Parish of Peasedown St John

approved as
to the Local Development Plan

© Peasedown St.John Parish Council January 2001

The Parish of Peasedown St John
Parish Design Statement

A.1 Objective

A.1.1 The prime aim of this document is to provide information, well-researched as a combined community endeavour, designed to assist Bath & North East Somerset Council when considering the character of any proposed new developments or changes within the Parish of Peasedown St John.

A.1.2 This is the ‘Planning Aspects’ core of a Parish community action plan intended to influence the yield of a better quality of life, with environmental stewardship for every one of its 5000 inhabitants. It also forms the written contribution by this community to ‘Local Agenda 21’ with the aim of helping to manage change at whatever level or scale that it occurs and ensuring that any changes made, remain in harmony with the design of the various settlements within the Parish setting. As it is considered essential that any changes should make a positive contribution to the local environment, it is felt necessary to provide an influence towards protecting and where possible enhancing the quality, safety, character and existing diversity of the environment of this Parish, to ensure its continued enjoyment not only by the present population but also by future generations.

A.1.3 It is considered that, in future, additions or changes proposed as developments should be checked to ensure they are responsive to the local character of the Parish, suitably reflecting local building styles where appropriate and otherwise enhancing the local environment in a positive manner.

A.1.4 Those about to prepare planning applications, whether local inhabitants, small builders or major developers, are to be encouraged to exceed the basic requirements of Planning formalities, by consulting with the community in a relevant manner via the Parish Council, using this document as a background when designing schemes and preparing their formal applications. This will serve not only to influence the raising of design standards and reinforcement of local distinctiveness, to promote quality of life and environmental stewardship to build a healthier and safer community, but also will help facilitate the ready processing and acceptance of future formal development applications.

A.2 Geographical location

A.2.1 The Parish of Peasedown St John straddles a hilltop some six miles to the south of Bath.

A.2.2 The main settlement is aligned along the ridge of the hill, at an altitude of some 170.m at its highest point (Huddox Hill). This follows the line of the old Roman Road, the Fosse Way (and until the village centre was by-passed in 1996 this had been the A.367 trunk route). There are other habitation areas, effectively separate hamlets within the Parish, located on the hill slopes at Carlingcott and New Buildings to the north, and at Woodborough and Braysdown to the south.

A.2.3 In the valley to the north runs the Cam Brook, in the valley to the south the Wellow Brook, and these effectively delineate the respective northern and southern Parish boundaries.

A.2.4 The subsidiary settlements are located within and are surrounded by agriculturally developed, actively utilised land that has supported and been sustained by both arable and livestock farming over many centuries up to the present day.. Some of the land, particularly on the northern flanks, is steeply inclined, and much lies within designated Green Belt extending overall from Timsbury in the north west along to Wellow in the east.

A.2.5 Geologically the hilltop location is founded on Lower Jurassic Limestone, with hedges and mature trees softening the village boundaries to the north-east and south-west. The countryside is readily accessible, with a network of footpaths and minor roads giving ready access to the adjacent villages of Shoscombe, Dunkerton and Camerton which lie outside the Parish boundary.

A.2.6 The southern boundary of the main settlement is now formed by a new by-pass road. This is located on a plateau extending as far as Braysdown before the ground falls away down to the Wellow Brook in the valley on the south side. The by-pass road has an acoustic bund separating it from the major new housing development now built to the north of its alignment, and this bund needs extensive additional afforestation before its appearance can compare with the other older parts of the settlement.

A.3 Historical Adevelopment

A.3.1 Formally, the ‘Parish’ is a relatively recent 20th century creation, having been created from parts of Camerton, Dunkerton and Wellow Parishes only in 1955.

A.3.2 However, in historic and physical terms it is possible to trace continuous local occupation forward from an Early Iron Age settlement at the site, through Roman Occupation into Saxon developments, the latter causing a number of local inclusions in the 1086 Domesday Book.

A.3.3 Although the hamlet of Carlingcott existed prior to 1800, the main ‘modern’ settlement developed as part of the 19th century expansion of the Somerset Coalfield during the Industrial Revolution, and in particular with the sinking of the local Braysdown Colliery in 1845.

Indeed, as with several other neighbouring villages and hamlets, it was coal mining that provided the main employment for the local population for over one hundred years until the second half of this century, there being some half-dozen collieries within a two-mile radius of Peasedown St John. Apart from Braysdown Colliery within the Parish, other mines on its periphery were at Camerton, Dunkerton, Writhlington, Shoscombe and Foxcote.

