Roseberry Road, Widcombe
The proposed increase in height is unacceptable and unjustified and should be omitted from the application. An increase of 960mm is a significant amount (not a minor increase as stated by the applicants) and will cause further harm to the local domestic scale townscape and the wider World Heritage Site as the scheme will become even more dominant, intrusive and out of scale to its context, particularly relating to the corner with Windsor Bridge Road. The Trust objected to the main applications for this site based on the scale, height, massing of these buildings, in particular those fronting the site. This application only serves to exacerbate the visual harm we have identified and create an even more imposing and out-of-context corner frontage to Lower Bristol Road. Below is a quote from our original objection which still stands:
“Height & location – The committee consider that the 7-8 actual storey height of the nodal building as being inappropriate for this site and Roseberry Place as a whole. The Trust will have an ‘in principle’ objection to any proposed development at this height. We are aware that the use of modifiers to the recommended height for this zone, as per the B&NES Building Heights Strategy (2010), is at the discretion of the local planning authority, but is also subject to justification. Development of the site immediately to the north of the Roseberry Place site may lead to demand for another building of similar height in order to create visual symmetry. Furthermore the site at the corner of Windsor Bridge is an existing and natural nodal point. ‘Landmark’ buildings have been approved in the BWR scheme, and justified specifically in order to provide riverside ‘markers’. The 8 and 9 storey BWR buildings are further east, bordering the riverbanks where it was felt these heights could be accommodated without undue harm to the WHS. A potential additional ‘cluster’ of taller buildings at this major road junction away from the riverside would be harmful to the visual amenity of the area and views to, from and through the location situated in the World Heritage Site and would create an unwelcome precedent. In any case, the proposed BWR buildings on the other side of Windsor Bridge Road are 4 and 6 storeys and represent a ‘step down’ transition from the very tall BWR buildings further east. A ‘step up’ again to 7/8 storeys in this scheme would be entirely inappropriate to the local townscape character.
The proposed variation, by virtue of the increase in height harms the setting and views of multiple designated heritage assets. This development would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area, and would fail to enhance the distinctiveness and character of the local townscape. We believe that the special qualities of the World Heritage Site would be compromised by such development. The scheme would be contrary to the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 12 (Conserving and enhancing the historic environment) of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), policies; B1, B4 and CP6 of the B&NES Core Strategy and policies CP6, D.1, D.2, HE1, B4 and BD1 of the Placemaking Plan. We would therefore recommend that the increase in height element of the application is refused.