SEVENHAMPTON CONSERVATION AREA STATEMENT OF POLICY
Sevenhampton village gives its name to the Civil Parish which it shares with neighbouring Brockhampton, half a mile to the north. It nestles deep in the infant valley of the River Coln only a mile from its source and is located 6 miles east of Cheltenham and two miles north of Andoversford, at a height of approximately 600 feet above sea level.
The minor road from Andoversford to Winchcombe winds northwards following the west bank of the River Coln and passes by the village. Two cul-de-sacs run down at right angles to this road towards the river valley and serve the two quite distinct sections of the village, which are separated by open fields on both sides of the stream. The steep rounded hillsides to west and east, which rise close to the village above the deep valley, reinforce the sheltered location of the village, with views out of the village generally being up and down the valley, with more extensive views only from the higher parts of the village mainly on the east side of the valley.
The northern section of the village contains what historically would have been the most important buildings in the settlement, namely the 15th century Church of St Andrew and the 16th century Manor House, together with the nearby Manor Farm. The Manor House itself, with its fire damaged south end, comprises an attractive range of buildings of varying ages, with its varied rooflines stepping down northwards towards a shallow, dry tributary valley of the Coln. Stone gate piers mark the entrance to the Manor House from where it commands an elevated location dominating the smaller-scale outbuildings to the rear, including a converted old barn.
Two recent detached houses, of a modern design, fill the gap in the dip between the Manor and its farm, fronting the road leading northwards out of the village towards Brockhampton. Manor Farm house is set back from the roadside between two stone barns, the larger of which, dating from the 18th century, has its tall gable end tight against the grass-verged roadside. A mixture of newer agricultural buildings complete this, group which marks the northern extremity of Sevenhampton, and from where there are pleasant views across the valley to the nearby hillsides.
Church Lane is fairly formal in character, the relatively wide road being straight in alignment and bordered by grass verges and a narrow footpath on its north side. Large lime and beech trees in the grounds of the recent Church Cottage overhang the road and complement the high stone wall of the Manor House opposite. A lower stone wall fronts the churchyard of St Andrews Church, which is set back from the roadside and has a prominent central tower above its long nave and chancel . A footpath crosses the open field opposite the Church, leading towards the lower part of the village. Tall trees separate the churchyard from the grounds of the half-hidden Victorian vicarage, set back alongside the church and with prominent bargeboards and small timber dormers.
Beyond the vicarage, where the footpath peters out, the road narrows with a group of cottages pressing in closely on both sides, some set at right angles to the road along the contours of the valley. After Berkeley, a modern reconstructed stone bungalow, the lane becomes a steep grass-covered track leading down to the shallow river Coln which it crosses by a stone slab bridge. Rough fields line both sides of the narrow flat bottom of the valley with the eastern bank being very steep and scrub covered. The footpath across the valley climbs abruptly across this steep valley side towards School House, converted from the village primary school to residential use. In crossing the valley the journey is effectively made from the upper to lower part of Sevenhampton as the former section of the village has developed exclusively on the west bank of the Coln with the lower, southern area almost entirely on the east bank and served from the more southerly road into the village. School House is the most northerly property on the narrow metalled track which runs from Brockhampton into the village along the valley side. From this highest part of the village views are obtained across the upper part of the village to the Church tower and beyond towards Cleeve Common to the west. A group of modern houses, built of reconstructed stone, are strung out in a loose ribbon form along the east side of the road, with the land form dropping very steeply into the valley opposite. The only houses on the west side of this road are Home Farm and the adjacent extended cottages set at a lower level on either side of the stream.
South of Rowan House is an attractive group of small-scale 17th century cottages with gabled dormers, set in a generally terraced form facing the village green. The green itself, dominated by a tall sycamore, is of fairly rough grass and drops down to the streamside bordered on its east and south sides by the lane which has now begun to fall more rapidly towards the shallow ford by which it crosses the Coln.