A.3.4 Apart from the Red Post Inn, dating from the 18th century and disparagingly referred to by the Rev.John Skinner, Rector of Camerton in his 1803-1834 diaries, the main settlement, erected in the latter half of the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries, comprises separate and terraced dwellings and ranks of cottages. These are substantial, dignified homes of modest utilitarian design, constructed in local stone (‘lias’), or brick, or a combination of both, with Welsh slate roofs. Siting occurred mostly as a progressive linear development along the line of the Fosse Way (by then a metalled road providing a strategic link to connect Bath with Radstock and communities to the south). The line of buildings, homes and retail businesses was strung along the area now known as Ashgrove and Bath Road, with a spur road, Braysdown Lane, going down to the colliery. These buildings were placed close to the road, which was only formalised with pavements during the inter-war period at which stage they acquired a uniform frontage with walls or railings and small front gardens.

A.3.5 Mid-20th century developments after the Second World War mainly comprised local authority housing and private dwellings. The former brought adequate and suitable housing facilities at affordable rents, usually in generously spaced settings, but have contributed little towards enhancement of the general architectural appearance of Peasedown St John. The majority of the privately-commissioned residential dwellings built in the same period, mostly on the village perimeter, tended to be individually-designed bungalows, giving a ‘softening effect’ on the village edge as it encroached into the surrounding countryside. By the end of the 1960s these additions had stabilised the village size at around 1500 homes.

A.3.6 More recently there has been a doubling of the village size within a short period as a result of large-scale residential estate developments commenced in the late 1980s. These have been built on former agricultural land previously used for mixed farming, sited on the southern plateau and bounded by a line drawn from the cemetery in the east through to the Red Post Inn in the west, and circumscribed by the by-pass road that was integral to the scheme. This latest development has been undertaken by a number of major building contractors of ‘national’ status (and therefore using national rather than regional design patterns), and has produced a mix of housing from starter homes through to substantial detached houses incorporating prestige features.

A.3.7 Some parts of this development have been arranged in a layout comprising a series of cul-de-sacs, which have the advantage of bestowing local privacy coupled with road safety due to the absence of through vehicular traffic. However it has been found that such linking by single access points tends to deter social integration with the rest of the village, extending feelings of isolation and heightening fears of crime. In this regard the Parish now has more than twelve Neighbourhood Watch Schemes in operation, and these, together with other desirable design features, have been discussed with the Police Officers responsible for the Parish and have their full support. Thus a joint effort exists to ensure that the Parish is a safe place in which to reside and bring up a family.

A.3.8 Despite the addition of these major housing developments, there is now very little accommodation available for renting other than the remaining former Local Authority housing that is now operated by the Somer Community Housing Trust. The latter comprises some 252 dwellings of which 59 are specifically designed as sheltered accommodation for the elderly. This rented housing stock approximates some ten per cent of the total within the main settlement.

A.3.9 In summary, the Parish has an acceptable mix of homes including estates built in the 1960s which introduced new forms such as long terraces, some single storey and some double storey, with interspersed architect-designed homes that have contributed to a refreshing variety in the architectural pattern. However, there should always be some local affordable housing for first time buyers, avoiding the exclusion of this group by any undue trend towards building a majority of larger, detached, and more expensive dwellings.

A.3.10 In some Parishes of the old coalfield area, building development has unfortunately been allowed to take place in such a way that former logically separated communities have disadvantageously melded.

The main settlement of Peasedown St John is separated from that of Shoscombe in the adjoining Parish by a strip of farmland a mere 400m.wide, and exemplifies that vigilance is necessary to obviate any similar local future physical joining of separate communities by unwise new linking developments.

A.4 Local demographic trends

A.4.1 Following cessation of coal mining as the primary employment, lack of other local opportunities made it necessary for the Parish inhabitants to seek alternative work outside, taking them progressively further away to Norton-Radstock, Paulton and then as far as Bath, Bristol, or even to London.

Recent doubling of residential housing has exacerbated this situation so that by now the vast majority of working-age people living in Peasedown St John need to travel each day in order to reach suitable employment.

