Oldfield School, Kelston Road, Newbridge
The proposed site of development is situated within the Green Belt, the Cotswolds AONB, and the Bath World Heritage Site. It is situated within the indicative landscape setting of the Bath conservation area. It forms an important part of the green landscape setting OUV of the World Heritage Site due to its hillside position looking south over the River Avon and wooded boundary line contributing to landscape views enjoyed from the south, such as along the Bristol Road approach into the city. The current school playing field is situated immediately to the north of the Grade II listed 1840 detached dwelling at 130 Kelston Road and therefore should also be considered with regards to its proximity within the setting of a listed building.
Furthermore, there is no indication as to the consideration of the site’s sensitive landscape setting and associated character and appearance, or its visibility in wider landscape views coming into the city conservation area and World Heritage Site. Paragraph 172 of the NPPF notes that “great weight should be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty”, and Paragraph 172 states that local authorities should seek “to retain and enhance landscapes, visual amenity, and biodiversity.” We therefore do not feel that an appropriate assessment of this proposal with regards to the retention of Bath’s special landscape qualities can be made with the limited information currently provided. It is unclear as to what impact the proposed works would have on the special qualities of the AONB and openness of the Green Belt.
We strongly recommend that further documentation should be submitted to the case officer in support of this application to allow for the proper assessment of the impact, such as a Heritage Impact Assessments and LVIA. As well as statement to explain and justify the proposed ground works and reorientation of the sports pitch closer to the site boundary of the Grade II listed 130 Kelston Road, and any associated impact on its significance and setting. We maintain that this application should not be determined without proper assessment of the potential impact on the setting of the AONB, Green Belt, and World Heritage Site.
In addition, we maintain an in-principle resistance to the use of any potential lighting on the site that would result in the unacceptable illumination of the dark skies and night time character of the open countryside landscape setting of Bath and the Cotswolds AONB. Associated build structures such as floodlighting poles would result in a more developed, built up appearance intruding into rural views. The resulting cumulative visual impact would be contrary to Policy NE2 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan.