This web page has been prepared to provide you, one of the neighbours of Townhouse Farm, with more information about the proposed replacement of Townhouse Farm Cottages and redevelopment of Townhouse Farm Barns and to allow you to submit comments to the owners and design team. The aim of this page is to be transparent about the proposals with those who it will effect most, with a view to allaying any possible fears or concerns and, hopefully, securing your support for the proposals.
The Balcombe Estate recognises the problems arising from the current commercial use of the farm buildings at the bottom of Church Lane. For a number of years the disruption caused by heavy good vehicles and vans using Church Lane to access the barns has been a concern for many residents of Church Lane.
The Estate, together with the immediate neighbours, the Dennis Family at Townhouse, has been exploring long term solutions to address this problem and the outcome of these discussion is that the Balcombe Estate has decided to seek permission to replace the barns with a single residence and at the same time address the issues with Townhouse Farm Cottages.
The pair of semi-detached cottages that occupy the southern plot are utilitarian in character offering little value to the setting of the Conservation Area or the wider context.
Unfortunately the properties are subsiding and will soon become unsafe and uninhabitable. The cost of repairing the cottages is not financially viable so the decision has been made to replace them with a single dwelling. Richard and Shawn Ohlson, long-term local residents, have agreed to purchase the site to build themselves a new home closer the village.
Richard and Shawn have worked closely with the Balcombe Estate and Cowan Architects to create a bespoke home that is sympathetic to the setting of the Conservation Area and enhances the transition between the village and open countryside. Being set away from Townhouse, it is felt that the design for this plot should stand on its own merits and create a property that will provide a positive contribution to its setting.
The property is designed to with a central ‘hall’ element and a lower single-storey wing to the east. It will be built using local palette of materials that will complement neighbouring buildings and age well in to the landscape.
The property will be approached from the north with private gardens to the south enjoying views of the reservoir to the south-west and down the Ouse valley to the south-east.
The collection of portal frame farm buildings that occupy the northern plot offer only an agricultural context value to the site. They mark the end of Church Lane and the start of the countryside with views to the south and west.
The existing portal frame barns will be demolished with the Old Dairy building being retained; this is explained later. On the site of the portal frame barns it is proposed to construct a new dwelling that resembles the traditional barn that stood there previously. Again, the building will use a palette of local materials.
The new dwelling will be positioned to the west of the brick-built Old Dairy building and has been designed as a collection of buildings with a central ‘barn’ and lower range of buildings connected to it. This approach will acknowledge the agricultural history of the site and will sit well in the context of Townhouse, enhancing the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.
The remaining areas of hard-standing and the unused footprint of the barns will be landscaped to create a garden for this new house. The footpath that runs along the southern edge of the site will be retained with additional native species hedgerow being planted between the footpath and existing hedges to enhance biodiversity.
Whilst it is proposed to demolish the existing large utilitarian portal frame barns, the characterful brick-built Old Dairy building will be retained.
The Old Dairy will be purchased by the Dennis Family at Townhouse to reunite it with the original farmhouse and the collection of nearby ancillary buildings. A new ‘cart-shed’ is proposed to be built to the south of the Old Dairy to create a farmyard feel for the approach to Townhouse. This will further enhancing the setting of the Listed Building, Conservation Area and wider context.
These proposals recognise the importance of preserving and enhancing the unique character of Church Lane and aim to improve the general appearance of area. By removing the commercial use at the end of Church lane it is hoped that the generally untidy nature of the site will be addressed and that the new properties will be of a design and quality that will significantly enhance this part of the village.
It is important to consider the transition from Church Lane to the open countryside to ensure that the proposals sit comfortably in their surroundings and do not detract from what should be a delightful threshold between the village of Ardingly and its rural setting. These proposals have been designed to significantly enhance this transition through their design and the enhancement of biodiversity.
Careful consideration has been given to how both properties will appear when viewed from footpaths and public areas to the south that run around the reservoir. The intention is that, whilst slightly taller, the new dwelling on the barns site will be smaller than the current barns and more in keeping with the locality. Similarly the new property on the site of the cottages has been positioned to appear comparative to the current building. The silhouette of the property will be similar to that of the existing cottages with the established tree line on the southern and western boundaries providing screening from afar and privacy for the new owners.
This section addresses some common concerns that often arise when development near to somebody’s home. Each heading has a brief description of how the applicant and new owners intend to address these concerns. If you have a concern that is not addressed here please contact us using the form below and we will respond accordingly.
It is acknowledged that during the demolition of the existing buildings and the construction of the new properties there will inevitably be disruption to you and your neighbours along Church Lane.
To help address this disruption the Balcombe Estate and the new owners will work closely with the main contractors to ensure that a thorough Construction Method Statement is in place that mitigates disruption wherever possible. This is likely to include limiting the size of delivery vehicles, ensuring any vehicles leaving the site have any mud etc washed off prior to leaving and limiting the construction and delivery times to sociable hours.
Understandably some neighbours will be concerned about the condition of Church Lane with construction vehicles using it.
The Balcombe Estate and the new owners will work with the main contractors to ensure that damage is avoided wherever possible in the first instance and that the lane is returned to its current condition upon completion of the works. A photographic record of the lane will be carried out prior to commencement of the works to record the condition and to use as a reference point for making good the lane at the end of the works.
The protection of wildlife on the site during the works and the enhancement of habitat for the long-term has been paramount to the project. Specialist Ecologists have been employed to carry out thorough surveys to establish which species use the sites and to put in place mitigation measures during construction and long-term enhancements to biodiversity.
It is proposed to plant approximately 80m of new native species hedgerow across the site, mainly along the eastern boundary of the cottages plot and along the southern boundary of the barns plot to encourage biodiversity.
The views towards the sites from Ardingly Reservoir are as key to the success of this project as the views out from the sites. The intention is to design a pair of buildings that will enhance the setting of Ardingly when viewed from the south and west to improve the transition from village to countryside.
An independent Visual Impact Assessment is being carried out to inform the design process and help mitigate any impact that the proposals may have.
Access to the public footpaths that run through the site will be maintained throughout with the construction sites being securely fenced-off for safety. There are no plans to divert, move or remove any of the footpaths.
Thank you for taking the time to review the information on the proposals for Townhouse Farm Cottages and Barns. The neighbourhood consultation period ended on 26/04/21 with all comments submitted before this date being duly considered as the design progresses. Any comments submitted after this date will be received and reviewed but due to the project progressing is may not be possible to incorporate any late suggestions in to the final design.
One of the main objectives of this neighbour consultation is to identify any concerns or suggestions that you may have in relation to the proposals. We would like to give a fair hearing to concerns raised by neighbours and where appropriate amend the proposals to take account of them.
Having considered comments and concerns we anticipate making a formal planning application at the end of May 2021.