A.4.2 Notwithstanding this adverse change, there has been a stable situation over recent years, so that by June 2000 there were no more than sixty local people registered as seeking employment, the majority of these being males within the age range from 18 to 44 years. With no railway system to provide access to Bath, Bristol, or communities to the east and south, commuting has progressively become mainly dependent on use of private cars. However the cumulative effects of congestion on the local A.367 artery is also causing a deteriorating reliability of service by the desirable alternative of bus-based public transport, as the latter has to share the same restricted road system without benefit (or seeming possibility) of priority measures.

A.4.3 Currently the opportunities for village-based employment are few, even though there is light industry located within the main settlement and at Braysdown. An area of twenty-four acres of farming land zoned for industrial development, having lain idle for over fifteen years, is now the subject of a detailed planning application to provide warehousing and light industry. The developer has consulted the Parish Council and has provided a useful series of Environmental Impact Statements.

A.4.4 Some retail businesses, trades and services are located in a ribbon-like manner in the ‘central’ portion of the main street. These aim to supply some everyday domestic needs, but many householders find that as they need to travel at least to Norton-Radstock, Paulton or Bath to satisfy their total weekly requirements, it is convenient to do the majority of their shopping on these occasions, aided by greater choice and opportunities for bargain prices. As a result, progressively since the 1970s to current date there has been a steady loss of local businesses attributable at least in part to lack of support from the local community, and this despite the doubling of the local population in recent years.

A.4.5 Whilst the main settlement can still be considered to be well served with essential main services, with the exception of banking facilities, the prosperity of the Parish is almost totally dependent on the normal process of economic growth and development in the surrounding urban areas, and these are matters over which the Parish community has little control and ineffectual opportunity to influence the way events develop.

A.5 The Way Ahead

A.5.1 The Parish community would like the submission and handling of all future planning proposals to conform closely to the process outlined in the document : "Code of Practice for the Determination and Handling of Planning Applications and Other Planning Issues" as published by Bath and North East Somerset Council.

A.5.2 Overall, any development proposal should demonstrate how full account has been taken of the need for good inherent design, and pay due regard to compatibility with the local environment in which it is set.

A.5.3 With sections of the older part of the Parish of Peasedown St.John main settlement dating well back into the 19th century, and approximately half constructed from 1960 onwards, even the practice of

in-filling (which is generally to be commended, especially where it is suitable as an alternative to use of greenfield sites) should address the appearance of the proposed development in relation to its surroundings, in order to ensure compatibility of design and scale.

Relationships between buildings are as important as the design of the buildings themselves and skilful use of spaces between buildings can help the successful assimilation of new developments.

However designs should include subtle variations to avoid monotonous repetition.

A.5.4 It is highly desirable, and the Parish Council would be appreciative, if the originators of future planning bids assist the process of consultation and determination of their proposals by including a short written statement setting out the need for, and the principles behind, any proposed development, indicating that consideration had been given to any likely impact on adjacent building(s), the settlement and landscape setting, and the Parish community as a whole.

A.5.5 Small-scale proposals can be adequately illustrated by the conventional requirement for plan and elevation drawings, though supplementation by good-sized photographs of the intended site that clearly reveal the relationship to existing surroundings will assist consideration of the potential effect of adding the proposed development. Better understanding of proposals for mixed or large-scale developments can be better considered from appropriate enhanced visualisations such as perspective views, isometric drawings, computer-generated views or three-dimensional models. A meaningful combination of the above should be submitted appropriate to the scale and nature of the application.

A.5.6 Prior to a planning application being made the Parish Council would wish to encourage prospective developers, especially in relation to larger or significant developments

(e.g.: The J.S.Bloor (Swindon) application for the proposed development of the industrial site for general industry) to consult appropriately in the village including with the Planning Committee of the Parish Council, and take the views of the local community into account in preparing the application.

A.5.7 Consultation with the Parish Council at the initial stages is seen as being of benefit to both the community and the developer so that the relevant issues concerning the design aspects of the development and other related constraints are identified early in the development process. It would also assist in making the whole planning process speedier and more efficient. Such consultation would be separate from and in addition to the normal publicity and consultation procedures in relation to planning applications. 

B. Specific guidance factors 
for Planning Permission Applications within the Parish of Peasedown St.John

The Peasedown St.John Parish Design Statement is supplementary to the Development Plan.

Currently this comprises the Adopted structure Plan and the Wansdyke Local Plan.

These will be superseded in due course by the Joint Replacement Structure Plan for the Avon area and the Bath & North East Somerset Local Plan.

