Crossleaze Farm, Woolley Lane, Charlcombe, Bath
Crossleaze Farm is a historic farm complex situated within the Green Belt, Cotswolds AONB, and the indicative landscape setting of the World Heritage Site. It is made up of an assemblage of Grade II listed buildings, including the mid/late 17th century Crossleaze Farmhouse and the early 19th century barn to the south of the site. A number of ancillary buildings on the site, whilst unlisted in their own right, appear to be attributable to the mid-late 19th century and as such are considered to be curtilage Grade II listed. The focus of this application is on the ancillary “garage/store” building in the south-east corner of the site. The structure appears to be located on the 19th century footprint of an earlier building but appears to have either been substantially remodelled or completely rebuilt. The building features a traditional-style external treatment in a mix of rubble stone and timber cladding with a clay pantile roof, in keeping with its historic agrarian context. The farm site is set back from Woolley Lane on a private track but due to the gentle south-north slope of the landscape the roof of multiple buildings including the Grade II farmhouse and barn, as well as the garage structure, are publicly visible in mid- to long-range landscape views. The garage roof is of particularly prominent visibility from along Woolley Lane to the south due to its location up against the farm’s boundary edge.
In light of the declared Climate Emergency, BPT recognises the need for sensitive energy efficiency retrofits and microrenewable installations to meet B&NES targets of net zero by 2030. However, we maintain that the proposed solar array would be of notable visibility as part of wider landscape views through the Green Belt and AONB, and would be a prominent addition to an otherwise traditional-style roof treatment.
As such, further material details are required to ensure that visual impact is mitigated as far as practicable. In accordance with Policy SCR2, we strongly advise the use of non-reflective panels in a monochrome, matt black finish to minimise an incongruity of form and materials. We do however commend the opportunity to integrate the proposed panels into the southern roof slope to ensure a flush and recessive finish.
In accordance with the NPPF, the addition of roof PV panels would constitute the extension/alteration of a building without constituting a “disproportionate addition[s] over and above the size of the original building”. Where considering renewable energy projects in the Green Belt, “developers will need to demonstrate very special circumstances”; we consider that this application offers public benefit in the form of sustainable energy generation and contributions towards the council’s sustainability objectives, but further material details are required to assess the potential visual impact of installation.