Royal National Hospital For Rheumatic Diseases, Upper Borough Walls, City Centre, Bath
The Royal Mineral Water Hospital is a Grade II* Georgian former hospital situated in the core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The east wing was originally constructed in two phases in 1738-1742 and 1793-1795, with the west wing added in 1859-1862 with some rear and roof alterations in the 1960s and 1990s. A prominent building in Bath’s cityscape from the top of Milsom Street, BPT recognises the importance of finding a socially and economically sustainable function for this building to sustain its material and associated historical integrity.
We are grateful to have been included in pre-application consultation discussions with the architects, and we are pleased to see that our comments have been taken on board in the resulting submission.
We are supportive of the revised design for the extension. We maintain that the use of a ‘polite’, domestic-style development is more appropriate within its backland context. The reduction of the overall extension height through the relocation of the roof plant within the ground floor is strongly welcomed and allows for the improved articulation of the roof. The use of a domestic-style scale and layout is more in keeping with its streetscape setting, and better aligns with the neighbouring 1 Parsonage Lane.
We note that the glazed link has been significantly reduced in size, now an elevated ‘passage’ link running between the first floors. We are supportive of a ‘light touch’ approach in the extension’s interaction with the west wing.
The proposed traditional resurfacing of Parsonage Lane, and the Upper Borough Walls pavement, as part of the wider landscaping plans for the site constitutes a heritage gain which would improve the character of the public realm within the conservation area. However, we suggest that resurfacing works should implement a design in which the channel drainage is situated in the middle of the lane in order to better reinstate the original medieval characteristics of Parsonage Lane.
We feel this scheme is much-improved, and we are supportive of the revisions made to the design of the extension with regards to its reduced height, scale, and massing, and use of materials.