An annotated map appended to this document indicates the areas of particular relevance within the Parish.

Consideration has been given to factors under the following broad classification headings :

  • Environmental setting (see B.1)
  • Countryside issues (see B.2)
  • Open recreational spaces (see B.3)
  • Building styles (see B.4)
  • Proposals for new housing (see B. )
  • Footpaths (see B.6)
  • Retail and Commercial development (see B.7)
  • Streetscape and undergrounding of cabled services (see B.8)
  • Noise pollution (see B.9)
  • Crime prevention (see B.10)

Comments on detail of each of these aspects follows :

B.1 Environmental setting

B.1.1 The Wansdyke Local Plan already envisages [LNC.4] that trees and woodland will be protected and increased by not permitting development which would significantly adversely impact those trees and woodland which are of amenity or wildlife value. The appropriate retention and new plantings of trees and woodlands will be required in new developments. Appropriate tree planting schemes in villages and on public highway land will be carried out. The health and extent of existing street trees will be surveyed and a programme of management and replacement of losses provided.

Within defined areas of General Landscape Improvement the landscape will be restored, or where appropriate new landscapes created, with priority given to landscape improvement by way of appropriate tree plantings [LNC.6].

Development that has a significantly adverse effect on valuable natural and man-made features will not be permitted [LNC.8].

Proposals for a new development will be required to retain features of the landscape such as ponds, hedgerows, woodlands and trees which are of major importance for wild flora and fauna and/or for their amenity value. Such a development will be required to provide, where appropriate, for the creation of new features and habitats, and in either case to make appropriate provision for the long term management of such features and habitats. Where it is accepted that some loss of features of major importance is unavoidable, then compensatory provision will be required to secure appropriate replacement [LNC.11].

B.1.2 With regard to trees specifically, when approaching the Parish from both the north-east and the south-west, substantial groupings of trees are a feature of the main entrances to the village, including fine specimens of native broadleaf species. From the south, these extend from the Woodborough House lane along the A.367 and up to the Red Post inn, and at the northern end form a tree tunnel from the roundabout at the top of Dunkerton Hill through to Eckweek Lane.

There is a well-developed wood (Camerton Wood / Lower Plantation) lying to the west of New Buildings and penetrated by Whitebrook Lane, which runs from the Red Post inn down into Camerton Parish.

To the extreme south of the Parish the colliery refuse tips at Braysdown are now completely covered with conifer and deciduous trees.

There are lesser groupings of trees that should also be retained. These include :

  • Keels Hill to Carlingcott and in an area along Cam Brook and towards Dunkerton
  • Along Eckweek Lane and edging of White Ox Mead
  • within the cemetery
  • edging of Bath Road at Huddox Hill
  • on the corner of Braysdown Lane and Bath Road
  • around Red Post Court and Wellow Mead developments

Apart from the areas detailed above there are no specific groupings of broadleaf deciduous trees. However, scattered throughout the main settlement there are good single examples of mature chestnut, ash, elm, beech and plane. Within the areas of new housing development, where hedgerows have not been cut back, there are hawthorn, hazel and field maple trees flourishing. A policy of retention of such features within any areas that are further developed should be stringently maintained.

For the future, there is every potential to establish new tree plantings such as along Orchard Way, the distributor road for most of the new housing development. Those parts of the bund along the northern edge of the by-pass that have not received arborial treatment from the developer consortium would be an ideal location for the linear placement of suitable trees.

B.1.3 In regard to wildlife habitat, regard should be given wherever possible to avoid perpetuating any further adverse effect such as that caused by loss of the field system to the south east of the main settlement, where habitat has been replaced by urban development within the last twenty-five years.

Hedges that border walkways and footpaths, e.g. Eckweek Lane, provide a concept of "an aisle to the countryside" and need to be strenuously defended. Some hedgerows, even within the newly developed housing estate, mark the historic boundaries of ancient fields, and should also be retained.

The same applies to old hedgerows remaining within the older part of the village, such as adjacent to Fairfield Terrace.

With the expansion of the main settlement to the south east there has been a loss of flora from the area now occupied by housing, and fauna has been displaced to the southern side of the by-pass, where the skylark can still be frequently heard.

Bath Asparagus located within the Parish has survived this onslaught and continues to flourish.

Foxes and badgers that were once a common sight in Braysdown Lane and Wellow Tyning have now moved away from the newly built-up areas.

The deer that use transit routes around Carlingcott have been unaffected as the recent location of major development has been to the south of the Parish.

The future aim should be for all remaining hedgerows to now be retained intact, and where, for serious planning reasons, some further changes do need to be made, a condition of : "removal and re-sited replacement" should be imposed. The future needs of wildlife can be enhanced by developers, landowners and householders protecting existing wildlife environments and actively helping to create new habitats in such forms as hedgerows, ditches and open spaces (especially rough grass land).

B.2 Countryside issues

B.2.1 In regard to Countryside Issues, measures that seek protection of countryside character are already in place as it is acknowledged [ LNC.1 ] that development which detracts from the landscape character or quality or adversely affects nature conservation interests will not be permitted. Conversely, sympathetic management of features of the landscape which are of major importance for wild flora and fauna will be encouraged.

So far as improvements to the existing situation are concerned, new tree plantings can be proposed to improve the landscape [ LNC.5 ], and designated Landscape Improvement Sites can be Scheduled for rehabilitation and visual improvement [ LNC.7 ]. Any proposed future developments at the edge of the existing settlements should give high priority to landscape design in order to protect and enhance the external view of each settlement and from within the Parish. To obviate a stark edge to any such development, native broadleaf tree species and hedges should be maintained and where necessary be newly planted as appropriate.

B.2.2 The Parish community is fully appreciative of the benefits of Green Belt policies and in order to conserve the rural setting of the village of Peasedown St.John, new development should maintain the open countryside around the village. Developments within the Green Belt are already covered by separate policies limiting allowable extensions and alterations to existing properties. However, any addition or alteration to buildings in this part of the Parish tend to be very noticeable,

There is strong local feeling that the area south of the by-pass that has not already been zoned for planning development should now be left permanently in its current natural existing state.

Other, smaller, existing open spaces within the Parish, should, with the exception of minor and strictly controlled in-filling development, also be left as ‘breathing spaces’.

Carlingcott is effectively a separate hamlet within the Parish boundaries, and needs to retain this status, with added consideration for its own open surroundings around Splott.

B.2.3 The primary ‘design blight’ of Peasedown St.John can be seen in the Bath Road shopping and business area. There are several examples of ugly frontages that are not in harmony with their surroundings or adjacent residential architecture. Examples include : the Co-op store, the chicken and fish bar, the butcher and a video rental shop.

Elsewhere, the type of business that is conducted is inappropriate to be placed right at the commercial heart of a village of this type. This includes a major coaching garage with extensive parking and vehicle maintenance activities, and a further very large area on the opposite side of the road that is given over to used car sales.

A comprehensive review of directional signage is needed to ensure that it is appropriate and adequate without being excessively over-provided.

B.2.4 Within areas of Distinctive Environmental Character which have already been designated and defined on the Proposals Map in the existing Local Plan (and for Peasedown St.John this includes a greater part of the hamlet of Carlingcott) any development which adversely affects the existing buildings, street pattern, open spaces, trees, walls and views, and all other aspects of the environment that together make up the character of the area will not be permitted.

B.3 Open recreational spaces

B.3.1 Access to public open spaces and recreational green areas are to be maintained and enhanced with particular reference to the :

  • Peasedown St John Institute and Recreation Ground
  • Beacon Field and Play Area
  • Village Green area adjacent to the Prince of Wales Inn
  • Eckweek Lane Play Area
  • Faulkland Recreation Area
  • Frederick Avenue Green
  • Braysdown Lane Green (Play Area)

B.3.2 There are other open spaces which should be conserved, most of which provide a very local and useful ‘safe haven’ facility for young children to play safely. These include :

  • The football field used by the primary school.
  • The land between Worcester / Morgan Way and the by-pass. Its usefulness as an accessible open area could be further enhanced by provision of benches and picnic tables and a nature trail could be laid out.

Some of the existing designated play-areas could also be improved by modification (suitable fencing,etc) to obviate straying of dogs and resultant fouling in the proximity of small children.

A primary example of this need is at the Beacon Hall playing field.

B.4 Building styles

B.4.1 Within the Parish a wide variety of building styles and designs is to be found. However several small ‘pockets’ can be discerned which comprise an area of consistent and cohesive style, usually because adjacent properties were erected together in a particular era and type of development.
In many cases this has resulted in a combination of satisfactory and sympathetic relationship in terms of scale, height and alignment, which coupled with subsequent weathering of the original construction materials, has produced a most pleasant unifying effect in a localised setting.

B.4.2 There are many ranks of houses and other buildings in the area which remain attractive by retaining their original features. Elsewhere various alterations and additions have been made to properties which detract from their character, either individually or as a group.

Examples of style which it should be particularly important to retain include :

  • Various groupings of former coal mine workers’ dwellings throughout the village.
    Both the architectural style and the building materials (lias or ashlar or brick) should be taken fully into account if any modern extensions or garages are to be built at a property.
    Current photographs illustrate that there has basically been no change over many decades in sample areas such as at :
    • Ashgrove
    • Bath Road, at Huddox Hill
    • Braysdown Lane

 and it is recommended that this should be perpetuated.

  • Hillside View is an exceptional early cohesive development built in red brick and any individual further extensions should be similarly perpetuated in matching red brick.
  • Further Bath Road cottages, to the west opposite the turning to Braysdown Lane.
  • North View cottages and farms.
  • Oxney Place

B.4.3 Regarding the balanced mix of properties forming the total housing stock in the village,
applications to build first floor extensions over side garages should be given careful consideration.

This type of development has two effects : It results in previously spaced properties ‘joining’ so that they become a ‘terrace’ where this was not intended in the original design, and progressively upgrading two- and three-bedroomed houses into larger properties diminishes the stock of opportunities for young and first-time buyers to acquire the smaller homes that they need and can afford.

B.4.4 Turning to the ‘new estate’ areas of Peasedown St.John constructed in recent years, it is interesting that although housing has been built by several major developers there is a discernible similarity of contemporary form leading to a pleasing harmony and uniformity of basic style across the various estates.

Unlike the stone construction of the original settlement, the majority of houses are now constructed of red or orange / yellow brick, arranged with a pleasant ‘planned randomness’ of brick and tile type. This has been enhanced by incorporation of individual ‘features’ appropriate to the particular developer’s style. If there were to be any more developments on this scale within Peasedown St.John it is important that similar current design standards should apply. Some vigilance is also needed that in course of time the overall harmony is not eroded by individual householders adopting inappropriate modifications, such as replacement of doors and window frames by use of clashing materials and colours. This type of design erosion should be anticipated and corrected at the stage when planning applications are lodged.

B.4.5 Any proposed development, whether of premises modification or in-filling, needs to be scrutinised to see whether it lies within a pocket of similar adjacent properties, and if so, ensure that it suitably blends and does not conflict with any localised consistency of style.

B.5 Proposals for new housing

Any proposals for new housing need to take full account of the existing curtilage of the village and Parish of Peasedown St.John and be of a planned density compatible with immediate surroundings.

Most important are local linkages ensuring that access and communication to facilities in the community are fully integrated into the existing system of footpaths and roadways.

There is particular concern that development should not be allowed to reduce the discrete spacing between the Peasedown St.John boundary and Radstock, nor the particularly narrow remaining gap between Peasedown St.John and Shoscombe village. It is felt that the by-pass road newly completed in 1996 provides a logical end and edge to the developed extent of the southern aspect of the village.

B.6 Footpaths

B.6.1 Recreational / Rural footpaths : The primary difficulty is that recreational footpaths leading south from the village are bisected by the by-pass road, creating a dangerous crossing hazard in each instance.

Elsewhere, for example at the top of Dunkerton Hill, the major works to introduce a roundabout at the entrance to the by-pass has truncated the former footpath, causing difficult access via a steep slope.

Although these ‘rural and recreational’ footpaths should be regularly maintained, especially in regard to pruning of obstructive overgrowth, it is not considered appropriate that they should receive tarmacadam surfacing.

Developments at the perimeters of settlements need to be obliged to maintain, and where possible, improve recreational footpath access to the surrounding countryside.

B.6.2 Internal / functional / day-to-day access footpaths :

The provision of good footpath linkage is a well-used necessity as no direct access for motor vehicles has been planned or provided from the recent housing estate developments to the central shopping area of the village. Hence there is scope for further improvement in the quality of footpath provision.

It is felt that these footpaths should all have improved tarmacadam surfacing, and the roadside pavement walkways throughout the village should be modified, as opportunity arises, to better accommodate parents coping with pushchairs or walking toddlers. The resultant road narrowing that may be needed to achieve this could assist the measures needed for traffic calming. Simpler measures such as trimming hedgerows that overhang and thereby narrow the useable footpath width need to be more strictly enforced.

