May – June 2011

Weeks 19-22

11/01505/FUL – YMCA International House, Broad Street Place

Installation of 6no. Vodafone and O2 3G antennas, face mounted upon yoke arm brackets upon the roof of the building and 2no. shared radio equipment cabinets located within an internal room and ancillary development thereto at City of BathYMCA, Broad Street Place, Bath, BA1 5LH

OBJECT Whilst the proposed roof mounted antenna would not be visible from ground level, an antenna of this size and associated equipment would be visible in views from surrounding buildings and across the city. The antenna equipment would be visually intrusive have a detrimental impact on the townscape and neither preserve or enhance the character of the conservation area. This application is therefore contrary to Policies D2, D4, BH1 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan, PPS5, and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and should be refused.

11/01835/LBA – The West Gate, 38 Westgate Street

External alterations to decorations to front elevation.

OBJECT The Trust objects strongly to this proposal to paint the render grey at ground floor level. This is an inappropriate colour for elevations of traditional listed Bath stone buildings in the conservation area. It is the stated intention to ‘give prominence’ to the elevation, however this is contrary to the design aesthetic of Bath terraces which are intended to be uniform, and harmonious. A grey painted surface would be incongruous in the street scene and add yet another layer of harmful modern paint to the surface of the stone and render. The proposal therefore would have a harmful impact on the architectural significance of the listed building and neither preserve or enhance the character of the conservation area. The proposal fails to comply with Policy D2, D4, BH1, BH2 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan and PPS5, in particular polices HE7.4, HE7.5 HE9.5, and HE10, and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and should therefore be refused.

11/01660/FUL – 62 High Street, Twerton, Bath

Erection of 1no dwelling following demolition of existing garage at land rear of 62 High Street, Twerton

OBJECT Principally, the Trust objects to the demolition of the front wall to no. 62, since this feature is characteristic of buildings along this section of the High Street. 62 High Street forms part of a terrace of houses which are a more recent addition to the area, appearing to have been built in the 1950s or 1960s. The boundary wall to the property is one of the only surviving elements of the original buildings which occupied the site, and the rubble stone reflects the more vernacular architecture characteristic of the area. 64 High Street has already demolished its own boundary wall in order to create off-street parking, and so the demolition of an original boundary wall, as proposed in this application, serves only to further erode the character of this area.

The Local Planning Authority makes effective use of an Article 4 Direction which requires householders to submit planning applications for demolishing front boundary walls in the City of Bath Conservation Area. This Direction has been put in place to prevent the degradation of the townscape by the piecemeal erosion of front gardens. The Trust considers that the removal of the front boundary wall and pedestrian gate would result in the loss of positive features in the street scene which along with the creation of a parking space would detract from the character and appearance of the conservation area. Front boundary walls, pedestrian gates and front gardens are attractive and important features that provide cohesiveness and unity in a street and contribute to an important part of the city environment.

Preference for the retention of front gardens as important green spaces in the city which are vital for a low carbon environment and sustainable future. This application is therefore contrary to Policies D2, D4, BH1 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan, and PPS5, and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and should therefore be refused

11/01712/FUL – 11 Lyndhurst Road, Twerton, Bath

Conversion and extension to garage to form new dwelling *OBJECT *

The conversion and extension of an ancillary structure to a separate dwelling represents a significant increase in development. The volume of the increase to this property is not outlined specifically within the Design & Access Statement, although the increased building height and additional floor illustrated in the elevations and plans indicates that the development would more than double the volume of the building. Given that the development would be used as a separate dwelling with its own access, the building can no longer be considered ancillary to 11 Lyndhurst Road.

It is the view of the Trust that the design of the proposed development is considered to be an overdevelopment of the site, which would be unbalanced and incongruous, particularly with consideration to its context. Both Lyndhurst Road and Millmead Road are characterised by terraces of houses faced with ashlar Bath Stone and rubble stone, topped with hipped and gabled roofs. Properties are also typically set back from the road and fronted with gardens and low stone-wall boundary treatments. The proposed development would be a detached two-storey development, with a side-gabled roof, faced with ashlar and rubble Bath Stone. Additionally, the proposed development makes no provision for amenity space for the new dwelling, and is consequently built with its primary elevation flush with the highway. The Trust feels that these elements would contribute to making this dwelling stand out from the existing urban grain and sit uncomfortably within the street-scene. The site of the proposed development is within the property along Lyndhurst Road, although the proposed dwelling would have a separate access along Millmead Road, and given its location its impact would be greater upon Millmead Road.

