Parcel 7400, Widcombe Hill, Widcombe, Bath
The proposed site for tree works is located to the north of Widcombe Hill, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The site is additionally located within the Bath & Bristol Green Belt and the Cotswolds AONB. The site is located directly adjoining Smallcombe Woods, Bath’s only surviving ancient oak woodland which is indicated to be at least 400 years old and currently managed by the National Trust. Although the woodland on site is indicated to be young and the site was not indicated to have been planted until post-1950s, it acts as an extension to Smallcombe Woods and forms part of a Site of Natural Conservation Interest (SNCI). The site additionally provides a welcome extension to the green treatment of the roadside running east-west, and reads as a visual continuation of Smallcombe Woods. The Entry Hill, Perrymead, and Prior Park Conservation Area Character Appraisal notes the significance of green spaces within this semi-rural character area set outside of the built-up city centre; “the preservation of open spaces here contributes significantly to Bath’s green setting.”
We appreciate the need for the removal of all infected trees from the site to minimise the spread of ash dieback. However, we note that this constitutes a significant clearance of planting, and would likely result in a visible change to the wooded character of the site and its contribution to the conservation area (although we note that the specific location of the trees to be felled on the site is not indicated).
We strongly recommend that the tree canopy is retained in this area to appropriately sustain the special aesthetic and ecological significance of this site as part of the wider setting of the conservation area and World Heritage Site. We strongly recommend that an equivalent number of native trees are planted as replacements.