Construction at last beginning on seven new houses — to be called Bove Town Gardens — on disused tennis courts at the corner of Wells Road and Bove Town has caused renewed dismay for some townspeople, nearly seven years after controversy and an appeal ended with planning permission granted in 2004.
The Conservation Society’s view was that once the site had been declared “brownfield” because of the existing hard-surface tennis courts, some form of development would inevitably take place. “We supported the plans put forward as a good solution for the site, although we would have preferred no development at all,” John Brunsdon said.
At the appeal the inspector took the view that the three-storey element of the proposal would provide variety and interest in this important location and would be consistent with the existing neighbourhood. Most of the new houses would be near the pavement, like nearby buildings; although modern in style, their scale would be in keeping with their surroundings.
The listed boundary wall, the inspector said, has been realigned in recent times and removing parts of it will not harm the special interest of the listed building. The proposed iron railings to replace a fence along the top of the wall would be a considerable improvement.
A few trees would be felled, but the proposal has been carefully arranged to keep trees that are important to the character of the area, the inspector noted. (The planning documents specify that during the building work these trees are to be safeguarded by fences.)
The Mendip trees officer, Bo Walsh, is monitoring the work. The large walnut tree near the road junction is probably the most important on the site. More trees are to be planted, resulting in more trees on the site than there were before.
An archaeological investigation in 2004 (one of the conditions in the planning consent) gave the first known evidence of prehistoric human settlement in Glastonbury — 1200 to 1000BC.
The Hollies, the listed house at Nº 1 Bove Town, was leased to Millfield School as a boarding house for many years and then became flats. Earlier, from the 1920s until 1963, it was the surgery and family home of Dr Tom Pinniger. The tennis courts were from the 1950s.
The site is owned by Winway Homes Development Ltd, Bath, which bought it from D. C. Atkinson of Henbury, Bristol, who obtained the 2004 planning permission. Mr Atkinson is the son of Millfield’s late headmaster, Colin Atkinson, who owned The Hollies personally and leased it to the school. The development work was delayed until this year to allow the school’s lease to run out.