Dower House, Claverton Down Road, Claverton Down, Bath
Dower House is an unlisted late 19th/early 20th century detached house situated within the Bath World Heritage Site, the Bath & Bristol Green Belt, and the Cotswolds AONB. It additionally forms the indicative landscape setting of the Bath conservation area and is located just outside of the Combe Down character area. The main focus of the proposed works is to the site’s roadside presence and the appearance of the existing boundary wall; the area is characterised as low-density in its built form and grain, and distinctly rural in appearance where Bath’s fringe residential development transitions into open countryside. This section of the road however remains relatively enclosed by woodland to the north and south which forms a key aspect of the Bath Skyline walk. Boundary treatments are typically low rubble stone walls with cock ‘n’ hen capping, in keeping with the rural character and appearance of the streetscape. The existing estate-style access to Combe Grove with curved flanking walls and gate piers is indicated to be a later 20th century addition. Alternatively, the 1921-1943 OS indicates that the existing Dower House driveway originally had an direct access point onto Claverton Down Road, potentially the original 19th/20th century access to the building, which has since been infilled.
A new driveway to Dower House would reinstate a historic, now missing, access point to the building. Later 20th century infill would indicate that parts of the existing boundary wall are of limited material or historic significance, although the wall’s general contribution to streetscape character should continue to be considered. It is worth noting that the proposed driveway entrance would not appear to align with the historic position of the entrance, for the practical reason of avoiding conflict with the existing access to Combe Grove.
However, in order to properly assess the impact on the conservation area further information should be requested in support of the proposal regarding the appearance and finish of the new driveway access, particular in relation to wider contextual views of the boundary wall as experienced from the road. There is also a lack of information regarding details of the proposed new gate, such as appearance, material, finish, and means of fixing. We therefore recommend that appropriate elevations are submitted as part of this application.
It is also proposed to install a “traffic control barrier” to the existing driveway access, although no further details are provided as to what type of mechanism would be installed and how this would appear in wider streetscape views. The existing drawings fail to clarify this; it is unclear as to whether the outlined square on the proposed plans refers to a structure, or a concealed system (eg. ground loop entry/exit). It is recommended that this is clarified through the use of proposed elevations, which would also allow for the overall scope of works to be considered in relation to cumulative effect on the streetscape.