Manor Farm Buildings, Manor Lane, Swainswick
This application concerns a group of individually-unlisted mid to late 19th century single storey agricultural buildings, situated within the Swainswick conservation area, Cotswolds AONB, Bath Green Belt, and the indicative landscape setting of the Bath World Heritage site. To the immediate north of the site, adjoining Barn H, is the Grade II early 17th century Manor Barn, which is potentially contemporary to the Grade II 17th century Manor House, now Manor House East and West, with both orientated to look over the Swainswick Valley. By merit of the site’s close historic, visual, and in the particular case of Barn H, material connection with Manor Barn and their continued shared agricultural usage and ownership, the Manor Farm Buildings are considered to be curtilage Grade II listed.
We would express that we do not condone unauthorised works to a listed building, or buildings within the grounds of curtilage, and the relevant LBC should always be acquired before works can be permitted to commence. The Trust would note that whilst multiple internal access routes were consented between Barn H and the Manor Barn in 2007 (see application 07/00550/LBA), the D&A Statement has clarified that works have only occurred in the last four years following expiry of this consent. Therefore, considering that the works to Barn H have affected the material integrity of the Grade II Manor Barn by proxy through the removal of historic fabric, we are surprised at its exclusion from the scheme, and the claim that “there are no plans for this barn as part of this application.” We maintain that the Manor Barn should be included as part of this application to regularise unauthorised material works.
We would additionally highlight that the retrospective aspects of this application relating to works to Barn H are in breach of the Article 4 direction covering the Swainswick Valley, in which “the extension or alteration of an agricultural building” does not come under Permitted Development rights.
We would acknowledge the planning context of this site, with a history of applications for a Certificate of Existing Lawful Use regarding change of use from agricultural buildings to B1, B8, D1, and D2 (see applications 07/00550/LBA and 09/04470/CLEU). The site has been granted a change of use to B8 (storage) under application 09/04470/CLEU. However, Barn H appears to function as a B1 office space, and has been occupied by Sam’s Kitchen Events as early as April 16th 2019 (See https://www.instagram.com/p/BwUJBUwF3zA/).
Therefore, considering the scale of proposed works across the site for the insulation, weatherproofing, and general ‘domestication’ of the Manor Farm Buildings, we would suggest that this indicates a building use outside of their permitted B8 function. Whilst we appreciate that the application as it stands must be considered on its own merits, we would consequently emphasise that (excluding consideration of Barn H and A&B’s proposed change of use) this application would not justify any previous or future blanket changes of use across the site in its entirety. Should the proposed material changes be consented, any existing or proposed changes of use should be standardised through the submission of further applications.
We would further note that despite the reported business occupancy of Barns D and E by Flowers by Passion (see https://flowersbypassion.com/pages/contact), there is no clarification of possible unauthorised works to these buildings, nor any attempt as part of this application to standardise the unauthorised change of use. We would additionally reiterate the complete exclusion of Manor Barn from the scheme despite its supposed continued use as a wedding venue (see https://www.micaelakarina.com/bath-wedding-photographer/).
We maintain that any existing or proposed signage associated with the site, such as the Flowers by Passion advertisement at the junction of Innox Lane and Gloucester Road, and on the north elevation of Barn D, would require the submission of relevant AR applications.