This is a Summary of the Design Statement. You can download the whole document as a .pdf by pressing the Download button (Please note this document is 18Mb in size and may take some time to download). Alternatively you can write to the Clerk to send you a printed copy. We charge £4.00 to UK addresses. Please make out your cheque to Ewyas Harold Group Parish Council.
WHAT IS A VILLAGE DESIGN STATEMENT?
Every village has its own special character. In the past change was brought about by small day-to-day adjustments of individual houses and their surroundings. Nowadays large developments can arise in a matter of months. The loss of open spaces, paths and hedges can alter the look and feel of the village; the sudden change can cause deep unhappiness and resentment. In this Design Statement we have sought to highlight the best-loved aspects of our village with a view to safeguarding them for the future.
Change and development need not be accompanied by environmental degradation. Our aim in writing this Design Statement is to ensure that any further development will be based on a considered understanding of the village in its environment and that any change will enhance our quality of life rather than erode it.
Ewyas Harold Village Design Statement has been compiled and written by a group of village residents who are united in their vision of a thriving community in the twenty-first century.
WHO WILL USE THE DESIGN STATEMENT?
Local knowledge is an important ingredient in the planning process – one that is often overlooked because it is usually hard to get rapid consensus on local issues. The Village Design Statement can assist decision-making by providing well-researched background information to aid:
Statutory bodies and public authorities
Planners, developers, builders, architects, designers and engineers
Local community groups
Householders and businesses
HOW DOES THE DESIGN STATEMENT WORK?
- The Ewyas Harold Design Statement was endorsed by Herefordshire Council and adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance on 17th July 2003. Its recommendations are now taken into account when planning applications are assessed.
- It assists the Group Parish Council by providing information to guide decisions affecting the built environment. The Design Statement is fundamental in the development of our Parish Plan.
- The Design Statement provides guidance to villagers wanting to improve their homes – build a garage or add an extension perhaps – whilst maintaining the character of the village.
Summary of Key Recommendations
MEASURES TO MAINTAIN CHARACTER :
- Targeting existing open spaces for infill by new housing is not desirable.
- It is important to retain a suitable village boundary.
- Archaeological remains in the village should be protected.
THESE HISTORIC ROADS SHOULD BE PROTECTED FROM DAMAGING DEVELOPMENT:
Old Hill Road
Elm Green Road
Strategic trees should be planted using native species.
We should promote Herefordshire’s rare orchard trees. Suitable for small gardens, they are a local feature and there is often grant aid available.
Education is vital to ensure wildlife enjoys protection, especially along the Dulas Brook.
ARCHITECTURAL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BUILDERS AND IMPROVERS
- There are opportunities for designing interesting new buildings that will sit comfortably with Herefordshire traditional styles. New buildings do not have to be copies of old ones but they should respect them.
- As there is not a predominant traditional style in the village, there is scope for a variety of sympathetic influences e.g. Victorian brick and quoining, carved bargeboards, decorated ridge tiles, porches, and interesting window shapes.
- Designers should take into account the relationship of new buildings with existing properties and should seek to use traditional materials such as local stone with the aim of sympathetic harmony.
- The size and scale of a new building should reflect that of adjacent properties.
- Roof lines in the vicinity should be carefully assessed before altering an existing building radically or building a new one.
- Villagers feel that the rural character of the village depends on retaining space around houses and preserving rural views. It is recommended that curtilages should be spacious, except in the heart of the village where higher-density housing is normal.
- Any further creation of a “hard edge” to the village by permitting high-density housing on the outskirts should be avoided. Any further housing development on the edge of the village should be suitably landscaped with native trees and hedging to blend with the surrounding countryside.
- Stone walls are a feature of Ewyas Harold and should always be preserved. Where new buildings or alterations to existing buildings are planned it should be noted that the impact on older nearby properties can always be softened by using local stone for new walls. Hedges or low fences may also be appropriate.
Other architectural points:
- Only six buildings in Ewyas Harold are Grade II listed. However there are many others that residents consider important because their architectural features add individuality to the village. A list is provided in the Design Statement.