The Design & Access Statement for the property suggests that the proposed design maintains a subservient relationship between the new dwelling and other surrounding houses. Though it is true that the height and mass of the building is smaller than neighbouring buildings, to say that the proposed building is subservient is an overstatement. Further, because of the unusual proportions of the proposed building, it is likely to be visually intrusive. The development would also have a significant visual impact upon the townscape setting of no. 13 Lyndhurst Road and no.2 Millmead Road. The view from and to these properties would be significantly obscured by the increased size of the proposed structure and its proximity to the highway.

The absence of outdoor amenity space for the property is a concern of this proposal, particularly because it is contrary to the aesthetic character of this area. The Trust would also like to draw attention to the absence of a location plan with this application. The Trust strongly feels that without full and accurate documentation provided with an application, the ability to appropriately assess the merits and impacts of the development are impaired.

This application is therefore contrary to policies D2 and D4 of the adopted Local Plan, and on this basis should be refused.

11/01697/FUL – Francis Hotel, 6 – 11 Queen Square, City Centre, Bath

Erection of a three storey extension with basement to provide 21 net additional guest bedrooms and store room.

OBJECT The Trusts gives in principle support to the development of this site with a building which is contemporary in design, as to provide additional hotel accommodation. The site presents a gap in the street scene and a sensitively designed infill development would help to improve the continuity of the street frontage and improve the setting of the adjoining modern buildings. Whist these adjoining building date from the 20th century, the site is in a sensitive location in the heart of the conservation area and world heritage site. It is also adjacent to significant listed buildings, the setting of which should be respected. However, we do not consider that the design of the building proposed is at all appropriate and fails to respect the scale and proportion of the context. The proposed height and massing seems to fit comfortably within the existing street scene, however the appearance of the building does not. The fenestration is inappropriate and an overly dominant feature. The triple window design feature in the centre is over scaled in relation to all the adjacent buildings, and the arrangement does not reflect the rhythm and proportion of Baths built environment. We would encourage the applicants to reconsider the design of the front and rear elevations so that it relates more sensitively to the character of Bath.

The proposal in its current form cannot be supported. The unsympathetic design and appearance of the extension would fail to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the Bath Conservation Area or make a positive contribution to Bath’s townscape and local distinctiveness, and would have a harmful impact on the special qualities of the Bath World Heritage site. The proposal therefore fails to comply with Policy D2, D4, BH1 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan and PPS5 polices HE7.4, HE7.5 HE9.5, and HE10 and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and should be refused.

11/01695/FUL – Radnor Lodge, 71 High Street, Bathford, Bath

Erection of single storey rear extension and a small ground floor terrace following removal of attached outbuildings and ground floor side extension, erection of two storey side extension to replace existing and double car port/store to replace existing

COMMENTS The Trust is particularly concerned that this proposal to extend a property which is located within the green belt fails to recognise the Existing Dwellings in the Green Belt SPD. It is not clear if the volume of the proposed extensions would comply with this SPD. A volume calculation should be provided by the applicant in support of the proposals. The Trust is supportive of proposals to replace the UPVC with timber sliding sash window, and the use of slim-line timber double glazing is encouraged. The proposed timber windows would harmonise with the local palette of traditional materials. The appearance of the property would be greatly improved, which in turn would greatly enhance the character of the Bathford conservation area.

11/01307/FUL – 25 Church Street, Upper Weston

Erection of single storey extension to rear of property with decked roof terrace

COMMENT This application does not contain enough detail to make a proper assessment of the impact on the architectural and historic significance of the listed building and character and appearance of the conservation area. Materials which would affect the appearance of the development have not been specified. It is not sufficient to just say that materials ‘sympathetic to the original Georgian property’ will be used. A full schedule of works and materials should be included with this application. It is important that the details of materials are submitted in support of this proposal rather than determined by a condition of any permission, as this does not allow for appropriate public notification. This application is not acceptable in its current form.

