Atcombe House, Midford Road, Midford
Atcombe House is an unlisted dwelling situated in the Bath and Bristol Green Belt, the Cotswolds AONB, and the indicative landscape setting of the World Heritage site. It appears to originate as a small residential cottage from at least 1884, with significant material alterations made to the original plan form after the 1950s. Atcombe House is situated within the landscape setting of Midford House, a Grade II late Georgian house, and formed part of its original historic curtilage due to Atcombe House’s original function as the gardener’s cottage.
BPT is not opposed to the removal of the contemporary conservatory addition along the south elevation of the property. However, we do not consider that this application can be approved due to the insufficient documentation submitted as part of the application, and the principle of overdevelopment within the Green Belt.
We are surprised to see that this application has been validated without the provision of a D&A Statement. Therefore, there is no evidence that the proposed works constitute “very special circumstances” that justify development within the Green Belt, as well as a lack of demonstrated understanding regarding the historic origins and setting of Atcombe House, and its continued aesthetic and historic contribution towards the setting of a Grade II listed building. We would therefore maintain that as a minimum, a suitably detailed D&A Statement needs to be submitted by the applicant as part of this application. Supporting documentation should provide an assessment of the development’s potential impact on the openness and rural character of the Green Belt, the scenic beauty of the AONB, and the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building before this application is permitted to progress further.
With regard to the proposed extension, in particular we are concerned by the potential impact of the excessive volume of glazing proposed to the east elevation which will directly face Midford House, and will likely be highly visually intrusive within a largely rural setting due to increased light spill and possible sun glare.
We maintain that the proposed additional extensions to Atcombe House will over-dominate the original footprint of the building, in conjunction with other post-1950s additions, and would harm the building’s original cottage appearance and character. Despite the lack of a proposed building growth percentage as part of this application, the Trust would assert that the new extension represents a disproportionate addition that will fundamentally alter the roof profile as visible from Midford Road, in sharp contrast with the existing contemporary conservatory whose roofline sits well below the boundary wall.
Therefore, the Trust maintains a strong objection to this application on the grounds of insufficient documentation in support of the application, without which a proper assessment of the impact cannot be made. And therefore, the principle of inappropriate, unjustified development within the Green Belt risks causing substantial harm to the character and openness of the Green Belt and risks unmitigated visual harm to the setting of a listed building. This application is contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, sections 14 and 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B4, B1, BD1, D1, D2, D3, D5, D8, HE1, NE2, CP8, GB1, and GB3 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should therefore be refused or withdrawn until adequate documentation is provided as part of the application.