The Malthouse, 17 – 20 Sydney Buildings, Bathwick, Bath
The Malthouse is a Grade II mid-19th century malt house, now used as offices, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms an unusual, industrial addition to the otherwise predominantly residential streetscape context of Sydney Buildings, and contributes to the grouped setting of a high concentration of Grade II mid- to late 19th century terraced housing. The street-facing single storey elevation is comparatively plain; the western elevation overlooking the Kennet and Avon Canal increases in height to two storeys with a series of arched window openings, and may be better described as the principal elevation where it retains its historic relationship with the setting of the canal as part of its industrial heritage.
BPT is supportive of the opportunity to implement sensitive energy efficiency retrofits and microrenewable installations where these are considered to be congruous to the appearance, character, and setting of a listed building and the wider character and appearance of the conservation area. The principal of EV charging points in this area is considered acceptable.
We consider that the proposal is of less than substantial visual harm to the building, and would be largely screened from public view by the section of boundary wall that runs along the pavement line. However, we do have some concerns that the proposals constitute unnecessary harm to historic fabric due to the requirement for fixings and cable holes into the stonework. We continue to strongly recommend that alternative freestanding options are considered, such as floor-mounted EV charging points which have been used elsewhere in Bath (see Grade II Maltings Depository, Lower Bristol Road). If floor-mounted charging points are not viable, it would be useful for this justification to be provided to inform the planning balance accordingly.
As an additional note, we note that the D&A Statement indicates that the “power supply to the second EV charging point would need to be determined by the business which takes on the use. It would be expected that the unit would again be supplied with power by a cable entering the rear of the unit, as such a second hole would need to be drilled through the wall and the cable would be fed from within the low-level trunking in DKA’s office and then down to the relevant business below.” It appears uncertain as to whether this aspect of the proposals has been finalised, and we emphasise that all material works should be clearly outlined as part of this application to ensure that the proposed scope of impact to historic fabric is correctly realised. We encourage that these works in relation to the second charging point, should the principle of a wall-mounted EV charging point be deemed acceptable, should be appropriately finalised with the case officer.