Dyrham Conservation Area
A conservation area is an area of ‘special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’. Once designated, the local planning authority has a statutory duty to ensure that any proposed development will preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area and its setting.
Dyrham was designated a conservation area on the 30th July 1975. A Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) appraisal leaflet was published following the conservation areas designation. This document is not a review of such, but sets out the information as produced in an accessible format supported by current policy context, pictures and mapping.
Local authorities have had the ability to designate locations of ‘special architectural or historic interest’ as conservation areas since 1967 when introduced as part of the Civic Amenities Act. Section 69 (2) of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation) Act 1990 legislates that authorities are to carry out reviews of existing conservation areas from ‘time to time’. Section 72 also states that ‘special attention shall be paid to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of that area’. Guidance on conservation area appraisals and the management of conservation areas is produced by Heritage England.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out national planning policy and must be taken into account in the preparation of local and neighbourhood plans, and is a material consideration in planning decisions. The NPPF defines conservation areas as ‘Heritage Assets’ and sets out in Para 126 that local authorities should ‘recognise that heritage assets are an irreplaceable resource and should conserve them in a manner appropriate to their significance’. Para 127 states that when designating conservation areas local planning authorities should ensure the area justifies this status because of its special architectural or historic interest.
South Gloucestershire has 31 conservation areas, and there are a number of policies within the Council’s Local Plan documents that are relevant. South Gloucestershire Local Plan 2006 saved policy L12 requires development within or affecting the conservation area to preserve or enhance its character or appearance. Further to this policy L13 states that development affecting the setting of a Listed Building will not be permitted unless ‘the building and its setting would be preserved’. South Gloucestershire Core Strategy 2006-2027 sets out in CS9 that the ‘natural and historic environment is a finite and irreplaceable resource’, and expects that new development will conserve, respect and enhance heritage assets.
The emerging Polices, Sites and Places (PSP) Plan policy PSP18 states that development should ‘serve to protect, and where appropriate, enhance or better reveal the significance of heritage assets and their setting’ and ‘development within their [listed buildings] setting will be expected to preserve and, where appropriate enhance…their special architectural or historic interest’. It should be noted the PSP Plan is currently a material consideration and at this time very limited weight is given to policies.
The small village of Dyrham is situated eight miles north of Bath on the western edge of the Cotswold escarpment. The River Boyd runs through the village and Dyrham is famous for its baroque mansion, Dyrham Park which is grade I Listed (see figure 1).
Dyrham lies within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is also covered by Green Belt policies. The Cotswold Way passes through the village and Dyrham Park grounds which are listed on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens.
Dyrham’s long history goes back to 577 when Cuthwine and Ceawlin, two Saxon leaders, fought against the Britons and killed three of their Kings, Conmail, Condidan and Farinmail on the site.
Dyrham Park completely replaces a late medieval house of the Denys family and until 1957 was the home of the Blathwayt family. Dyrham Park is now under the protection of the National Trust. William Blathwayt married Mary Wynter, heiress to the property in 1686. He was an influential diplomat and civil servant who spent much time abroad. Blathwayt’s house was built by two architects, William Talman and the French Samuel Hauderoy.
Hauderoy built the west front which now faces the formal gardens as an addition to the medieval house and it was probably finished in 1694 (see figure 2). The stable block followed (see figure 3), designed by Talman and largely supervised by Edward Wilcox, the foreman. Much more radical was the addition of the east front in pure baroque style which took the place of the older house.
This was Talman’s work between 1698 and 1704. The monumental orangery (see figure 4) which continues the main east front cleverly hides the stables behind and was started in 1701 by Talman.
Within the house there are many 17th century treasures including tapestries, furniture and paintings, many of which are Dutch in origin. William Blathwayt was Secretary of State to William II and travelled frequently to the Netherlands.
Dyrham village clusters around the church and walled grounds of the manor house. The winding lanes and hilly ground add much to the rural character of the village. Many cottages and houses are of the 17th and 18th centuries including the 17th century Rectory (grade II Listed, see figure 11).
The council is keen to work with the local community and other parties to help preserve and enhance this special area. If you wish to assist in any manner or have any further suggestions, please let us know.
For further information or advice please contact:
Strategic Planning Policy and Specialist Advice Team
South Gloucestershire Council
PO Box 2081
Telephone: 01454 863578