Parish Plan Initiatives
The Open Spaces Committee of the Parish Council has announced full funding for the Green Gym. This project arose from feedback on the Parish Plan, where parishioners commented on the lack of fitness opportunities. The green gym should answer those
concerns; of high quality, suitable for use by approximately 11 year olds and up, useable in all weathers and offering a full workout capability at no charge.
Another idea that arose was to install a path around the recreation ground, joining up the Green Gym, the skate park, the children’s play area and the village hall. This opens up the Rec to 12 month a year use, without the need for anyone to push a baby buggy or use a mobility scooter to navigate the muddy areas. Drainage pots will be installed, and a patio area outside the hall is planned. These will make the area far more attractive to users, while improving the state of the sports pitches.
The idea of a Community Garden has been put forward, to be situated on the field just north of the allotments. The aim is to create an outdoor community centre where people of all ages and walks of life may get
together to develop and maintain an inspiring outdoor space. Initial ideas include a small orchard, a gardeners’ shed, a water feature and possibly a beehive. As the project is a community project, it will
rely on your ideas!
Richard Kaskow has produced an excellent illustration to show what might be possible. Your interest, ideas and support really are welcome to help make this village garden a reality. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Parish Plan: 2015
The previous Henstridge plan was developed over ten years ago. This 'Design Statement for the Village of Henstridge 2001' remains an interesting read (it is shown below). However our Parish Council felt that with so many
changes in the intervening years it was time for a fresh look at our Parish, and how residents feel it should develop.
Accordingly in 2014 a number of consultation events were held, and the Council reported that they were heartened by the number of people who attended the various events and shared their thoughts and ideas with the working party. The Parish Council then compiled a Draft copy of the new Parish Plan for comment, publishing the updated version early May before the Annual Parish meeting on 26th May.
Click here to download a complete copy of the Plan as a PDF file.
The full illustrated statement can be downloaded as a (large 12Mb) PDF file here.
The full contents are shown below, excluding the illustrations.
The Henstridge Village Design Statement has been produced by the Henstridge Village Design Team, a group of villagers united in the desire to see Henstridge develop in a manner sympathetic to its history and setting. The Statement has been produced so that local views and ideas can be used to assist in the design process and affect decisions on all kinds of development and change in the village. The hamlets of Yenston and Henstridge Bowden, which form part of the Civil Parish of Henstridge, are not included in this Design Statement.
The Henstridge Village Design Team aim to apply to South Somerset District Council to accept the completed draft text to be used as Supplementary Planning Guidance, for adoption as a material planning consideration, when local applications are assessed.
Henstridge, at the beginning of the twenty first century, is described in this Design Statement. It identifies the manner in which the village has evolved over the years; in so doing, it highlights the qualities which residents value and which should be incorporated as part of future planning considerations. This document is intended to be a practical tool, capable of influencing the design of all forms of development in the village. It will assist the Parish Council when commenting on planning applications and the District Council in its consideration and determination of these applications.
The aim of this Statement is to ensure that the essential character of Henstridge influences the design of future development in the village as it now stands, in order that the process of evolution continues in as sympathetic a manner as possible.
The Village Context
Henstridge is situated in the south eastern extremity of Somerset. The village is situated on relatively high ground from which the land gradually falls away to the Blackmore Vale to the East. The escarpment (or ridge from which the village gets its name) is formed of hard sedimentary rock with only a thin covering of soil. A number of springs issue from this ridge and in wet conditions these can generate significant quantities of water, which run via Cale Brook through the village. Many of the older village houses and cottages are built of Forest Marble. This natural yellow-grey colour stone mellows to grey and takes on a pink hue if subjected to fire. Two small quarries in Landshire Lane still provide limited supplies of this local stone.