11/01517/FUL – 22 The Tyning Widcombe, Bath

Erection of side and back extension, internal alterations to provide flexible family property, landscaping and formation of drive and parking area, general upgrading of services, insulation levels and existing windows

COMMENT This application does not contain enough detail to make a proper assessment of the impact on the local townscape and character and appearance of the conservation area. Materials which would affect the appearance of the development have not been specified in detail. It is important that the details of materials are submitted in support of this proposal rather than determined by a condition of any permission, as this does not allow for appropriate public notification. This application is not acceptable in its current form and we would encourage the LPA to obtain further information from the applicants.

11/01645/LBA – Grosvenor House, Grosvenor Place, Lambridge

External alterations to clean both north and west elevations, reinstate the historic painting of the blind windows (north elevation), to repair or replace weathered stone during the course of the works

SUPPORT This listed building is in a sad a sorry state, and suffering considerably from the staining and soiling of the Bath stone facade and details. The Trust supports this application for cleaning using the methods stated, and recognise that the specification may need to be adapted further in accordance with the conservation officers recommendations as the work progresses. We are reassured that this job will be undertaken by the appropriate specialist conservators. This work would enhance the appearance and reveal the character and architectural significance of the listed building.

11/01806/FUL – 33 James Street West, City Centre, Bath

Erection of security fence and gate (Retrospective)

COMMENT This is site is located in the Bath conservation area, however the land use on this site is industrial and this type of security fencing is accepted. However, we would encourage the use of a more recessive colour. Perhaps galvanised palisade balusters, which would be grey in appearance would be more appropriate than black.

11/01728/LBA -36 Sion Hill, Lansdown, Bath

Internal and external alterations to include the removal of a wall to form a kitchen, reordering of the bathroom area and the enlarging of access to the basement to aid entry and egress, erection of a new glazed rear hall to the garden, alterations to garage and provision of new wrought iron railings

COMMENT This application makes reference to a historic buildings report. However, this document nor any other heritage statement or impact assessment has been included in support of these proposals. This application therefore lacks the essential information required to make a proper assessment of the impact on the significance of the listed building. This is particularly important to the consideration of the enlargement of the access which may result in the loss of significant historic fabric. The Trust does not consider that this application can be determined in its current form and encourages the LPA to obtain further information from the applicant prior to determination. Without further information this application would be contrary to PPS5 and should be refused.

11/01861/FUL – Byways, Charlcombe Lane, Lansdown

Erection of extensions and alterations to existing bungalow (Resubmission)

OBJECT The scale of the proposed development increases the size of the existing bungalow considerably. Whilst this redesign and the removal of the stair tower is an improvement to the previously refused application the proposed building still presents two clashing architectural idioms, and the combination of pitched and flat roofs, will create an unbalanced and awkward appearance. We repeat our earlier objection, which has not been referred to in the officer’s previous delegated reports.

The proposed mix of roof forms, bulk and massing is unsympathetic in context. Overall we are not convinced that this proposal demonstrates a high standard of architecture and design, as is appropriate in respect of the local townscape character and city of Bath World Heritage Site. We regret that an opportunity would be missed for much higher quality of architecture and design in Bath. In our view the proposal is contrary to Policies, D1, D2 and BH1 of the B&NES Local Plan, and should therefore be refused.

11/01660/FUL – Woodville Guest House, 4 Marlborough Lane, Kingsmead

Provision of off road parking in front of dwelling, enlargement of rear dormer, rear kitchen window, kitchen door and roof lantern and erection of a single storey rear extension

OBJECT The trust is concerned that this development would erode the character of the conservation area in which the site is located. One of the central proposals of this application is to create two off-street parking spaces to the front of the property. To achieve this, the boundary wall to the front of the property is proposed to be demolished and much of the garden resurfaced to provide the parking spaces. Some raised planters are proposed to border the parking area, using stone reclaimed from the demolished wall.

