Riparian House, 83 St John’s Road, Bathwick, Bath
83 St John’s Road is an unlisted modern detached dwelling, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The focus of the proposed works is the large cluster of sycamore trees along the north-east boundary of the garden, facing onto the junction of St John’s Road onto Bathwick Street and the Grade II* Cleveland Bridge. Whilst contributing to the notably green qualities of this area of the streetscape, including a number of well-developed private and street trees, the extent of planting on this corner frontage is visible from across Cleveland Bridge and as such forms part of the significant green corridor bordering the River Avon. Indeed, as identified in the Arboricultural Impact Survey attached to application 05/03242/FUL (erection of new dwelling after demolition of existing scout hut), “the most important trees for retention on the site are those located towards the north east quarter. Screening the site from Bathwick Road and St John’s Road, they have the greatest collective amenity value, although no one individual specimen has a high retention category”. As such, the shared canopy in this area of the streetscape can be said to have a cumulatively positive contribution to the visual amenities of the conservation area.
We therefore have strong concerns regarding the proposed removal of two groups of sycamores and the resulting impact on the appearance and character of the surrounding area. It is not indicated as to the total number of trees that would be removed as part of works. Furthermore, whilst it is specified that there is “continued major dieback in upper crown”, hence the need for removal, no further evidence of this is provided such as relevant, detailed photographs or a tree condition survey. We maintain that appropriate, evidenced justification is required before the principle of felling can be considered acceptable, particularly considering the proposed scale of removal.
Furthermore, we maintain that if removal works are inevitable due to the poor health of these trees, appropriate replanting works in a suitable native species should take place to ensure the retention of tree coverage in this area. We do not consider the permanent loss of tree canopy in this area to be appropriate, as this would not preserve or enhance the appearance or character of the conservation area and would result in detriment to the ecological value of the green river corridor.