Ye Grange, High Street, Bathampton, Bath
Ye Grange is a Grade II house, situated within the Bathampton village conservation area, and the indicative landscape setting of the World Heritage Site. The building is attributed to 1661 on a lintel over the front door, but this is indicated to be a modern addition; the building appears to have undergone a series of alterations through the 19th century. The building retains a prominent position up against the roadside; whilst closely abutted by neighbouring development to the east, the double gable end remains publicly visible, indicating the intersection of the building’s original mansard roof with the later pitched roof addition to the rear. Somewhat more significantly, from the west approach part of the shallower-pitch rear roof slope is visible as part of the western gable end. It is on this roof slope that it is proposed to install a “7,200kW PV Solar Panel System.”
In principle, BPT encourages the installation of solar PVs where they are part of whole home decarbonisation along with behaviour change, and energy efficiency measures such as draughtproofing and improved insulation, and where this would not compromise historic fabric, the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building, or the character and appearance of the conservation area. Typically, the inner roof valley is recommended as a suitable location for installation where panels could be concealed from public view.
In this case, we recognise that part of the pitched roof is of limited visibility in close-range, westerly views along the high street, and as such installation may have a resulting visual impact on the building. However, due to the highly constricted nature of roofscape views, limited to a narrow range of public visibility outside 21 High Street, the rear roof slope remains a lesser significance aspect of the building which does not feature in key views of the principal street-facing façade. The rear pitched roof is further attributed to a later addition to the earlier building, indicated to be Georgian/Regency in the D&A Statement, and does not retain its historic roofing surface. We would therefore consider any harm to the building be less than substantial.
We further highlight the associated gains including generation of ‘green’ energy, improved sustainability credentials, and potentially reduced energy costs for residents, particularly prudent in light of the cost of living crisis. The installation of PV needs to be considered as part of a planning balance between visibility in views, and any potential impact, and the public benefits resulting from improved sustainability and off-grid energy provision in accordance with B&NES net zero objectives.
However, we strongly recommend that further details are provided regarding PV design and finish; we maintain a monochrome panel in a matte finish is preferred to ensure a non-reflective and subdued appearance in accordance with Policy SCR2 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan.