The southern boundary (site frontage) abuts Wheatley Lane Road and forms the edge of the Conservation Area. This boundary is characterized by a traditional stone wall and a line of mature trees whose substantial retention is considered to be an important aspect of any new development project.
The eastern boundary sits adjacent to the rear gardens of the houses on Lupton Drive, these being separated by the existing driveway serving Oaklands.
The western boundary of the site adjoins St Thomas Church of England Church building and carpark, St Thomas’s School grounds and open fields whilst the north-western boundary adjoins open fields together with the existing large residential property, Oaklands and its wooded grounds.
The site context reveals a mix of architectural styles and materials, of varying ages and materials. There is no dominant building style although natural stone walling is an important feature along the road frontage, especially as one progresses towards the village centre.
It is recognised that the design of the site frontage requires careful consideration in order to balance ‘development’ with ‘heritage’ and particularly to ensure that any new site access is positioned and designed in a way which minimises impact upon the existing landscape. Our specialist consultants on heritage, landscape, highways and arboricultural matters have provided guidance in this area and their analyses and conclusions have informed the latest scheme layout and would support the balanced intentions of any future planning application.
Draft street scene showing the proposed elevations along Wheatley Lane Road and the walls and trees to be retained where possible
With that initial advice in mind, the approach taken is to maintain the visual continuity of a natural stone wall, backed by a strong line of trees. Some loss of a section of the existing wall adjacent to the existing gap in the wooded frontage would be required to create a site access meeting highway design and safety standards.
However, the initial gap so formed would be visually recreated by aligning the new carriageway in a swept manner which avoids long distance open views (characteristic of many housing estates) and instead allows new perimeter walling, backed by new heavy standard tree planting to create an interesting foreground consistent with existing Conservation Area character.
Aerial satellite image with the proposed entrance, open space and properties fronting onto the conservation area superimposed
It is important that the front of the site is designed to respect the context of the Conservation Area and the street scape of Church Street.
The proposed dwellings facing Wheatley lane Road would be set back approx. 25m from the stone boundary wall. This is to safeguard a green frontage as well as to avoid any impact of development upon the Conservation Area. It also allows an acceptable space for the retention of the existing trees and for the future growth of any proposed planting along this boundary.
The landscaped area will also have a footpath link that feeds into Wheatley Lane Road in two positions and also feeds back into the site via a linear open space area adjacent to the church and school grounds.
The proposed properties along the site frontage will all be of bespoke design and will take their design key from the existing properties along Church Street.