The site of the proposed development falls within the city conservation area, and borders the ‘City Centre’ and ‘Brassmill Lane, Locksbrook and Western Riverside’ character areas which subdivide the conservation area. In the city-wide character appraisal, ‘low stone or brick walls’ are highlighted as characteristic boundary treatments for this area (6.7.9.18). Front gardens along Marlborough Lane are characterised by low stone wall boundary treatments. A further concern about this application is the potential of a cumulative effect upon the character of the area and the street-scene. The neighbouring property, 2 Marlborough Lane, has already demolished much of its own boundary wall to the front, and much of the front garden has been surfaced to provide a driveway. Should this application be permitted then by means of setting further precedent, there would be greater potential for cumulative erosion of character along this lane.

The Local Planning Authority makes effective use of an Article 4 Direction which requires householders to submit planning applications for demolishing front boundary walls in the City of Bath Conservation Area. This Direction has been put in place to prevent the degradation of the townscape by the piecemeal erosion of front gardens. The Trust considers that the removal of the front boundary wall and pedestrian gate would result in the loss of positive features in the street scene which along with the creation of a parking space would detract from the character and appearance of the conservation area. Front boundary walls, pedestrian gates and front gardens are attractive and important features that provide cohesiveness and unity in a street and contribute to an important part of the city environment.

Preference for the retention of front gardens as important green spaces in the city which are vital for a low carbon environment and sustainable future. This application is therefore contrary to Policies D2, D4, BH1 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan, and PPS5, and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and should therefore be refused.

11/01939/FUL – Church View, Packhorse Lane, South Stoke Bath

Excavation to form parking area, rebuilding wall and recladding garage.

OBJECT This retrospective application proposes to retain re-cladding and new garage doors to an existing garage, and retain a new off-street parking space. To achieve this additional parking, the boundary wall to the front of the property has been partially demolished and the front garden excavated to create space for two cars (5msq). The boundary wall has been e reconstructed to border the new parking space, re-using the stone from the demolished wall.

The site of this development falls within the South Stoke conservation area. The local stone boundary walls fronting gardens are cited within the Conservation Area Appraisal for South Stoke as constituting ‘an important element of the character of the Conservation Area and make a very positive contribution.’ The character of the site has arguably already been compromised by the previous demolition of this historic boundary wall to allow for the construction of garages along Packhorse Lane. However, permitting such developments sets a poor precedent which allows potential for cumulative erosion of the special character of South Stoke. Furthermore, the relative size of South Stoke serves to emphasise the impact of this development upon the character and aesthetics of the area.

The applicant has argued that the presence of concrete block-work behind the boundary wall suggests it is a recent addition to the site. The Trust believes this to be an unfounded suggestion; rather it is suggested that the concrete blocks suggest a recent addition to provide structural support, rather than indicating the age of the stone wall.

The Design and Access Statement and application submitted also suggests that the garage will be clad with natural ashlar stone. However, the Trust understands that the garage has been faced with render and blocked out, which is an unsympathetic and inappropriate surface treatment within this conservation area.

Front boundary walls, pedestrian gates and front gardens are attractive and important features that provide cohesiveness and unity in a street and contribute to an important part of the city environment. It is for this reason that the Trust has a keen preference for the retention of front gardens and boundary walls,

The Trust considers that the unsympathetic external cladding material, the removal of the front boundary wall and creation of a parking space has a harmful effect on the street scene, and neither preserves nor enhances the character and appearance of the conservation area. The development also detracts from the character and setting of the listed church adjacent to the site.

This application is therefore contrary to Policies D2, D4, BH1, BH2 and BH6 of the B&NES Local Plan, PPS5, and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and should be refused.

The Trust takes a dim view of this flagrant breach of planning control, and this application having to be lodged retrospectively. It is particularly concerning when such development threatens our remaining precious historic fabric. Such unsolicited development undermines the efforts of Bath & North East Somerset to protect its built heritage.

11/01780/AR – Martin Mccoll, 4 – 6 Wellsway, Bath

Display of internally-illuminated fascia sign (Retrospective)

OBJECT The site falls within the City of Bath Conservation area, and specifically within the ‘Widcombe and the Kennet and Avon Canal’ and the World Heritage City, and is particularly sensitive to unsympathetic developments and poor quality shop fronts. The Trust therefore objects to the installation of an illuminated fascia sign at this location, and will continue to object to illuminated signs within the Conservation Area.

