Bathford Nurseries, Box Road, Bathford
We do not consider that this application addresses previous reasons for refusal. The Trust continues to object to this revised proposal on the basis that the development would have a materially greater and substantial impact on the openness of the Green Belt. In addition to that impact, there would be significant harm to the open rural character of the area through the extensive hard surfacing and car parking, and the poor quality materials and suburban design and layout of the dwellings. The provision of ‘affordable housing’ (or low carbon design) does not overcome this substantial harm, as the application fails to provide an affordable housing statement, it is not clear what is meant by affordable, nor has it been demonstrated that this housing is required locally.
We note and support the view of the Highways Officer who is objecting to the provision of housing in this remote location, with no footpaths to link the site to local amenities and public transport. The provision of housing here would have a high dependence on the use of the car and would be unsustainable in this location. This development is in a prominent location on the Shockerwick Valley floor, which is within the defined setting of the World Heritage Site.
The application lacks any proper assessment of the impact (there is no LVIA) and has not taken into account that this site is particularly visible from the train as it approaches the World Heritage Site, along the Brunel line into the historic core of the city. There is a real sense of arrival through undeveloped countryside – the train swings around to catch the first glimpses of the eastern parts of the city with a particularly iconic view of the rear of Grosvenor Place. The Box Road is also an important easterly approach, for which this development will be seen. Reasons for refusal This proposal, by virtue of its siting and scale would add to the string of random suburban dwellings along the valley floor approach (the prevention of which is the very purpose of Green Belt designation) and this visual encroachment would have a harmful impact on the setting of the World Heritage Site.
The NPPF para 144 states that “When considering any planning applications the LPA should ensure that substantial weight is given to any harm to the Green Belt. “Very special circumstances” will not exist unless the potential harm to the Green Belt by reason of inappropriateness and other harm resulting from the proposal is clearly outweighed by other considerations.” The Trust considers in the absence of evidence that this proposal fails this very high test. The proposal is therefore contrary to Place Making Plan Policy HE1 (a), Policy B4 (World Heritage Site and its Setting), Policy NE2 (Conserving and enhancing the landscape and landscape character), NE2A (Landscape setting of settlements). It would also be inappropriate development within the Green Belt (contrary to Policy CP8) and there are no “very special circumstances” to outweigh the harm. It would also fail to enhance the visual amenities of the Green Belt as required by Policy GB1. The application should therefore be refused.