Sumela, Perrymead, Lyncombe, Bath
Sumela is a 1960s detached dwelling along Perrymead, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site, as well as the Bath Green Belt and Cotswolds AONB. The focus of this application is on the large plot of adjoining land to the north which forms part of the green buffer between Perrymead and elevated views down into Lyncombe Vale. In Annex 1 Map 4 of the Entry Hill, Perrymead and Prior Park Character Appraisal, the site is identified as part of the “open space” of the character area (as of 2018) which contributes to its predominantly low density, semi-rural character. This identified character is reinforced by the development grain and pattern at Perrymead, where built development is concentrated directly along the roadside, sandwiched between a mixture of open fields and woodland to the north and south. As such, the size and location of the plot, coupled with its previous identification of an “open grass field”, cumulatively contributes towards the significance of the wider character area as part of Bath’s undeveloped landscape setting.
As part of the original 1968 planning permission, it was conditioned that the site should be “retained as an open grass field and not laid out as a private garden […] to ensure that the open and rural character of this and the adjoining land to the north, is retained.” It is noted that the site directly adjoins a parcel of undeveloped land overlooking the Lyncombe Vale road, currently screened by mature tree planting along the northern boundary, and as such remains a critical aspect of the green buffer between areas of concentrated roadside development.
We further refer to application 22/00078/TCA, recently allowed, for the felling of approximately 27 trees along the north/north-west boundary of the site.
We therefore have some concerns regarding the implications of the proposed change of use of this site to private garden use. Despite changes to the site including increased tree planting which has somewhat compromised its previously “open” status, it remains a significant parcel of undeveloped land with continued contributions to surrounding landscape character and appearance, and “limited but important” (Conservation Area Character Appraisal) views through the character area. Garden use may therefore result in the intensification of use and resulting impact on the surrounding area; the application form makes specific reference to plans “to install structures in order to facilitate the management of the existing trees in the garden”. We therefore strongly encourage that the site is maintained as an undeveloped area of grassland where private garden use is appropriately balanced against the need to sustain its contributions to the wider character area in accordance with Policies CP6 and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan.
Further information is required regarding potential installation of garden lighting and a resulting increase of lightspill in this semi-rural area with a “subdued” (Conservation Area Character Appraisal) night time character. Where appropriate, this may be restricted by a Condition.
In accordance with Policy NE2 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, “development will be permitted where it […] conserves or enhances local landscape character, landscape features and local distinctiveness.” We therefore do not consider that change of use to garden use would justify potential future development proposals on this land parcel, where this may demonstrably result in harm in landscape character and be at odds with the established grain and built density of the character area.