The purpose of the Appraisal
The special architectural and historic interest of Woollard was recognised by its designation as a Conservation Area on 25 July 1990.
The Council has a duty to preserve and enhance the character and appearance of Conservation Areas, and to periodically reappraise the boundaries. This appraisal will be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.
'Conservation Area Appraisals' give an overview of the history and development of an area and try to define what it is that makes them special. They also identify specific features which contribute towards their character, for example historic buildings, open spaces, significant views, natural elements and features which help make an area locally distinct. They may even include intangible qualities such as activities, sights and smells which are characteristic of a place. The documents also identify elements that could be improved.
The appraisal can be downloaded from the Documents section below right.
Woollard: Summary of Special Interest
- The landscape setting in the gently rolling hills of the Chew Valley
- The River Chew and its tributary Candlestick Brook; both attractive landscape features and formerly the source of power for mills
- Narrow, sunken lanes creating sequential views on the approach to Woollard, particularly from the south east
- The distinctive form of the village produced by the convergence of five routes
- A significant proportion of listed and other historic buildings forming the nucleus of the village
- The prevalent use of local lias limestone with characteristic red clay roof tiles, laid at a steep pitch
- The particular contribution of the natural landscape, especially mature trees, hedgerows and well-tended private gardens
- Low stone and hedgerow plot boundaries allowing frequent glimpses into and out of the Conservation Area
- Remnants of Woollard’s industrial heritage, particularly along the River Chew, including mill ponds, sluices and weirs
- The peaceful rural environment, with very little traffic or activity disturbing the tranquillity of the area
- The restrained use of road markings, signage and other paraphernalia
Summary of Issues and Recommended Management Proposals
- Some alterations to traditional buildings have not been sympathetic to the character of the village, such as additions of porches. Applications for development of this type will be carefully assessed and inappropriate proposals will be refused. Enforcement action is recommended in cases of unauthorised works which adversely affect the character of the Conservation Area.
- Plastic windows and doors on historic buildings are unsustainable and detract from their character. It is recommended that an Article 4 Direction be considered to control alterations to doors and windows in unlisted buildings. This would help prevent loss of traditional details which cannot always be prevented at present.
- Protection of stone boundary walls is a high priority and traditional lime mortar repair should be encouraged. Enforcement action should be considered in cases of unauthorised works to boundary walls which adversely affect the character of the Conservation Area. An Article 4 Direction is recommended to control demolition of walls under 1m high (walls over 1m are protected under the Conservation Area designation)
- The unmarked, rural character of the roads and traditional boundary markers can contribute significantly to the character of a village. However the use of modern materials and designs in road signage detracts from the character of the area. Works to the highway or streetscape should take the opportunity to reinstate traditional signage and, where relevant, be considered with reference to the adopted Streetscape Manual and Manual for Streets.
- Trees provide a significant contribution to the special character of the Conservation Area and there are special provisions under the Town and Country Planning Act (1990) for their protection. Where appropriate the Council will use its powers to make Tree Preservation Orders to protect trees that are under threat.
- Planting new specimen trees should be encouraged to provide and maintain a varied age range of trees and sustain the appearance of the area in the future. This is particularly relevant to orchards around the village.
- The use of underground cables for services would help prevent the streetscape and wider landscape being interrupted by overhead wires.
The replacement of hedgerows within the village with hard boundaries such as railings or fences can detract from the rural character of the area. The retention of hedgerows should be encouraged and, where appropriate, enforced under the Hedgerows Regulations (1997).
- Woollard has historically relied on the River Chew to produce renewable energy to power its mills. There may be an opportunity to investigate the use of small scale hydro power systems in the village to generate renewable energy without detracting from the area’s character.
- The policies that govern development in Conservation Areas in the Bath and North East Somerset Local Plan 2007 should be carried forward into any replacement Local Development Document.
Public support and involvement is essential to the successful management of Conservation Areas. Following the production of a first draft by Bath and North East Somerset Council, copies of this appraisal and the accompanying maps were provided for the parish council and local Members. A copy was posted onto the Council’s website and hard copies provided for consultation in the Council Offices and the central library. Six weeks were allowed for comments to be submitted, after which the final draft was completed. This appraisal was approved by the Council 2008.