Combe Grove, Brassknocker Hill, Monkton Combe, Bath
This application concerns the land associated with the Combe Grove Hotel, a Grade II Georgian country house, now hotel, situated in the Bath & Bristol Green Belt and Cotswolds AONB. The proposed focus of development is the area of land to the west of the hotel, formerly in use as a golf course. As part of application 20/03553/FUL, planning permission was granted for works including mitigatory planting works on the golf course and the establishment of an area for growing vegetables to the immediate west of the car park. The site remains an open feature within the Green Belt and AONB; whilst the site is relatively well-screened in close-range views to the west and south, particularly along Shaft Road, further consideration is required as to its potential contribution in longer-ranging views across the Green Belt and AONB and its agrarian characteristics.
In response to application 23/02103/AGRN, the case officer confirmed that prior approval would be required for the erection of a polytunnel on the site, on grounds of the lack of clarity about the relationship of the polytunnel with the proposed mitigatory planting works, and the wider context of its setting.
The landscape plans as submitted indicate that the proposed polytunnels would be enclosed along the west and southern boundaries by a new native hedgerow, as well as a band of shelter belt planting to the west as permitted in application 22/03749/VAR. It appears that the polytunnel structure would be screened from view once planting was appropriately established, but given the high landscape value of the site as part of the Green Belt and the Cotswolds AONB we recommend that the visual impact of the polytunnel should be proportionately assessed in relation to any identified key views, and would benefit from the inclusion of a Landscape Visual Impact Assessment. This is so that a proper assessment of the impact can be made and the sensitive siting of any buildings and structures, and appropriate appearance can be properly considered.