Southwest House, Weston Road, Lower Weston, Bath
Southwest House forms part of a pair of Grade II early 19th century dwellings, situated within the Bath Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. The dwellings jointly form a symmetrical 5 bay façade in Bath stone ashlar, with a central bay of blind window openings that follows the dividing wall and chimney flues between both dwellings. The pair are well set back from Weston Road within generous strips of private garden space running north-south; as such, the building frontage is entirely obscured from public view by its green setting and mature planting along the southern boundary, with views of the principal façade being limited to certain parts of Linden Gardens. From further north along Linden Gardens, the rear façade is also of limited visibility in a more informal rubble stone treatment. Each dwelling includes a rear stack extension, which appear to be later, individual additions due to slight differences in their scale.
In response to the Climate Emergency, BPT is generally supportive of the principle of slimlite double glazing installation where this would sustain the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building, and sensitively respond to the identified character and appearance of the historic environment. We maintain the importance of the sympathetic upgrade of traditional and listed buildings to better meet modern standards of living and ensure the continued, “optimum viable use” of Bath’s historic housing stock.
We are therefore supportive in-principle of proposals for the installation of slimlite double glazing, where this would be of a form, profile, and finish coherent with the special interest of the listed building and its setting.
The D&A Statement indicates that the existing windows are likely “of recent provenance rather than being original”. Where this has been verified by an accredited professional, the proposed replacement of the existing windows would result in NO loss of historic fabric, and would constitute less than substantial harm to a listed building outweighed by the public benefits of the improved thermal performance and sustainable use of a listed building, particularly where considered as part of a ‘whole house’ approach in which interventions are considered holistically across the entirety of the building, as well as in conjunction with other available measures (eg. insulation).
Based on the drawings submitted, it appears that the proposed replacement windows would match those existing like-for-like (see the existing elevations submitted, with no reference to proposed elevations). However, considering the mix of fenestration styles, particularly across the principal façade, there is a missed opportunity to reinstate a single fenestration style across the building where the historic multi-pane sashes original to the building’s design and construction have been replaced with single pane sashes of a later style. Whilst this would somewhat unbalance Southwest House’s visual relationship with the neighbouring Eastcote in relation to the fenestration treatment of the second floor, we consider that this could be an incentive for similar works at the neighbouring property in the future.