian City. Key views are from Widcombe View and the rear garden elevations of Macaulay Buildings, but a number of properties along Prospect Road are also opened up to expansive views and as such alterations should be considered in relation to how these may affect or appear in wider landscape views across the World Heritage Site.
The use of timber cladding is considered to be more appropriate within rural or agricultural locations. In this case, the character of Widcombe Hill and the surrounding area is of a low density in which the built environment is broken up with large areas of undeveloped fields and woodland. The character of Prospect Road is narrow and well-planted, resulting in the feeling of an enclosed country lane. Within this context, the use of timber cladding is therefore felt to appropriately respond to its setting.
However, its contextual appropriateness is dependent on its colour and finish. We express a preference for a cladding that is allowed to naturally weather and fade to allow for a more recessive and complementary finish (the proposed elevations indicate the use of a “vertical weathering larch timber cladding”).
We recommend further details are provided regarding the type of render to be used across the external elevations.
Whilst we recognise the potential visibility of the proposed PV arrays on the western roof slope, we highlight the associated gains including generation of ‘green’ energy, improved sustainability credentials, and reduced energy costs for residents, particularly prudent in light of the cost of living crisis. The installation of PV would result in less than substantial harm, outweighed by public benefit. However, we recommend that further details are provided regarding PV design and finish; a monochrome panel in a matte finish is recommended to ensure a non-reflective and subdued appearance in accordance with Policy SCR2 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan.
We have more serious heritage concerns regarding the proposed alterations to the west elevation to extend the first-floor windows. This would result in a huge expanse of glazing, breaking through the eaves line of the building and dominating the building frontage. There is a risk of increased light spill in landscape views from the west as a result glare and reflectivity, particularly in the evenings. We note that the first floor as existing already offers access out onto the balcony; it is therefore unclear as to what justification there is for the proposed scale of glazing in this location, and we strongly recommend consideration of a reduced window/door size.