Yew Tree House, Ostlings Lane, Bathford
The proposed site of development is situated on the edge of the Bathford village conservation area, and the indicative landscape setting of the Bath World Heritage Site. The site is undeveloped and forms part of the land curtilage of Yew Tree House, although is reportedly not in use by this property. The village is characterised by its rural location and appearance, incorporating mature trees and hedgerows into its overall distinctiveness of character. Ostings Lane is a well-preserved historic road valued for its narrow, verdant appearance. There is a sense of visual enclosure created by planting and the use of coursed and rubble stone boundary walls along the roadside, but in spite of this buildings are frequently set back from the roadside which gives a visual impression of low built density (albeit with some exceptions in later, less sympathetic development). The site forms a midway point along Ostings Lane as it moves from the more heavily greened extent of the road running into the village from the north, before it intersects with Church Street, a denser residential street which bisects the heart of the village at its crossing point with High Street. Dominant architectural features include the use of Bath stone ashlar and slate or clay tiled roofs.
BPT previously objected to application 19/04378/FUL on grounds of overdevelopment of the site and a design that would not preserve or enhance the character of the conservation area. We did not oppose the principle of sensitive development within the built up area of Bathford and support the provision of much-needed housing where this appropriately sustains the character of its historic village setting.
The application was subsequently refused, and the development was concluded to constitute overdevelopment and “not in-keeping with the local context in terms of spacing, siting and layout.”
We acknowledge the amendments that have been made to the scheme, with the reduction of the overall GIA from 65sqm to 61.845sqm and the consideration of a more sympathetic elevational treatment in Bath stone, with coursed rubble examples provided as part of the proposed elevations. We do maintain some concerns regarding the flat-roofed, square profile of the proposed dwelling which remains out of keeping with the established architectural character and appearance of the conservation area.
We do maintain concerns regarding the overdevelopment of this plot, which remains at a cramped and awkward scale in comparison to its surrounding residential context. We acknowledge that the Density Report does address areas of higher density ratios along Church Street and High Street. Other areas of later, more tightly constructed modern development to the south such as Mountain Wood have also been considered; however, these sit outside of the conservation area and should therefore be attributed limited weight. We note that the Density Report does not consider examples of lower density built form along Ostings Lane, along which the site proposed for development forms an additional green ‘break’, on the north junction of Bathwick Hill, or the southern extent of Church Street (with the exception of 50 Church Street with an identified density ratio of 20%).
We therefore remain concerned that that the site has not been adequately considered in relation to its immediate context and the green character and appearance of this area of the conservation area and along Ostings Lane from which “roadside dwellings are “barely viewed” (Bathford Village Design Statement).
We do not consider that this development has been adequately justified to override the case officer’s reason for refusal.