The Nest, 7 Bladud Buildings, City Centre, Bath

Conversion of existing closed nightclub to a public house; associated internal alterations including insertion of passenger lift; alterations to lower ground floor rear elevation and creation of door openings; installation…
Our Response

7 Bladud Buildings forms part of a Grade II mid-18th century terrace of townhouses situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of the approach to the Grade I Paragon, and cumulatively forms part of an architectural setpiece indicative of innovations in 18th century town planning utilising crescents and undulating terraces seen throughout the World Heritage Site. It forms part of a localised group of shopfronts and commercial units that broach the junction between Bath’s residential terraces to the north and north-east, and the southern approach to the city centre along Broad Street and George Street. The rear of 6-7 Bladud Buildings has been subject to significant later alteration, with the addition of a single storey extension across the entire extent of both buildings at lower ground floor level. Half of this extension formed part of the building’s nightclub premises. 7 Bladud Buildings retains a significantly elevated dual position, with its four storey rear elevation forming the steep backdrop of Walcot Street, although it is largely obscured by later development including the YMCA building.

The commercial shopfront character and appearance of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site is characterised by its retained vernacular appearance, use of traditional materials and construction methods, and bespoke design approach. Consequently, shop/commercial frontages are expected to adhere to planning guidance regarding the appropriate use of materials, colours, and a lack of illuminated signage, in keeping with the wider historic character of the city conservation area and World Heritage Site.

We note there is a lack of detail regarding the proposed colour or finish of the shopfront; we encourage further clarification as part of this application or a subsequent AR application, rather than being left to condition. The principle of hand-lettered signage is acceptable.

However, we are unable to support this application on grounds of the proposed use of illumination. BPT is resistant to the principle of illuminated signage. We feel this is contrary to Bath’s low-level lighting and distinctive night time character, and would be of harm to the appearance of a Grade II building. Considering the building’s prominent location on a busy approach into Bath city centre, with wide-ranging visibility in views on the southern Paragon approach and the Lansdown Road junction, we consider this volume of illumination to be unnecessary and unjustifiable in relation to proposed public benefit or the advertising needs of the premises. This would be an intrusive addition at odds with the established signage and lighting character of the conservation area. We encourage that the proposed illumination should be omitted from this application.

BPT does not typically comment on internal changes without the benefit of a site visit. We note that this application is largely similar to previous applications 18/04797/FUL & 18/04798/LBA for internal and external alterations to convert the nightclub to a public house, permitted in 2019. Therefore the principal for change of use and a number of the internal alterations has already been established.

However, we note that there is some confusion regarding what new internal changes are being proposed which are not easily identifiable in the existing and proposed floor plans, as well as what historic fabric has been retained internally. It would be useful to understand the extent to which the latest alterations have had an impact on the remaining historic fabric, particularly in respect of the partial removal of the lower ground wall to the garden for the bi-fold doors. As such, a fabric analysis drawing that identified to original plan form and the subsequent changes would be valuable.

We unfortunately cannot support this application in its current form on grounds that the use of external illumination would not preserve or enhance the appearance or character of the conservation area, and is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D8, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan. We strongly recommend this aspect of the scheme is omitted.

Application Number: 21/05416/LBA
Application Date: 06/12/2021
Closing Date: 21/01/2022
Address: The Nest, 7 Bladud Buildings, City Centre, Bath
Our Submission Status: Object