- There are many small features, such as the wall of the old Pound and the child-sized doorway to the former Sunday School which contribute to our sense of village history. These should be preserved.
- Temple Terrace is a practical model for affordable housing.
- Intricate barge boards and attractive brick quoining are a feature of several 19th century houses.
- The Graig and Glebe Farm remind us that Ewyas Harold was a black and white village in the 17th century.
- To address the age-group bias, no more bungalows should be permitted.
- Affordable housing should be encouraged so that young people are no longer forced to move away for economic reasons.
HIGHWAYS AND STREETSCAPES
- The centre of the village lacks a continuous footway resulting in conflict between pedestrians, through traffic and turning vehicles including the service and school buses. There are no footways on sections of the B4347 and several other residential roads.
- There are no public car parks. Street parking causes congestion at times with inconsiderate and illegal parking. Double yellow lines at the junction of School Lane and C1213 have been approved reluctantly by the Parish Council to combat obstruction by parked vehicles.
- The speed of some vehicles through the centre of the village and on the B4347 is perceived as being unduly high. The majority of villagers feel that traffic-calming measures should be taken. The high speed of traffic is not only a danger to pedestrians but also socially divisive, effectively cutting one part of the village off from another.
- The importance of public footpaths (Rights of Way) in Ewyas Harold cannot be overemphasized. Our poll has demonstrated that the majority of villagers use them frequently. The existence of a network of footpaths passing through fields and gardens acts to counter the divisive effect of traffic. More public footpaths should be created if possible.
- Where new developments are being considered, the provision of additional footways to link housing with the centre of the village should be a priority.
- The provision of bus shelters should be a priority.
Street lighting exists along the B4347 and into the centre of the village. Lighting columns are being updated by the Hereford Council to reduce light pollution levels. Most residents feel that “too much” lighting conflicts with the rural character of the village.
- Developers should be responsible for installing appropriate lighting on new developments.
The village retains its traditional post-boxes and telephone box. Recently installed public seats are much valued by residents of all ages.
Road and street signs should be restrained and duplication should be avoided.
Where new names are required for streets or buildings, these should be chosen to reflect the history of the site, or the village.
Cables should be sited underground and a real effort made to reduce the number of poles carrying telephone and electricity wires.
FLOODING AND DRAINAGE
Flooding occurs when water from the Dulas Brook backs up at the bridge near the Post Office and overflows on to the road. The Village Store and Post office, Brook Cottage, The Dog Bar, the Malt House and The Old Stables are occasionally affected. During times of flood the stream seeks to follow its old course down the main street through to the finger post where it rejoins the brook. A further flood location exists between Caemain and the end of Morgan’s Garage, believed to be due to run-off from the hill S.W. of Pontrilas. At times of flooding the water level in the sewage system overflows into the road. In some places brook water rises through the storm drains into the road.
Responsibility for flood prevention is a confused area. The overall policy for the Wye Cachment Area is determined by the Environment Agency however the implementation of certain aspects of flood control is the responsibility of Hereford Council and Welsh Water.
- Flood control responsibilities for the village should be clearly understood and monitored by the Parish Council.
- No planning permission for any building should be given until the sewage system is proved to be adequate.
- Drainage records should be regularly updated and made available for public inspection.
HOW THE DATA FOR THE DESIGN STATEMENT WAS COLLECTED
The Statement is the result of two years investigation by a group of 30 village residents aiming to bring important local knowledge and ideas into the planning process. Sub-committees were formed to study particular aspects of the village in detail. These included Buildings, History, Landscape, Highways and Streetscapes, the Village Economy and Social Life, Drainage and Flooding. A detailed questionnaire was circulated to villagers seeking their views on a number of sensitive questions. A response of over 50% confirmed support for the Design Statement project and provided a challenging insight into the way residents felt about their village.
What we feel about our village…
“Most buildings in Ewyas Harold have pleasant views because of the winding nature of the roads and the fact that there has been little infilling between them. Many houses back on to open fields, or look out to pleasant hills and woods. This is regarded as one of Ewyas Harold’s most important features, contributing enormously to quality of life in the village.”