In all newly-developed areas attention should be given to providing or improving integral intra-village pathways and cycleways. These should normally have a sound weather-proof surface and be of a width and texture to facilitate the movement of pushchairs, wheelchairs and bicycles, with the aim of enhancing the linkages between residential areas, the school and shops, whilst providing an attractive alternative to the internal use of car journeys within the village for such purposes.

B.7 Retail and Commercial developments

B.7.1 Retention and encouragement of purchasing power within the Parish will involve a desirable increase in the number and variety of shops and other service premises. These should be located either adjacent to or served by well planned and executed links to the main housing areas, especially the major new developments sited in the south east part of the main settlement.

B.7.2 It should of necessity be a prerequisite that any such commercial developments or conversions should be designed to harmonise with the architecture predominating at the planned location and be themselves of high architectural and specificational standard.

B.8 Streetscape and undergrounding of cabled services

B.8.1 All new works to roads, their associated footways and kerbs, along with signs and relevant street furniture, need to be provided in keeping with the adjacent facilities to which they abut and thus avoid any change in the character of that part of the settlement.

B.8.2 As well as improvements to existing facilities, more cycleways and footpaths are, and will continue to be, needed to provide safe and pleasant everyday means of travel linkage within and around the Parish. These need to include a consistent scheme of dropped kerbs from the footway at road junctions, to facilitate the passage of perambulators.

B.8.3 Whilst the traffic calming that has been installed within the village on the old direct route of the A.367 has had some measure of success, the system needs further attention and expenditure to improve its overall efficiency. In the light of the recommendations of the Government appointed Urban Task Force, the present traffic calming system should be re-evaluated with an opportunity given to allow local residents to set speed limits of 20mph where deemed necessary, to improve the overall safety factor, especially in the proximity of the Primary School. Conversely, attention should be paid to any adverse effect that specific traffic calming furniture may have on the operations of local traders.

Traffic calming measures especially require review in Ashgrove, Eckweek Road and Orchard Way.

B.8.4 Standardisation of street-furniture to an improved coherent design applicable throughout the Parish is needed in order to counteract a wide range of diversely designed fittings that have been installed by various agencies over past years.

B.8.5 All new street lighting should incorporate muted downlighting using white light.

B.8.6 Review of street direction signs to ensure there is adequate and coherent provision, but avoiding undue proliferation. Signposting of footpaths to include an indication of where they lead to.

B.8.7 Electricity and British Telecom telephone services are distributed via wooden poles and overhead cables in many of the older parts of the village. Especially on the ‘main through roads’ this is visually ugly and contributes substantially to an overall cluttered appearance of the general streetscape.

Providers of modern cabled television and telephone services have installed all their cabling underground, but there is concern that where there has been infill building, British Telecom, even recently, has in places (e.g. Sunset Close, 1997) perpetuated overhead distribution by means of new installations of poles and overhead cabling.

All new developments, including "in-fill" constructions, must include undergrounding and concealment of all wires cables and pipes.

In addition, the statutory utilities need to be directed towards a policy that encourages the progressive undergrounding of all installations that are carried at present by overhead cables.

A programme should be commenced, in co-operation with the relevant statutory authorities, for progressive undergrounding of these cabled services. It is particularly recommended that Ashgrove, Bath Road, Braysdown Lane and Eckweek Road should receive priority attention.

B.9 Noise pollution

B.9.1 Any new development will need to show that the problem of potential noise pollution has been properly addressed to ensure the completed development will meet acceptable levels.

B.9.2 Further work will be necessary on the construction and cladding of the bund commenced between the by-pass road and the flanking housing properties, if this palliative is to be truly effective in both reducing and suppressing noise pollution.

B.9.3 In all cases, the impact of the proposed development on adjacent properties during the construction period, and the residual on-going effect after completion, must address the potential creation of noise, dust, fumes and inconvenience of restricted passage on pavement or road. Site security during the construction period is paramount to ensure that vandalism and theft is not encouraged along with other anti-social trends.

B.10 Crime prevention

All new development proposals need to be able to demonstrate that due account has been taken of :

  • the best design advice, ensuring they embrace the concept of community- based action to inhibit and remedy the causes and consequences of criminal, intimidatory and other anti-social behaviour.
  • the need for new or refurbished dwellings to incorporate adequate prevention measures to inhibit burglary and thus be made secure by design. Active consideration should be given to the planting of aggressive shrubs with thorny branches under ground floor windows.
  • the views of the local community, via the Parish Council, ensuring that they have the opportunity to implement safe neighbourhood proposals and thus encourage the determination of safety initiatives that would be required to design out crime.