Another lane leads southwards from the road junction at the entrance to Sevenhampton Grange, an impressive house converted from a former barn and set well back from the roadside in a prominent location behind two sycamores. The lane passes between Colnside and the symmetrical front of Sevenhampton House to lead towards Coln Farm, past a modern house and a terrace of cottages, partly thatched and set at right angles to the side of the narrowing road. Beyond Coln Farm, with its 18th century barn, the lane becomes a grass-covered track continuing southwards out of the village and from where there are extensive views down the valley towards Kilkenny. Other than Colnside, located at the road junction, this lane is undeveloped on its western side with rough fields dropping steeply into the well-treed valley.
A spinney of tall poplars stands alongside the stream south of Home Farm and adjacent to the ford, which has a footpath bridge alongside. The Coln flows across the road and through the pretty garden of the 17th century Brook Cottage, on its west bank, before meandering southwards out of the valley. From the ford, the steep lane climbs back to the main road, lined with trees set above high grass and shrub-covered banks.
From the main road which by-passes the village, there are several viewpoints from which the two areas of the village can be appreciated and beyond the village to the north the upper part of Brockhampton village can also be seen. The two parts of Sevenhampton vary greatly in their character, the lower area generally being less formal and more scattered in its form. It is important that the two areas of the village maintain their separate identity, character and form and that the open fields which link them are kept free of development. There is little scope for infilling within the village due to the desirability of retaining the character that is created by the open areas within the village form.
Alterations to existing buildings may be permitted to enable them to adapt to changing needs provided that the scale and character is compatible with the original building. Any new buildings, alterations and extensions will be expected to be in harmony with the area by way of setting, scale, form, materials, colour and texture. Every effort will be made to preserve the best buildings, groups of buildings, walls, open areas, natural features and trees upon which the character of the Conservation Area depends and the District Council will consider other ways of preserving and enhancing the character and appearance of the area.
To assist in achieving these general objectives, development control will be exercised in accordance with the following established policies and principles:-
- Permission in outline form will not normally be given for building development within the Conservation Area and more detailed plans to show the new development in its setting and particulars of proposed design, materials and existing trees will normally be required. Particular care will be exercised to ensure that inappropriate colours or materials are not used and that the design is in character with the local traditions.
- Additional buildings, or additions to existing buildings will only be permitted where they make a positive contribution to the character of the area or will be entirely unobtrusive. Replacement of buildings may be permitted, when it can be shown that the existing building is of an inappropriate character or wholly beyond repair.
- Within the Area, uses which generate unreasonable noise, other nuisance, or excessive traffic, or which would result in untidy sites, will not be permitted and existing uses of this nature will not normally be allowed to expand.
- Any proposal to demolish a building or wall, whether “listed” or not, which forms an essential part of the character of the area will be resisted. Proposals to fell or lop trees which make a valuable contribution to the character of the Conservation Area will also be resisted.
- Proposals to convert a property to a business use will be examined carefully to ensure that this will not develop into such a use that would be incompatible with the visual qualities and functions of the Conservation Area.
- Proposals to develop open areas and significant natural features forming an essential part of the character of the area will not normally be permitted. This policy applies equally to those areas of open land around the village and outside the Conservation Area which are considered to be of importance to the character and setting of the settlement.
- Advertisements, signs and notice boards will be subject to the most stringent control afforded by the Control of Advertisements Regulations 1969, and will be permitted only if they are considered to be essential and are well sited and designed to harmonise with the area.
Essential development by statutory undertakers is frequently exempt from planning control. In such cases it is the Council’s intention to foster a spirit of co-operation with these bodies to ensure that such works are carried out in sympathy with their surroundings and in the spirit of the Town and Country Planning Acts. Local initiative will be encouraged in any suitable efforts which are made to enhance the area within the spirit of the Act.
THIS POLICY IN NO WAY IMPLIES ANY RELAXATION OF THE QUALITY OF PLANNING CONTROL OUTSIDE THE DESIGNATED CONSERVATION AREA.