The site to the rear of the residential suburb at Dixon Gardens is an important, surviving fragment of the historic landscape garden of Beckford’s Ride. The land comprises a series of stepped terraces to the north and enclosed within tall, retaining walls in coursed rubble stone. The walls and terrace are Grade II listed as part of the former nursery gardens of William Beckford, with design attributed to H E Goodridge, and historically formed part of the designed landscape known as Beckford’s Ride. The garden site is also attributed group value as part of the setting of the Grade I listed 20 Lansdown Crescent as a designed, Picturesque route between Beckford’s residence at 20 Lansdown Crescent and Beckford’s Tower in Lansdown. The assemblage also includes Beckford’s Gate, which is separately listed Grade II.
BPT has continued to highlight the significance of this site a relatively complete example of an early 19th century landscape garden associated with one of the city’s most famous residents and designers. The site of the proposal is an integral element of the wider designed landscape conceived and designed by Beckford.
2023 – Resubmitted Proposals for Residential Development of Historic Garden Site
At the start of 2023, new planning application 23/00257/FUL came forward with a second attempt to develop a house on the site. We continue to resist development on the site on grounds of harm to the setting of multiple Grade II structures and the loss of legibility of the last surviving fragment of Beckford’s Ride. We have further concerns regarding the structural impact of setting the proposed dwelling below ground level, as well as the net biodiversity loss across the site as a result of the removal of existing trees and greenery and the application of excessive hard landscaping.
Read our objection response here.
The application was refused in May 2023 on grounds of harm to the setting of multiple heritage assets, including the Grade II listed structures, Bath City-Wide Conservation Area, and the World Heritage Site, which would not be outweighed by public benefit. “Development on this site would strip the character which once formed the gardens and planned landscape, the setting would as such no longer be legible should the proposed development take place. Whilst it is appreciated that site is not currently accessible and therefore the designate heritage assets are unable to be experienced, this does not provide justification to develop this site and cause harm to the remaining, and still legible heritage assets.”
It is noted that the B&NES conservation officer continues to maintain an in-principle objection to the residential development of this site.
2017 – BPT Proposes Amendment to Grade II Listing of Beckford’s Garden
In 2017, BPT applied to Historic England to have the listing amended for the north and east walls and terraces to include the west and south walls (i.e. the whole horseshoe around Dixon Gardens). It was also recommended to upgrade the listing from Grade II to Grade II*. Whilst the site remains Grade II, we were pleased to see that the listing wording was amended in 2018 to make specific reference to the west and south walls.
You can see the revised list description here.
2015/2017 – Retrospective Application for Demolition of Southern Boundary Wall & Enforcement Action
Despite the withdrawal of proposals for the residential redevelopment of this garden site, the southern boundary wall was demolished without planning permission to create a widened access point, with the assumed intention of allowing vehicle access onto the site.
Application 15/04695/FUL was subsequently submitted to retrospectively secure planning permission for the removal of the southern wall, but this was also withdrawn. BPT maintained that the wall formed part of the Grade II listing of the nursery gardens, and therefore any works would require listed building consent. An enforcement notice was issued for the wall to be rebuilt; the enforcement notice was appealed by the applicant, and when this was dismissed, was referred to the High Court where the case was dismissed again.
The boundary wall was eventually rebuilt to the Council’s specifications in 2017.
2014 – Planning Application for the Proposed Redevelopment of Historic Garden Site for a Single Detached Dwelling
In 2014, proposals came forward for the development of a single, detached dwelling on the site under application 14/04025/FUL. Proposals also incorporated the use of extensive hard landscaping along the western terrace to create a private driveway that would allow vehicles to park by the front door of the new dwelling.
BPT stated an in-principle resistance to any development on this historically significant site, where this would result in substantial harm to a series of heritage assets and the further erosion of a historic designed landscape associated with one of the city’s most famous residents.
Read our objection response here.
The application was subsequently withdrawn.