Rory C Cullen
1A Warwick Close
Bucks HP23 6AA
Tel: (07825) 262716
11th February 2022
Wingrave Parish Council
Initial Heritage Assessment for Wingrave Recreation Ground Pavilion
It was interesting to discuss the proposals for a replacement pavilion to Wingrave recreation area yesterday, particularly with a view to moving this forward.
In heritage terms any application is likely to require a Heritage Statement, which would need to set out the following aspects in detail:
1. The main issues from a heritage perspection will relate to the impact of any development on any adjacent Designated Heritage Assets.
2. In this case this will involve Wingrave Conservation Area (which was designated in 1980), as the pavilion will lie within the boundary (see attached document), as well as any listed buildings within the vicinity that could be considered to have their setting impacted.
3. Although you have asked me to focus on the siting implications it would be remis of me not to comment on the design of the favoured proposal and on your alternative. In my view the latter focusses the eye too much on the central dormer feature, and appears too modern/ less traditional.
4. The justification for the provision of the pavilion in terms of the setting of the listed buildings within its vicinity stems directly from the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and related guidance in the Planning Practice Guide on managing change within the settings of Heritage Assets, and also from the Historic England Good Practice Advice entitled The Setting of Heritage Assets.
Setting is defined within the NPPF as:
‘The surroundings in which a Heritage Asset is experienced. Its extent is not fixed and may change as the asset and its surroundings evolve. Elements of a setting may make a positive or negative contribution to the significance of an asset, may affect the ability to appreciate that significance or may be neutral.’
In undertaking an assessments on the potential impact of the pavilion on any surrounding listed buildings, the five steps recommended by Historic England have to have been taken into consideration. These are as follows:
• Step 1: Identify which Heritage Assets and their settings are affected.
• Step 2: Assess the degree to which these settings make a contribution to the significance of the Heritage Asset(s) or allow significance to be appreciated.
• Step 3: Assess the effects of the proposed development, whether beneficial or harmful. On that significance or on the ability to appreciate it.
• Step 4: Explore ways to maximise enhancement and avoid or minimise harm.
• Step 5: Make and document the decision and outcomes.
5. A key element of the Heritage Statement will be a detailed Heritage Impact Assessment. This will objectively set out the impact of the proposals on the Heritage Assets, in terms of setting. It will also consider the appropriateness of the design in terms of materials, size and location.
6. In terms of the impact of the proposals on the listed buildings or structures within the vicinity, I attach a list of all of the listed buildings within Wingrave. I have highlighted those which might be considered to have setting impacts.
7. Looking at an aerial image however and from my initial site visit only those highlighted in yellow will currently have any view of the existing pavilion, as the others appear to be obsured by other buildings, structures or trees.
8. This shows that the following Grade II listed building/ structures might be considered to be impacted to a relative degree in terms of their setting:
Church of St Peter & St Paul
Yew Tree Cottage
8 & 9 Recreation Ground
1 Recreation Ground
4 The Green
9. The extent of the impact will need to be set out in the Heritage Statement. No 1 Recreation Ground is closest to the existing pavilion and will be slightly closer still (approximately ten metres away) for the proposals so you might like to consider moving this a little further North, but the view will be of the single storey gable end and this will be obsured by mature trees, particularly in the Spring and Summer months. Although the other properties will have a view of the setting they are sufficiently far away that the impact will be negligible.
10. In any case, in planning terms a key consideration for the proposal will also be community benefit, which could offset or mitigate the impact that the development might have in terms of a Heritage Asset should it be considered to be detrimental in any way.
11. As the footprint of the building will barely change, the height is likely to be the main consideration.
12. I would argue that the proposed change in orientation will also have a minimal effect on the setting of any adjacent listed buildings, so there should not be any heritage issues here. The most straightforward option would be to extend outwards along the same orientation – in setting terms the difference will be minimal – although stepping it back along the fence line also has the advantage that it would be less visible to some of the adjacent listed buildings. I would think that either should be acceptable – in my experience this will largely depend on the personal view of the Planning Officer.
13. The new building will certainly represent a significant improvement on the existing dipapidated structure which is not in keeping with the Historic Environment in which it sits.
14. In my opinion the materials, aesthetic quality and form of the new building will enhance the setting of the listed buildings in the vicinity, which are also sufficiently distant that any impact on their setting will be minimal in any case – as can be seen from the attached aerial photograph.
15. In terms of design, relevant sections of the Conservation Area document will be used to inform the Heritage Statement. For example, this states that:
‘Wingrave is not a true Rothschild estate village in the style of nearby Mentmore, but the influence of this forceful family can be seen throughout’……It is these houses, along with many fine red-brick farm buildings, which identify the village with the Rothschild family, in that they display a uniformity of scale and appearance recognisable in other Rothschild villages surrounding Aylesbury. The houses are built on the fringes of the recreation ground and throughout the village along to Nup End on the Winslow Road. Their characteristic features are the black and white gables with mock-Tudor timbering and the use of deep red brickwork with clay-tiled or slated roofs.’
16. The close Rothschild association with the village and area, together with the fact that the pavilion lies within a Conservation Area, naturally leads the design of the new pavilion towards something traditional which should be in keeping with the nature of the Heritage Assets.
17. The design is in keeping with the appearance of similar traditional pavilions with its hipped ends and central dormer, although in my opinion consideration should be given to changing the dormer to a simple central clock in the attached drawing (this will also provide the same function for less cost).
18. The key to a successful design will however be in the detail, so I would expect to see a specification for hand made English roof tiles and bricks, conservation rooflights, and painted/ stained timber windows (PVC windows here would be completely wrong) if this is your preferred design.
19. The terrace could also be improved by timber balustrading, and in cost saving terms you should give serious consideration to a timber framed structure with dark stained horizontal timber boarding. This is also more traditional, and is also shown in the drawing that I have attached. It is also worth noting that the photograph which I have attached which I understand dates from around 1904 is believed to show the original structure, which had vertical timber boards – so this sets a good precedent for such materials.
20. Reference should be made to the Local Authority Conservation Area Advisory Guide 2.1 which I also attach. This was initally issued by Aylesbury Vale District Council, and states that:
‘poorly conceived new development’ …………’can detract from the character of a Conservation Area’
21. Please note that although this letter sets out the basic heritage criteria which will be considered in an application, it should not be taken as a full Heritage Statement which is an in-depth analysis assessing all requisite aspects.
I trust I have covered everything we discussed, but please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any clarification.
Rory Cullen MSc (Bldg Cons), FCIOB, IHBC, CIOB Certified Heritage Practitioner (Expert)
Director, Cullen Conservation
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