Swifts Cottage, 2 Avonvale Place, Batheaston, Bath
2 Avondale Place forms part of a Grade II late 18th century terrace of houses, situated within the Batheaston village conservation and the indicative landscape setting of the World Heritage Site. The terrace runs perpendicular away from the main road that runs through Batheaston high street, but features as one of a number of ‘glimpsed’ public views along narrow, residential lanes from the main street. The 2 ½ storey terrace is modest with narrow, 2 bay frontages (excluding the much larger frontage of 4 Avondale Place further south) and double Roman tiled mansard roofs. A number of later alterations have been made across the terrace, including the installation of timber sash windows in a variety of fenestration types, and the painting/rendering of external facades, as seen at 4 Avondale Place and across the first floor of 2-3 Avondale Place. The lower floor of 2 Avondale Place was painted over, but this has since been removed. 1 & 3 Avondale Place retain painted house numbers above the front door and is indicative of the original, unpainted ashlar finish of the terrace.
BPT previously responded to application 21/03847/LBA for similar proposals for the application of a lime render over the existing “roughcast” render. This was subsequently amended to propose the removal of this render “and with consent and conditions, have any removal stone and repointing work repaired”. These proposals were granted listed building consent which is still extant.
We note that this latest application also proposes to retain and render over the existing, failing render system of an unspecified material mix, as referenced in the latest editions of the Heritage Statement and D&A Statement. However, the listed building application description is for the “external alterations for the removal of existing render on top half of building.” The inclusion of relevant methodologies regarding stone cleaning/repair and the application of Peelaway is further indicative of plans to remove the render, although we suggest that the discrepancies with the supporting statements are addressed for clarity.
We therefore continue to support works for the removal of this render from the upper floor, which clearly appears to be failing in the photos provided and is detrimental to the appearance of the listed building. The composition of the existing render remains unclear, but resembles pebble-dash which is typically cement-based and as such incompatible with the porous, breathable qualities of natural Bath stone. The retention of a cementitious render would therefore continue to impede the natural behaviours of the stonework and are often prone to failure, resulting in the trapping of moisture within the stone and the exacerbation of water ingress/damp issues. Removal would consequently improve the appearance of the building whilst also mitigating potential future harm to historic fabric. Should there be any cracks or stonework damage concealed under the existing render, it is recommended that these are repaired or dealt with at an earlier stage to prevent further damage or water ingress. We encourage regular maintenance and repairs, following the ‘stitch in time’ principle, to ensure that smaller issues are not allowed to progressively worsen or result in greater harm to historic fabric.
There continues to be limited information regarding the proposed replacement of the front guttering.