Upper Floor Offices, 15 Kingsmead Square, City Centre, Bath
15 Kingsmead Square is a Grade II early 18th century terraced house, now currently in use as offices with a retail ground floor and shopfront, situated within the commercial core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of the original 1727 development by John Strahan outside of Bath’s medieval city walls, indicative of a progressive movement of Georgian expansion to the east and west. Whilst four storeys in height, there is a marked disparity between the parapet height of No. 15 with neighbouring four storey properties at No. 17-18. It is further noted that the second floor cornice is truncated, likely indicative of the post-war reconstruction of the principal façade. The rear roof slope and parapet of the building is of limited visibility in glimpsed backland views of Kingsmead Square from Monmouth Street.
We are not opposed to the principle of providing much-needed residential housing within the city centre, although we maintain a preference for the provision of housing for local residents and key workers, rather than further short-term holiday lets. We note that the floor space measurements as proposed are only just compliant with the national space standards. For instance, Flat 1 would be compliant for 1 resident, but not 2; Flat 2 would be compliant for 3 residents, but not 4. We understand that whilst the national space standards are not included within the Local Plan and as such are not a requirement, they continue to be a nationally-applicable demonstration of best practice for the provision of housing with appropriate levels of private amenity.
We have some concerns regarding the proposed material alterations to the rear elevation, in particular the extension of the existing rooflight into a door to access the flat roof of the rear extension. The D&A Statement indicates that there is evidence of a former dormer that has since been infilled, but we maintain that there is a lack of information as to the proposed, and potentially previous, impact on the historic parapet and guttering. The proposed doorway would cut through the parapet and part of the guttering and as such would be a notable alteration to the architectural form of the building. It is also unclear as to how the function of the gutter valley would be retained, which is an important factor to consider to ensure appropriate water flow and drainage is retained.