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Tockington Conservation Area

Introduction

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.

Tockington was designated a conservation area in 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.

Policy context

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.

Setting

Tockington lies to the south west of Thornbury at the base of the Hallen – Falfield ridge and within the River Severn’s extensive alluvial plain. The approaches to the village, both from the north and south entail steep descents which provide dramatic views across the Severn Estuary (see figure 1).

Figure 1: Views looking north from Lower Almondsbury Road

Figure 1: Views looking north from Lower Almondsbury Road

History

Historically the village developed around farming based mainly on the rearing of cattle on the fertile flood plains. The proximity of Bristol would have provided ready markets for produce. In more recent times Tockington has become an attractive location for commuters, being situated within the Green Belt and well connected with Bristol.

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Circa 1880 Ordnance Survey Map Tockington

Circa 1880 Ordnance Survey Map Tockington

Character

The village has developed around Tockington Green which lies at the heart of the village (see figure 2). This is flanked by refronted Georgian style properties (see figure 3) to the north and smaller terraced cottages to the west and east (see figure 4). To the south is the Methodist chapel (see figure 5), together with a group of tightly developed traditional buildings which complete the enclosure of the green.

Figures 2: Tockington Green and surrounding buildings

Figures 2: Tockington Green and surrounding buildings

Figures 2: Tockington Green and surrounding buildings
Figure 3: Georgian style property

Figure 3: Georgian style property

Figure 4: Smaller terraced cottages

Figure 4: Smaller terraced cottages

Figure 5: Methodist church

Figure 5: Methodist church

Approaching the village from the south the road curves past Little Farm (Grade II Listed, see figure 6) and Brook Farm (see figure 7) with its impressive willows and distant fields affording pleasant vistas across the countryside (see figure 8). Tockington Mill stream runs alongside the road (see figure 9) and indicates the presence of the wool industry prevalent in this area until recent times. The entrance to the village is formed by a compact group of buildings forming an island as the road divides (see figure 10). Following the right hand road past the Swan Inn (Grade II Listed, see figure 11) the open space of Tockington Green comes as a pleasant surprise contrasting with the enclosed spaces of the built up area (see figure 12).
Figure 6: Little Farm

Figure 6: Little Farm

Figure 7: Brook Farm

Figure 7: Brook Farm

Figure 8: Views looking east from Brook Farm

Figure 8: Views looking east from Brook Farm

Photo showing the Mill stream

Figure 9: Mill stream

Figure 10: Entrance to the village

Figure 10: Entrance to the village

Figure 11: The Swan Inn

Figure 11: The Swan Inn

Figure 12: Tockington Green and surrounding buildings

Figure 12: Tockington Green and surrounding buildings

East from Tockington Green is Tockington Manor School (grade II Listed, see figure 13), an impressive building set within its own grounds and commanding open views across the playing fields to the south (see figure 14). Fine stone walls enclosing the grounds run up Old Down Hill to the north. Turning west from the Green, the stone walls around Tockington Court and The Paddocks also add texture and variety to the street scene (see figure 15).
Figure 13: Tockington Manor School

Figure 13: Tockington Manor School

Figure 13: Tockington Manor School
Figure 15: Stone walls surrounding Tockington Manor School grounds

Figure 14: Views looking south from Tockington Manor School

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Figure 15: Stone walls surrounding Tockington Manor School grounds

Summary map

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Contacts

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:

Conservation Officer
Strategic Planning Policy and Specialist Advice Team
South Gloucestershire Council
PO Box 2081
South Gloucestershire
BS35 9BP

Telephone: 01454 863578
Email: conservation@southglos.gov.uk