This Parish Design Statement document was subsequently considered at a meeting of Bath and North East Somerset Council’s ‘Planning, Transportation and Environment’ Committee held on 25th January 2001.

Acting on an accompanying memorandum of recommendation submitted by D.M.Davies,Head of Planning Services, B&NES, the document was Approved for adoption as Supplementary Planning Guidance to the Local Development Plan.

The full Minute containing this Approval is reproduced here :

B&NES ‘Planning, Transportation and Environment’ Committee -- 25th January 2001

Minute : 128 (Agenda Item Report 17)


The Committee considered a report of the Head of Planning Services that requested that the draft Parish Design Statement be Approved as Supplementary Planning Guidance to the Development Plan.

On a motion from Councillor W.D.Reakes it was RESOLVED that the Committee approve the Peasedown St.John Parish Design Statement (in so far as it relates to the Provisions of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990) as Supplementary Planning Guidance to the

Wansdyke Local Plan and the relevant provisions of the Avon County Structure Plan and the emerging Joint Replacement Structure Plan.

Note : The Committee requested that Officers send a letter of congratulation to Parish Council’s and all other people involved in the design statement.

Acknowledgments:Thanks are due to all the many people who have freely contributed to this document.

Within the Parish this has included those who attended the public discussion meetings, those who responded to the Questionnaire that was delivered to every occupied premises in the Parish, and those who worked together in the specialist Sub-groups and on the Steering Committee.

The Steering Committee are particularly grateful for the individual and collective support of members of the Parish Council and of the Community Association (Beacon Hall).

Peasedown St.John Parish Council has supported the development and preparation of this document from the outset and recognises that the Guidelines that have resulted will assist that Council in adequately reflecting community views of the Parish in a consistent way.

This will also augment the effectiveness of that Council’s representations to the Planning Authority

(Bath and North East Somerset Council ---a unitary Authority) when making comments and recommendations on Planning Applications relating to developments within the Parish, or on other proposed external measures that could impact on the Parish.

Specific contributions towards the final drafting are acknowledged to the following:

Cllr E.J.Derrick, Cllr N.W.McInnes, Cllr R.W.G.Butt, Cllr Mrs F.M.Butt, Cllr Mrs K.M.Thomas,

Cllr Mrs M.A.Button, Cllr J.S.Bolwell, Cllr P.Jovcic-Sas, B&NES Cllr M.N.Davis P.R.Provest, P.Symons, J.C.L.Lyddieth, W.J.M.Coles, R.Plummer, D.Kennedy, Ms V.Bearne, Mrs L.E.Turner.

Acknowledgment for use of historic photographs is due to : R.Graham.

BRAYSDOWN LANE: is very little changed now from the early-1900s view.

Hedges have given way to stone walls, but pedestrians still only have the use of one footway.

Some houses now have forward-projecting front porches, and it will be essential to maintain vigilance that any further new examples are styled in keeping with the general view.

The modern scene is greatly enhanced by not being obscured by parked vehicles.

This is achieved in this road by means of double-yellow-line parking restrictions, made possible by the residents having a service road and garaging at the rear of their houses.

HUDDOX HILL: Again, very little has changed from the last century.

The overhead telegraph pole and wires have gone, but the skyline is now marred by ugly overhead electrical power distribution that was introduced in the 1930s.

ASHGROVE: This photo-comparison demonstrates that it can be the modern phenomenon of residential vehicle parking that mostly spoils the general view, rather than the introduction of unsympathetic changes to the architectural features in the ranging of the original buildings.

The abundance of parked vehicles, and the consequent practical narrowing to a single carriageway for traffic along this section, occur because these houses, despite lengthy back gardens, do not have a rear service road or private garages within their own properties.

It is also clear that undergrounding of cabled services would make a significant contribution to cleaning up this streetscape.

OXNEY PLACE: Without need of a comparative early print, it is gratifying that it is possible to find in Year 2000 this delightful unspoilt cameo of a terraced housing row, still in entirely original condition, which could have been photographed at any date to give the same result.

It is of the greatest importance that no development at all should be allowed that disturbs the charming harmony of this surviving scene.