The illuminated acrylic fascia surrounding the ATM machine is an unnecessary addition that would be visually intrusive within the street-scene and the conservation area as a whole. Back-lit illuminated fascia signs are considered to be wholly inappropriate additions to the street scene within Bath, and have a detrimental impact upon the character of the urban environment of this World Heritage City. The inclusion of such a sign in a prominent location within the street scene, the Trust believes, will compromise visual amenity and the character of the urban environment. Furthermore, the existing shop front of Martin McColl is poorly designed employing acrylic fascia signs which are uncharacteristic and unsympathetic to the character of the area, and contributing a further negative element to what is already a poor shop front.

The internally illuminated fascia sign fails to make a positive contribution to the local distinctiveness of Bath’s historic environment, and neither preserves nor enhances the character and appearance of the conservation area, This application is therefore contrary to Policies BH6, BH17 and BH19 of the B&NES Local Plan, PPS5, and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and should therefore be refused.

The Trusts also takes a dim view of this application having been lodged retrospectively, and that the development has already taken place. It is particularly concerning where such development threatens the historic urban fabric, and such unsolicited development undermines the efforts of Bath & North East Somerset LPAto protect its heritage assets.

11/01354/LBA – Freedom House, Lower Bristol Road, Westmoreland

Renewal of consent for demolition of Technology House, internal and external alterations to Albert Villa and erection of three storey office to rear of Albert Villa.

OBJECT General comments The River corridor offers huge opportunities to help meet Bath’s need for sustainable new commercial development and we support the redevelopment of this site in principle, and the opportunity to enhance the river and create continued access to the river should not be missed.

The Trust is concerned about the piecemeal approach to this development. We think that it would be appropriate to have parallel listed building and planning applications for consideration at the same time.

On review of the submitted documentation it is felt that is not acceptable to submit the same basic supplementary documentation in support of this application. Since the approval of the 2002 and 2008 applications the site constraints and policy context has changed. These proposals and the impact on heritage assets, including listed buildings, conservation area and world heritage site, must now be justified and considered in accordance with the requirements of PPS5.

In addition to Grade II listed Albert Villa, the local context now includes an increased number of buildings listed for their architectural and historic interest including Brunel’s Twerton Viaduct, Station House and Skew Bridge, which were listed Grade II in 2008. The consideration of the impact on the setting of these buildings must now be taken into account by both the applicant and the LPA.

We have no objection in principal to the proposed internal works to Albert Villla or the removal of the dormer window, and the demolition of Technology House should provide the opportunity to enhance the setting of Albert Villa.

Proposed new building

The proposed office building is of a type and on a scale that reflects existing commercial, retail and industrial buildings in the locality. Whilst low rise bulky buildings exist in this location, they are generally of low quality design. A contemporary approach to the design of new building here is accepted in principle, however we would encourage an approach that raises the standards of commercial design and sets a higher standard for the approach to development of this type.

We are concerned that the proposed massing and roof profile would be of a bulk and design that would not fit at all comfortably with the pattern of traditional and industrial buildings in this location, or complement the setting of Albert Villa. In particular the proposed large area single storey building, combined with a roof profile (sloping with turned-up-ends) which is alien and incongruous to the Bath context is inappropriate.

Whist we would not expect materials and construction to be completely traditional in this context, the design might better reflect the industrial heritage of the location, and the use of some Bath stone would help the development harmonise with its wider setting. A metal or lead substitute roofing materials are generally acceptable however the finish should be matt/dull and not shiny in appearance. Whilst the standing seams and changes in level would provide some visual interest, the overall roof design profile could be better articulated to achieve much greater coherence with the urban grain and townscape. We would also recommend that any glazing is tinted to minimise glare, light emission and reflectivity.

Finally, we concerned that this application does not contain enough detail to ensure the quality of the development will be of a high standard, as appropriate for the world heritage site. Details of elements which will affect the appearance of this development, such as materials, eternal finishes and landscaping, should be submitted for consideration and public consultation and rather than agreed by Condition.

