6 The Elms, Lower Swainswick, Bath
6 The Elms is an unlisted 21st century detached dwelling situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of a ‘Georgian’ style residential cul-de-sac on the north-western corner of the London Road bypass with the A4 and A46. Significantly, the southern garden boundary of 6 The Elms and its neighbour is defined by the retention of a thick tree belt that follows the north-eastern corner of the bypass and runs along the western boundary of the A46. Similar screening treatments with mature tree planting and infill shrubs along the embankment are present on the north-east, south-east, and south-west corners of the roundabout, with a broader screening use of trees along the A4 to the south. The resulting impact is that of enclosure around a busy vehicular junction which helps to mitigate the visual impact of the bypass in wider landscape views as well as other associated detrimental factors (noise, pollution, etc.), as well as reinforcing the landscape ‘gap’ between Bath and its built environs. The Bath City-Wide Character Appraisal (2005) notes the south-west area of Bath as being “rural with an open character”; this is mixed with significant spots of dense tree cover such as along the River Avon and the south-eastern side of the A4 to retain the green, verdant character of the area.
We acknowledge the applicant’s reasons of improved residential amenity for the proposed felling of multiple trees. However, we maintain the significant role that this tree canopy plays in screening a detrimental feature within the local area and the associated importance of ensuring that the tree cover in this area is appropriately sustained. We therefore maintain that the proposed works are acceptable where the beneficial landscape and streetscape qualities of the existing tree coverage is sustained in the long-term.