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.
We appreciate the proposed application of a smooth lime-based render and wash to improve the existing appearance of the ‘pebble dashed’ upper floor. However, we do have some concerns regarding the continued application of render over historic fabric, and the possible material issues which may be exacerbated. Natural historic fabrics are typically more permeable and therefore incompatible with cementitious based renders. Assuming the existing roughcast render is cement-based, this will continue to impede the building’s ability to ‘breathe’, and could exacerbate damp issues; we therefore strongly recommend that the existing render is removed, rather than being retained under a new layer.
Furthermore, 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.
We recommend that further details regarding material, finish, and proposed fixings of the features to the front elevation (‘front doorbell, house name plaque, safety light and window bar for flowers’) are provided. We note that the proposed elevation appears to show a new gutter, although this is not mentioned as part of works.