The proposed extension buildings cannot be supported in their current form. The unsympathetic design and appearance would fail to make a positive contribution to Bath’s townscape and local distinctiveness, and would have a harmful impact on views across the city, and thus would detract from the setting of the City of Bath Conservation Area, and the special qualities of the Bath World Heritage site. The proposal therefore fails to comply with Policy D2, D4, BH1 and BH6 of the B&NESLocal Plan and PPS5 polices HE7.4, HE7.5 HE9.5, and HE10 and the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and should be refused.

11/01497/LBA – 14 Catharine Place, City Centre, Bath

External elevations for stone cleaning to front elevation

SUPPORT This listed building is suffering considerably from carbon deposits on the Bath stone facade and details, which is causing damage to the stone. The Trust supports this application for cleaning using the methods stated, and we recognise that the specification may need to be adapted further in accordance with the conservation officer’s recommendations as the work progresses. We would encourage the removal of the paint from the lower ground floor, taking care not to damage the surface of the stone. This work would enhance the appearance and reveal the character and architectural significance of the listed building.

11/01567/LBA – 8 Camden Crescent, Lansdown, Bath

External alterations to replace the current 1980’s Kentucky style front door with a Georgian style door at Basement Flat

OBJECT We question the appropriateness of the glazing bars detailed in the drawings, and trust that the conservation officer will undertake to ensure that the appropriate style is agreed under this permission.

11/02036/FUL- Horsecombe Vale Farm, Beechwood Road, Combe Down

Erection of a replacement dwelling following demolition of existing buildings (revised application)

OBJECT The case for development of a much larger building within the Greenbelt has not been sufficiently justified in documents provided in support of this application. Such short comings prevent a thorough assessment of this proposal and supporting information is potentially misleading.

The application does not include or state the volume of development or footprint proposed by the triple garage, focussing only upon the house (which itself increases upon the volume existing house by approximately one third). The application shows two other buildings upon the site, one of which is proposed to be demolished, but fails to discuss them in any detail. Since the site is located within the environs of the Bath World Heritage City and within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Greenbelt, the amount of development proposed is a critical issue in this application, and so the absence of full information on the amount of development seriously hampers the consideration of this application.

This application has been submitted as a revised version of application 11/00181/FUL, which was withdrawn by the applicant, though the revisions and changes made to the plans have not been clearly highlighted by the documentation supplied by the applicant. On a more general point we feel that the applicant should be required by the LPA to make the changes of any resubmission clear.

The Trust does not object to the demolition of the existing building, but suggests that a new building of high quality design and construction should replace it, and that the development be of an appropriate size and scale. The application for the proposed development does not provide enough information to demonstrate that the proposed development will be achieve this whilst supporting adopted local planning policy.

Much of the Design and Access Statement focuses upon best practice, but is not specific to how this will be implemented within the development. Furthermore, although the Design and Access Statement states that the new development would be Code 4 and highly sustainable; however, there is little information provided to support this claim. For example, considering the inclusion of north-facing roof-lights and extensive metal roofing, little attention is given to the insulation methods for the development.

The Trust recognises the importance of responding to the challenges of climate change, including the need for substantial improvements in the energy efficiency of existing buildings and for achieving zero-carbon new developments on the brownfield sites which need to be regenerated. The necessary step change in the District’s carbon emissions will come through encouraging affordable and effective methods of conserving energy in the existing building stock, identifying economically viable ways of making large new developments zero carbon, and reducing dependence on the private car. A single dwelling in a rural location, however iconic, will be of limited use as an exemplar for what needs to be done across the District as a whole. The decision on this application therefore needs to take full account of all relevant national and local planning policies and of the environmental impact of the whole of the construction process, not just the energy efficiency of the completed dwelling.

The Trust considers that the proposed new house by virtue of its design, massing and size would have detrimental visual impact the landscape character of the AONB, harm the openness, rural character visual amenity value of the Green belt, and detract from the landscape setting of the City of Bath World Heritage Site.

In particular the Trust feels that this application is in conflict with policies HG14 GB1, GB2, NE1, NE2 and BH1 of the B&NES Local Plan of the B&NES Local Plan, and the adopted SPD ‘Existing Dwellings in the Green Belt’, and contrary to advice contained in PPS7 and PPG2 and should therefore be refused.

