13 John Street, Bath
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An application has been submitted to Bath and North East Somerset Council for a new development of a block of six flats above a ground floor retail unit, creating an overbearing building with four storeys above street level in this narrow and quirky side street in Bath's historic city centre - 6-7 John Street, Bath BA1 2JL (opposite Adam Gallery and Mr B’s Bookshop).
Virtual image - Proposed development of 6 - 7 John St.
Whilst a considered and 'proportionate' development of this site could greatly enhance the vicinity, the current proposal with four storeys, is one storey too high and would have an imposing and overbearing effect on the general ambiance of the street. It would substantially cut out light in this narrow lane restricting the sense of space rather than opening up this characterful and interesting part of the city centre.
An alternative development of a three storey building, similar in scale to the Salamader Pub and the Firehouse restauraunt, a little farther down John Street - as indeed the original building at 6 -7 John Street almost certainly was, would be an infinitely more acceptable proposal. The ‘ghost’ of this original building can clearly been seen on the side wall of No.5 (see image) – for more detail please see Kirsten Elliott’s Heritage Statement at the bottom of this page.
Wall of No. 5 John Street - clearly showing the imprint of the original building at No.6
Proposed - 4 storey building
Alternative proposal - proportionate to the original building and thereby sensitive to character of the street
'its only one storey bigger than the original building, can't have that much effect...'
The impact on the street and surrounding area must not be under estimated.
The combined frontage of the proposed building at 6 -7 John Street is approaching a quarter of the whole of John Steet where it is built on both sides - (23% measured from the location plan).
In essence ‘over development’ here - with the extra storey across such a large span and the consequential loss of light and oppressive nature of the proposed building - could spell the difference between John Street evolving into more of a gloomy ‘back alley’ - basically used as a delivery bay for Jolly’s and Waterstones, or alternatively into an interesting, idiosyncratic and vital part of the city in its own right
Site Location Plan - shows size of development relative to street
Difference in roof height from original building - [Dark grey region] over nearly a quarter of John Street!
It is well known that there is a significant shortage of housing across many parts of the country as a whole and that Bath and North East Somerset Council is under pressure to find new housing within its region in this context. However a proportionate development here which would create four new flats, alongside the related application (17/00815/FUL) to create a further four flats less than 100m away at No. 8 Old King Street, would be going some way to respond to this situation whilst maintaining, protecting and even enhancing the special and historic nature of this part of the 'world heritage', city.
Location plan showing proximity of the two sites -
(The application for the conversion of 8 Old King Street creates four new flats within existing listed building stucture and therefore does not threaten the vicinity in the way that the John Street proposal does)
**Under ‘Nature of submission’ don’t forget to click the top bullet point: ‘Inform the Authority that you Object to the Application'
To view the objections received so far click here: Objections Received
The broad objections to the current proposals expressed here have the support of Bath Preservation Trust and Bath Hertitage Watchdog - we wish to thank them for their assistance
** if you have any questions regarding issues relating to this application please do get in touch with us - we are more than happy to discuss details or concerns.
A longer term vision for for John Street would be to enhance and nurture the character which is already present. This could include re-instatement of the cobble stones (they are still there and in good condition) as well as improvements to the pavements and enforcement of the access only status to make the street more pedestrian friendly and inviting to explore. This would reflect and enrich the environment here as well as in the surrounding streets, continuing the culture of Queen Street - which in days gone by was simply a part of John Street and not individually named (see Kirsten Elliott).
View of Queen Street through to John Street - a porportioned developemnet in John Street along the lines of these buildings would compliment this area