13/00317/F - Land Incorporating Former Holly House Bath Road Banbury Replacement care facility for Green Pastures Christian Nursing Home
We write to object to the application as proposed.
The Civic Society is more than happy with the principle of redevelopment of the site as a care home but, in common with most local residents, we are very disappointed with the scale, massing and position of the building on the site, which make it appear very bulky. The building overwhelms the neighbouring 2-storey properties. It is overly dominant for this sensitive corner site. The effect is reinforced by the lack of articulation of the roof slopes and principal elevations, the lack of vertical rhythm and the appalling detailing, none of which reflect the architectural characteristics or vocabulary of the existing properties in this very special street. The loss of existing on-street parking can only increase the pressure on the surviving front gardens, leading in time to further removal of front walls and the tarmacking over of front gardens.
We believe that the present proposal constitutes over development of the site and that it will cause significant harm to the character and appearance of the Banbury Conservation Area. We would request that the application be withdrawn, pending the submission of a more satisfactory scheme, or, failing this, that it be refused.
We would note the following from the Banbury Conservation Area Appraisal (CDC, 2004):
17 CONSERVATION AREA BOUNDARY AND JUSTIFICATION
17.8 Newland and Queens Road Area. The areas of Newland and that around Queens Road have a strongly identifiable homogeneity of architectural style, construction materials and layout. These suburbs were built, principally, during the latter half of the 19th century from local materials, in particular ‘Banbury’ brick.
12 19TH CENTURY SUBURBS (WEST) – QUEENS ROAD AREA
12.1 Land use
The west side of Banbury is principally a residential suburb and this is the oldest
remaining part. This area comprises 19th and early 20th century terraced housing
12.2 Street pattern
The sinuous shape of Bath Road and Broughton Road shows their historic importance.
12.3 Building age, type and style
This area of Banbury was developed during the latter part of the 19th and early 20th century. Terraced housing of this period differs little in its basic form.
12.4 Scale and massing
The housing density is generally high in the area, but plots are generally longer
than in the Newlands area. Characteristics include narrow frontages, deep plans and long gardens.
12.5 Construction and materials
As with other working class suburbs of Banbury, the area is dominated by the speculative development of 19th century terraced housing, built in local
Banbury brick, with Welsh slate roofs of 2 or 3 storeys. Houses are built in short
terraces, particularly in Queen’s Road and Bath Road and consequently there
is variation in the ornamentation of the lintels and surrounds.
Most front gardens are small and enclosed by low brick walls. There is some use of railings and hedges as frontage treatments for example on Park Road.
12.6 Trees, hedges, verges, open spaces
Trees are not common inside the character area. Therefore, the tree lines along the edge of Bath Road have important roles in providing enclosure to the streets and soft landscaping in the area.
• Most residential streets are dominated by on-street car parking, including college students and town centre workers.
• The removal of front boundary walls to provide off-road parking.
16 OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRESERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT
• Promote the retention of boundary walls and gateways.
• Encourage the retention of front gardens.
• Actively promote the use of traditional building materials in new building work and repair.
• New buildings on infill plots should be sympathetic to the intrinsic character of the area in terms of scale, design and materials used.
With its large, unbroken massing, use of modern materials, lack of vertical rhythm, large plot size and lack of period detailing, the proposed development could hardly be more alien to the area’s established character.
Views of the Site
The conservation area appraisal makes significant play of the views up and down Bath Road, looking towards the bends in the road at the northern end of the road, terminated by the tree-lined edge of People’s Park. These views are defined as ‘Key Views’ in the Appraisal
The exotic and ornamental trees on the application site, relicts of the former ornamental parkland walk from Wood Green (now Frank Wise school), similarly terminate views along the southern end of Bath Road at the similar corner on which the site sits. These trees, and the soft termination they also give to views, are equally important to Bath Road unique character.
Unlike the old Holly House, which was generally well set back and of only two storeys (below), the location, bulk and massing of the proposed built development will give this southern corner a hard, built-up character, completely transforming the street’s special character and appearance.
Historical Development of the Site
Until Holly House was built in the 1970s, the proposals site was occupied by a substantial villa, set in spacious wooded grounds. The villa and grounds formed the termination of an ornamental woodland walk that wove along and across a natural stream, the Cuttle Brook. The walk was lined with numerous cedars and selected deciduous trees, many, if not all of which, survive to this day, notwithstanding the culverting of the stream and the construction of by the Council of Gillett Road and Gillett Close along the line of the woodland walk. By 1968 the grounds to the villa had expanded significantly, to encompass all of the application site. This application site was in-turn purchased by Banbury Borough Council for the construction of Holly House.
The steam and woodland walk formed part of the grounds of the high-status residence of the Gillett banking family, Wood Green. Whilst the woodland walk has been partly subsumed into a post-war housing estate, Wood Green (now Frank Wise school) and its surviving grounds also lie in the Banbury Conservation Area, within the High Status Villas in Grounds character area. The demolished villa that lay on the application site doubtless also belonged to the Gillett family, probably accommodating a relative or junior family member.
The now mature evergreens of the woodland walk and of the demolished villa on Bath Road survived the construction of Holly House and the housing estate and they still dominate the application site, Gillett Road and Gillett Close and views from houses in Bath Road and Broughton Road. Their importance is recognised in a comprehensive series of TPOs.
View of trees of the former woodland walk surviving in Gillet Road. View looking south-east towards the application site
(Acting Chairman, Banbury Civic Society)