11/02090/FUL – Wych Elm House, Packhorse Lane, South Stoke

Erection of a replacement dwelling and associated works.

OBJECT Very special circumstances for this development within the Greenbelt have not been sufficiently justified in documents provided in support of this application. The Design and Access Statement describes the development as a “modest volume increase” upon the existing property, and though a car-port has been proposed, this does not appear to be included when considering the amount of proposed development. This is not a sufficient level of detail to justify development in this sensitive location. Since the site is located within the landscape setting of the Bath World Heritage City and within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Greenbelt, the amount of development proposed is a critical issue in this application, and so the absence of full information seriously hampers the consideration of this application.

The application and its supporting documents purport that the proposed development, by virtue of reducing the effective height of the building, is reducing visual impact upon the landscape; however, the impact of the glazed south elevation is not sufficiently addressed. Though the proposed development would be concealed from some views, from others the hilltop location would increase its prominence in the locale, particularly when viewed from the south. The prominence of the building’s southern elevation, which makes considerable use of glazing, raises further concerns about the proposed development’s impact upon the green-belt. The Trust suggests, if approved, that these windows be tinted on the exterior to reduce glare and reflections, which would draw further attention to the property in the landscape.

The Design & Access Statement expresses that the extensive use of glazing to the rear of the development is motivated by a desire to create an “exemplar passive solar house”. Though this is explained further, the actual materials and type of glazing to be employed are not specified within this application, and so this claim is not substantiated. Furthermore, the expected energy performance of the proposed development is not considered in any appreciable detail.

The Trust recognises the importance of responding to the challenges of climate change, including the need for substantial improvements in the energy efficiency of existing buildings and for achieving zero-carbon new developments on brownfield sites which need to be regenerated. The necessary step change in the District’s carbon emissions will come through encouraging affordable and effective methods of conserving energy in the existing building stock, identifying economically viable ways of making large new developments zero carbon, and reducing dependence on the private car. A single dwelling in a rural location, however iconic, will be of limited use as an exemplar for what needs to be done across the District as a whole. The decision on this application therefore needs to take full account of all relevant national and local planning policies and of the environmental impact of the whole of the construction process, not just the energy efficiency of the completed dwelling.

The Trust does not object to the demolition of the existing building, but suggests that a new building of high quality design and construction should replace it, and that the development be of an appropriate size and scale. The Trust also believes strongly that details upon the design should not be left to condition, and the absence of firm information about the materials and construction of the proposed development are a cause for concern here. The application for the proposed development does not provide enough information to demonstrate that the proposed development will be achieve this whilst supporting adopted local planning policy.

The Trust considers that the proposed new house by virtue of its design, massing and size would have detrimental visual impact the landscape character of the AONB, harm the openness, rural character visual amenity value of the Green belt, and detract from the landscape setting of the City of Bath World Heritage Site.

In particular the Trust feels that this application is in conflict with policies HG14 GB1, GB2, NE1, NE2 and BH1 of the B&NES Local Plan of the B&NES Local Plan, and the adopted SPD ‘Existing Dwellings in the Green Belt’, and contrary to advice contained in PPS7 and PPG2 and should therefore be refused.

11/01812/LBA – 9 Park Street, Lansdown

Internal and external alterations for the conversion of 3no flats to a single dwelling, involving the replacement of a cementitious damp-proof system with a Vitruvian wall system, the removal of internal partitions, heating and electrical installations associated with the flats and the reinstatement and repair of original features (Regularisation)

OBJECT The Trust condemns any flagrant disregard for listed building regulations which is particularly concerning when such work threatens our remaining precious historic fabric. Legislation and policy exists to protect buildings from harmful alterations that may result in the loss or harm to their architectural and historic interest. Unsolicited development undermines the efforts of Bath & North East Somerset Council’s conservation officer’s to protect our built heritage. We note that the applicant is working with officers to resolve the situation and the Trust is generally supportive of reinstatement as a single dwelling and sensitive repair. Internal alterations have not been assessed.

Designed by Ice House Design