A sensitive extra care development in a World Heritage Site.
This 50 dwelling extra care development scheme is situated within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bath, just east of the historic city centre.
The site’s immediate context is semi-rural, boasting parkland and picturesque scenery with its western site boundary flanked by Lam Brook and a wealth of large mature trees. The setting immediately provided challenges and required a sensitive design approach.
The design team worked closely with Bath and North East Somerset Council to refine and push for a proposal that would create a specialised community for those over 65, offering flexible care and support, independence and wellbeing.
Communal facilities include a restaurant, residents’ lounge, community room, laundry and guest suite alongside 50 self-contained residential dwellings which maximise the scenic setting.
The proposal for two ‘hubs’ evolved following critical site analysis, preserving a key vista across the site to the city centre and parkland beyond.
Scale and massing studies developed four-storey buildings, responding to rising site topography from north to south.
The development poses a reduced presence to the London Road than at ground level due to the due to difference in level change and mature trees, also shielding dwellings from negative attributes from passing traffic. Pedestrian links through the site were introduced, enhancing accessibility for users and reconnecting surrounding residential areas and parkland that had been split by increasing traffic along the A4.
Materiality is always contentious within Bath due to strict guidelines regarding the World Heritage Site status. A palette of natural stone, slate, render and clay tiles was used to effectively integrate within the surrounding context.
Full planning permission was achieved within seven months; a momentous victory considering the contention of the site and its location.
Full planning permission gained in seven months on a contentious site in Bath is highly commendable.
McCarthy and Stone