Belvoir Lodge, Upper Oldfield Park, Oldfield Park, Bath
Belvoir Lodge is an unlisted modern detached dwelling in a traditional style, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It sits within a streetscape of 19th century 3 ½ storey semi-detached villas in Bath stone ashlar, and emulates particular architectural features such as the use of sash windows and an asymmetrical bay window on the principal façade. The site is of dual visibility, with the M-pitched roof visible from Wells Road to the east. Due to its comparatively low position on the east-west slope, it allows for broader townscape views across the site and glimpses of the wider landscape setting of the World Heritage Site, and contributes to the wider character of the area in which the reduced building density and frequent gaps between buildings enables ‘glimpsed’ townscape views through the conservation area. The boundary treatment remains indicative of traditional vernacular materials, utilising a mix of Bath ashlar and rubble stone in boundary walls, interspersed with iron railings and hedgerow planting. There are several examples of the introduction of timber picket and feather edge fencing to the detriment of the established character and appearance of the conservation area. The site currently uses a feather edge fence to the rear of the rubble boundary stone wall along Wells Road.
We have some concerns regarding the proposed increase in fence height along Wells Road by 50cm, resulting in a total perceived height of 1.04m. We consider this would be of detriment to the existing character and appearance of the conservation area; the height of the fence would detract from the long, continuous stretch of the existing low stone boundary wall which is typical of the boundary vernacular of the area. The fence height would further exacerbate the abrupt end of the fence at the property boundary and result in an awkward, staggered appearance that does not sit cohesively within its setting. An increased height would further visually enclose the street and restrict wider townscape and landscape views to the detriment of the distinctive character of this area of the conservation area.
Whilst the current timber fence is somewhat at odds with its material vernacular context, it is low in height and has been allowed to weather and grow over with vegetation, which has softened its appearance and allowed it to better blend in.
Should the principle of a new acoustic fence be deemed acceptable, we strongly recommend that it should be restricted to a height comparatively similar to that already existing to preserve the established character and appearance of the conservation area, with an untreated finish to allow it to weather to a more recessive colour and appearance. We note plans for tree planting along the eastern boundary to screen traffic noise and pollution, and encourage the use of green planting as an additional buffer where necessary, as a more complementary and harmonious boundary treatment within this area.