The planning application for this public convenience property simply states what work is planned for improving its present dilapidated state, namely:

Replace all existing windows, doors and frames, remove windows on west elevation and insert new front entrance, removal of door on north elevation, infill and insert new windows, new colour scheme and render. No indication is given of the function of the building when restored.

In response, the Society sent this letter to the Council Planning Department on Dec 7th, 2013:

The Bishopston Society is pleased to see that works are proposed to (hopefully) bring this building back into use. However we are still unsure of the practicality of the proposals and indeed of its intended new use.We do not see the need to repaint the existing brickwork.

We recommend that the existing brickwork is re-pointed to match the original and that bricks are reused from the minor demolitions to make good where required. We are concerned that repainting the original brickwork will detract from its original appearance within the Conservation Area. It is essential that the new finishes to the exterior are selected for their resistance to the vandalism and graffiti that a building such as this will inevitably attract. We suggest that the Bath stone elements which are proposed to be exposed in the finished work (both existing and proposed) are cleaned down to a consistent finish and coated with a clear anti-graffiti finish. Similarly that the proposed render is painted with a simple graffiti resistant coating, not least so that it can be easily cleaned down when graffiti does occur. We would not recommend a labour intensive decorative treatment to the brickwork jointing as this will not fit in to its context within the Conservation Area and would prove impractical to maintain if/when the building is grafitied.

There are one or two inconsistencies in the application form:

1.    The storage of waste and separation of recycling has not been allowed for in the design
2.    The change of building use has not been defined
3.    The application states that it does not involve the loss/gain of non-residential floorspace, whereas in fact the building clearly is intended for a new commercial use

In conclusion we would only recommend approval if the finishes proposed are appropriate to the Conservation Area and if the permission is conditioned to ensure that an achievable and easily maintainable specification is adopted.

We received a letter from the Council on Dec 30th 2013, stating that Permission had been granted for this application subject to certain conditions. These are essentially, as follows:

The rendering of the brickwork is unacceptable and this aspect of the scheme should be deleted to ensure an acceptable form of development.
Detailed drawings (including plans, elevations and sections) at the scale of 1:5; of the following shall be submitted to and be approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority before the relevant part of work is begun. The detail thereby approved shall be carried out in accordance with that approval.
a) All new windows and doors.The drawings shall show the new doors and windows in context and in relation to the external wall and mouldings.
b) New bathstone archway and pillars on west elevation.
c) New Drip (above window) and Dado moulding on north elevation.
Reason: In the interests of visual amenity and the character of the area.

Submissions of samples before specified elements started.
Samples of the pointing for the brickwork shall be submitted to and be approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority before the relevant parts of the work are commenced. The development shall be completed in accordance with the approved samples before the building is occupied.
Reason: In order that the external appearance of the building is satisfactory.

The full details of the conditions imposed by the Planning Department can be seen here: