West Lodge, Fox Hill, Combe Down, Bath
West Lodge is an unlisted late 19th century detached cottage situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The cottage is a simple, symmetrically orientated dwelling in rubble stone, although this symmetry has already been somewhat unbalanced by the addition of a modern single storey extension to the east end. Views of the principal elevation of the cottage remain clear in views on the northern approach along Fox Hill and positively contribute to the semi-rural character of the streetscape. The cottage marks the transition between the low density and green character of the Perrymead area as it merges into the higher density and more suburban area to the south, defined by larger areas of new development such as Mulberry Park.
We have some concerns regarding the proposed first floor extension as proposed and how this would relate to the main, historic body of the building. The proposed extension would be an over dominant addition due to its extension of the existing roof ridge and forward projection beyond the established elevational line of the main building. As such, development would erode the legibility of the original building and introduce a new visual focal point in the form of a protruding gable end.
Should the principle of a two storey extension in this context be considered acceptable, we strongly encourage that any extension should be recessive in scale and setting in relation to the original building to be more clearly legible as a later addition. The extension should sit below the established ridge line of the original building as well as allowing for the retention of the historic eaves.
We recognise that the proposed footprint of the ground floor extension (likely dating to the mid-20th century) has been used to guide the proposed scale of development. However, we maintain that the use of a protruding form with a wraparound interaction with the north-eastern corner of the building would be of increased detriment to the appearance of the building and would push the extension forward in streetscape views. We recommend further consideration of the opportunity to recess the extension at ground and first floor level back from the principal elevation. Alternatively, the first floor extension could be recessed back rather than following the retained ground floor footprint, better mitigating the extension’s visibility and prominence in views from Fox Hill.
The opportunity for the more sympathetic cladding of the existing ground floor extension, currently timber cladding with a darker brown stain, is positive. However, the suitability of timber cladding remains dependent on further material details regarding the appearance, colour, and finish of the cladding proposed. The use of a natural, untreated timber that would be allowed to weather is preferable and would be more coherent with the natural stone palette of the original building.