Tylehurst, 7 Sion Hill, Lansdown
7 Sion Hill is a Grade II late Georgian detached house situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site. It is screened from the road by a series of Grade II mid to late-Georgian detached residential properties. However, the rear of the property is highly visible from the Cotswold Way running through the High Common on the northern slope of the River Avon; therefore, the rear elevation could be considered as equally visually significant as the front, and any potential changes need to be considered with regards to their impact on the wider Bath landscape.
BPT does not normally comment on internal alterations. However, in this instance we are pleased to see that the existing historic plasterwork will be appropriately maintained in its original position as documented in the Heritage Statement provided. We also commend the selection of permeable, natural insulation choices such as wood fibre board and lime plaster that will harmoniously work with the building’s historic fabric whilst improving its thermal performance. However, we notice that the type of insulation intended to be used in the ceilings has not been specified, and would recommend that a natural form of insulation, whether rigid or loose, be used.
We do not object to the demolition of the modern entrance porch, and the alterations to the modern kitchen extension; both areas of the building were constructed in 2008, and therefore no historic fabric will be lost in their either partial or full removal. We feel that the proposed garage utilises sympathetic materials and is of a low, subservient height, and does not obscure the historic core of the building; therefore, its construction poses little harm to the fabric or setting of a listed building.
Considering the proposed scale of the basement, we would emphasise that any impact on the structural and archaeological integrity of the listed building needs to be suitably justified and mitigated. Whilst the extension’s location under the driveway and underpinning to the eastern kitchen extension is preferable, we notice that some of the underpinning continues to the northern elevation of 7 Sion Hill. We would favour a ‘free-standing’ basement; however, should this underpinning be adequately justified, the Trust would advise the use of stepped underpinning tailored to the existing historic foundations. Despite the basement extension’s location within a less obvious historical portion of the site, due to the proposed depth and scale of excavation we would appreciate the inclusion of an archaeological report in the application, or an archaeological watching brief within the scheme of works.
We are also concerned regarding the visual impact of the proposed PV panels. BPT encourages the sensitive implementation of micro-renewables in historic buildings and places, and we support the installation of a ground source heat pump; however, the PV panels are located on the southern roof slope facing out to High Common and down to the River Avon. We feel that there is potential for this site to be significantly visible within the wider Bath landscape, and would like further information regarding the design of the PV panels in accordance with Policy SCR2 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan to ensure minimal impact on the setting of the conservation area and World Heritage site.