Unit 2 Gerald Rich Locally Grown Produce, Victoria House, St Saviour’s Road, Larkhall, Bath
Victoria House is an unlisted 19th century terraced building, now in use as a shop, situated within the Larkhall character area of the Bath City-Wide Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of a significant high street of local shops and businesses at the historic core of the 19th century Larkhall district. The building occupies a central position, slightly offset from the junction between St Saviour’s Road, Upper Lambridge Street, Brookleaze Buildings, and Lambridge Buildings. Victoria House as a whole is made up of a pair of buildings, now featuring two separate retail ‘units’ at ground floor (Unit 1 & Unit 2); the building retains some visual cohesion due to its original symmetry of form and the continuity of its shared Bath stone ashlar façade and mansard roofline, although later alterations to the first floor window reveals and the ground floor (likely as part of the later insertion of shopfronts) have somewhat unbalanced this original architectural harmony. ‘Unit 2’ retains a dual frontage shopfront across its corner elevation; the shopfront surround features a first-floor cornice and framing pilasters around the windows. Based on this traditional detailing, as well as the presence of later blockwork at ‘Unit 1’, it seems apparent that this shopfront predates its neighbour.
The single pane window in the south-east corner elevation appears to be a later addition and as such is attributed lesser historic significance. Creation of a new access through this external wall would result in some loss of historic stonework; however, this must be weighed against the notable public benefits of the creation of a wheelchair access into the shop and associated improvements in accessibility. We therefore consider that this less than substantial harm would be outweighed by demonstrated public benefit.
We note further associated additions including a canopy awning over the proposed access and a new hanging sign on the west elevation. Considering the traditional character and appearance of this local high street within the conservation area, we encourage the use of signage that would enhance and be coherent with the visual amenities of the streetscape. We therefore recommend that further details are provided regarding the proposed materials, appearance, and finish of the awning and the hanging sign, either as part of this application or as a separate AR application.