Land To Rear Of 43 Upper Oldfield Park, Junction Road, Oldfield Park, Bath
The proposed site of development is to the rear of 43 Upper Oldfield Park, now the Charters building that was built in 2015, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site. The area of Upper Oldfield Park is noted of particular interest in the Bear Flat and Oldfield Park Character Appraisal as “an interesting example of a more ambitious form of speculative development, which not only provided for large plots served by a generous curving avenue, but included, for the benefit of residents, its own park area.” This area of townscape is historically defined by a loose grain with Victorian villas set back from the road within generous garden settings. There are some examples of development along Junction Road where later 20th century development has encroached upon these garden settings, resulting in subdivision into smaller residential plots. Other examples include the separate development of previously ancillary/service buildings, such as at Norland College and 33 Upper Oldfield Park. The proposed site of development remains visually open and prominent in views from the corner of Junction Road along the east approach and should therefore be considered in relation to the setting of the wider conservation area.
BPT previously objected to application 19/04909/FUL on grounds of overdevelopment of the site and harm to the Bath conservation area. This application has since been allowed at appeal and there is therefore extant planning permission for development of the site. it is noted that the permitted design is considered to draw reference from examples of ancillary-style pitched roof buildings in the immediate vicinity, with the inspector concluding that “the form of the proposed dwelling would be derived from that of the historic ancillary buildings noted above, and its positioning and scale would otherwise be similar to that of development to the rear of adjacent plots.”
In light of the Climate Emergency, we commend the opportunity for the implementation of passive house standards in new and existing development. We are keen to see an ‘eco home’ of exemplary design and performance through to delivery, and we urge officers to ensure Passivehaus principles of low-energy construction are fully integrated into the development at construction phase, and tied to building regulations and certification by Condition of the application.
In principle, BPT is not opposed to innovative, harmonious examples of contemporary architecture that demonstrate high standards of craftsmanship, construction, and finish. We have a preference for a more clearly contemporary, 21st century design of a high quality finish that can contribute something new and exciting to the conservation area whilst drawing from or reinforcing positive aspects of local character.
However, we consider that there is insufficient justification regarding the design approach (a 1930s ‘pastiche’ appearance) and how this relates to or enhances the context and setting. There appears to be a missing reference as to the motivation behind the proposed design and its relationship with its townscape context.
When considering the proposed design, we would like to see a more coherent elevational treatment extended to the rear façade, which as proposed is bland and visually disconnected from the sinuous articulation of the street-facing façade.
The development does not demonstrate adequate residential amenity, or landscaping appropriate to the large building footprint. Whilst the D&A Statement claims that development would cover “less than 40% of the site curtilage”, this does not account for the restriction of usable garden space to the west/south west corner. The east of the site is taken up with off-street parking space as well as the shared vehicle access road to the rear of Charters. The addition of a pond is also dictated by the location of a water holding tank, further restricting the available outdoor amenity space of the site. A three bedroom dwelling is proposed, the same number of bedrooms as application 19/04909/FUL, but with an approximately 83% increase on the 123m2 footprint of the permitted dwelling. We therefore consider that the proposed scale of development is not coherent with the relatively constrained scale and location of the site and would result in the over development of the site, and inadequate, unsustainable residential amenity.
We maintain concerns regarding the potential impact of development on the adjacent pine tree, subject of a Tree Protection Order (TPO). Whilst the tree is located within the garden of the adjacent property, the eastern segment of the site is covered by the Root Protection Zone (RPZ) and development would at least be partially overshadowed by the expansive canopy. The proposals do not adequately consider the likely future pressures on the tree from future residential use, such as concerns with shading/overshadowing, impact on PV panels, or falling tree debris. This may result in increased pressure for substantial pruning or crowning works that would have a substantial impact on the tree as a notable local feature and its visual prominence in the streetscape. Felling works due to future residential concerns would not be considered acceptable. We strongly recommend that all aspects of the tree should be considered to best inform the proposed dwelling’s design, placement, and orientation to ensure that future, long-term pressures on the tree are suitably mitigated.
The proposed development would dominate the plot, fail to provide adequate levels of garden setting, landscaping and amenity, and would therefore constitute overdevelopment of the area and would not preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area. We maintain strong concerns regarding how development would interact with a protected tree. This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 12 and 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D3, D6, D7, NE6, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be refused or withdrawn.