Land To West Of Tamarisk, Ostlings Lane, Bathford
The proposed construction site is situated within the Bathford conservation area, and forms part of Bath’s World Heritage setting; it further contributes to the wider Cotswolds AONB. The village is characterised by its rural location and appearance, incorporating mature trees and hedgerows into its overall distinctiveness of character. Ostings Lane is a well-preserved historic road valued for its narrow, verdant appearance, and low density of buildings. Dominant architectural features include the use of Bath stone ashlar and slate or clay tiled roofs. Therefore, any proposed development on this site is expected to preserve or enhance the conservation area through the use of subtle design that either respects or incorporates elements of the local vernacular.
BPT does not object to the principle of development within the built up area of Bathford; we support the provision of much-needed housing, and further encourage the construction of homes within an area characterised by high levels of family accommodation.
However, having considered this application, the Trust objects to this proposal for the following reasons:
Fundamentally, we feel that inadequate justification has been made for the development of this site. Despite the small footprint and low height of the property, the Trust concludes that this proposal is demonstrative of the overdevelopment of an awkward brownfield site. Consequently, the proposed siting has resulted in the building’s close proximity to the roadside, with minimal space for any mitigating screening. This development ignores Bathford’s architectural precedent in which “roadside dwellings are “barely viewed” due to the visual dominance of green infrastructure. BPT asserts that this will therefore severely impact the existing rural appearance of Ostings Lane, and conflict with the conservation area’s established low density structure that further contributes to the village’s distinctive rural character.
BPT further objects to the proposed building due to its inappropriate use of materials and architectural features. We strongly oppose the use of a through-coloured render in an area historically characterised by its use of Bath stone ashlar, and assert that all elevations should reflect or complement this material tradition through the use of high-quality materials. The zinc lean-to roof and inclusion of a brise soleil to the building’s frontage are additionally problematic and demonstrate the applicant’s failure to acknowledge or respect existing construction styles within the conservation area. Therefore, we conclude that the proposed design does not suitably complement, preserve, or contribute to the prevailing character of the conservation area with particular reference to Policies CP6, D2, D5, HE1, and NE2A of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan.
Ultimately, we consider this application to be incomplete due to the lack of available necessary information. We would request that a suitably detailed existing site plan be provided for the necessary examination of the current plot and any potential planting or tree removal measures which have remained ambiguous throughout the proposal.
The Trust is also concerned regarding the minimal information provided about the installation of PV panels to the east-facing elevation, contravening Policy SCR2 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan. BPT encourages the integration of solar panels into this design, and supports suitable opportunities for the sensitive and appropriate use of micro-renewables and energy-efficiency measures. However, PV panels must be of an appropriate material and mounting to minimise visual disturbance within the conservation area and AONB.
For these reasons BPT considers that the proposed dwelling does not successfully preserve or enhance the character of the conservation area, and directly harms Bathford’s distinctive green contribution to the Cotswolds AONB. BPT asserts that this application is symptomatic of overdevelopment, and inadequate justification has been provided for the selection of this site. If a principle for development is established, the proposed design remains harmful to its context for the reasons stated above. This scheme is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan Policies B1, B4, CP6, SCR2, D1, D2, D5, D6, HE1, NE2 and NE2A and should be refused or withdrawn, allowing for a redesign that provides better mitigation of harm.