86 Newbridge Hill, Newbridge, Bath
86 Newbridge Hill is an unlisted early 20th century semi-detached dwelling, situated within the Bath City-Wide Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of the principal, built-up frontage along Newbridge Hill, characterised in this area by a mix of semi-detached and detached dwellings from around the same period. Whilst of a visually urban grain along this busy arterial road, the housing type has resulted in a looser layout with generous provision of front and rear gardens, setting buildings back from the road. Front gardens provide a welcome greening influence in the local streetscape, featuring a characteristic boundary treatment of hedgerow planting behind low boundary walls in rubble stone. The prevalence of front gardens in this area has a cumulatively positive result in breaking up the urban form of the area and contributing to the vitality and visual amenity of the Conservation Area. Where there are examples of front gardens having been converted to provide off-street parking, this has already been demonstrated to erode the positive visual qualities of the local streetscape.
The Bath City-Wide Character Appraisal emphasises the positive contribution of front gardens to the local area: “Vegetation in its various forms has a major positive influence on the character of the area. Most properties in the area have front gardens and the shrubs and trees there contribute significantly by softening the building lines, hard garden walls and rows of parked cars.”
We therefore have strong concerns about the creation of a new area of off-street parking on the site of the existing front garden, and the resulting impact to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area through the loss of green roadside planting. Whilst the application makes reference to the planting of a new street tree along the boundary wall, no reference is made to the existing hedgerow that runs along the pavement edge and how this would be treated as part of proposals, where this is instead excluded from both the existing and proposed garden elevations.
Works would result in the loss of a front garden that currently makes a positive contribution to the local area. This application would establish a precedent for further conversions of front gardens to driveways to meet increasing demand for off-street parking, with resulting erosion of the positive characteristics of the Conservation Area.
Further ecological and drainage implications should also be considered, such as the loss of green planting and associated biodiversity and climate change resilience contributions, and increased water run-off as a result of the introduction of further hardstanding.
Proposals would therefore fail to sustain or enhance the established character and appearance of the Bath City-Wide Conservation Area, contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D3, D4, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan and should be withdrawn or refused.