Blackmore Vale prior to the twelfth century was, for the most part, forested and widely used for hunting. The name Henstridge derives from the Old English word `hengist' (stallion) and `nick' or 'rig'- meaning `ridge where stallions were kept'. The Domesday Book recorded in 1086 that Henstridge had "a mill paying 30 pence and 160 acres of meadow". A mill was delineated on the wall of the old church and there is little doubt that various mills occupied a site near the village pond. Unfortunately, the mill and pond are no longer in existence. Before Henstridge became a settlement, a trading route was cut through the forest from Salisbury to Sherborne and the west. Another track was cut through the forest from north to south, crossing the former route at a point now known as Henstridge Ash. This is the present A30/A357 junction. The first substantiated record of a church in Henstridge is dated 1175. This mediaeval structure survived until 1872, when it was in such a poor condition that it was demolished and replaced by the present church of St. Nicholas. Apart from the church, Henstridge is fortunate in retaining a primary school (the main building dates from its foundation in 1872), a sub-post office, three public houses, a garage and two general stores, together with other independent traders. There is a bus service to local towns. Early prosperity was based on mixed farming, which included sheep, cattle and cider orchards. A cheese factory, supported by the local dairy industry, functioned within the village for some years. However, since the 1960s, there has been a major shift away from land-based local work. Today, some opportunity for local employment is provided by a number of small scale business within the village and nearby on the Henstridge Trading Estate, sited on land adjoining the former World War II airfield. However, a large percentage of the working population is employed within a twenty-mile radius of the village. The 1991 census recorded the number of residents in Henstridge to have been 1,443. In 1881 the figure was 1,298. Whereas the population numbers remained virtually the same over the period, the increase in the number of housing units reflects a radical improvement in living conditions. The 2001 census is likely to reveal a marked increase in the population figures.
The Character of the Landscape Setting
The surrounding countryside comprises a patchwork of low-lying fields surrounded by hedges on banks, with the occasional wall, rising to higher ground beyond the Blackmore Vale towards the east. The loss of elm trees to Dutch elm disease has contributed to the present overall impression and essential character of open countryside. There are, however, small woodlands close to the village which include the Woodland Trust in Marsh Lane, Lady Theodora's wood in Park Lane and newer planting at Higher Marsh Farm. The immediate landscape is of pasture interspersed with some arable fields. The Blackmore Vale is the main visual amenity for the village. Distant features include Alfred's Tower, Tiahers Hill (Cucklington), Shaftesbury Hill and tree-clad Duncliffe Wood Hill (owned by the Woodland Trust). Closer features include Mohuns Farm, Higher Nylands and Toomer Hill. Rising above the trees, to the west of the village, the ridge skyline is broken only by the red brick of the Inwood Tower built in 1881.
Settlement Pattern and Buildings
The village of Henstridge evolved along the ancient ridge roadway and down lanes that led to cider orchards and beyond into the open countryside of the Blackmore Vale. These lanes, the numerous footpaths and some bridle paths which lead into the Vale shape much of the rural character of the village.
The Blackmore Vale is the most important visual amenity to the village. There are long and beautiful views out of the village. In future these must be taken into account within the planning process.
Surviving buildings, or sites of a previous building, indicate that original dwellings were farmsteads with open land between them. One of the earliest of these buildings, Church Farm, is situated behind the Church and probably dates from mediaeval times. Manor Farmhouse in the High Street, the house known as Oak Vale at the lower end of Vale Street and Keyham House which lies slightly back from the High Street, date from the Tudor era. Cotton Corner Cottage on the corner of Marsh Lane was built circa 1630. It was during this period that Henstridge expanded as farming flourished. Labourer's cottages, barns and other farm buildings were built alongside the old lanes and farm tracks now known as Ash Walk (formerly Pan Pudding Lane), Church Street, Blackmoor Lane, Vale Street, Marsh Lane and Southmead Lane. The coming of the Somerset and Dorset Railway (known affectionately as the Slow and Dirty or Slow and Doubtful) and the opening of a station at Henstridge in August 1863 provided a fresh impetus for employment. There was a goods siding leading to a milk dock, a small coal depot, storage for imported sugar beet for the local dairy farmers and livestock pens for cattle, sheep and horses. This resulted in new housing along Station Road, which follows on from Blackmoor Lane, ending at the Station Master's house and level crossing. Part of the old railway line, along Old Station Gardens, is now a bridleway and footpath. The draft Local Plan has identified the remainder of the old railway line as a protected recreational route.
Buildings in the centre of Henstridge were constructed close together, in many cases abutting one another, with some buildings facing on to the road and others at right angles to it, creating an irregular building line which is still in evidence today.
New development should reflect the traditional irregular building line.
Many of the old one-up, one-down cottages have been combined to provide larger single units and, in a number of cases, old lean-tos are incorporated into the fabric of the main house. A few cottages and farm buildings have been pulled down to make way for new housing and there has been limited in-fill building on paddocks adjacent to the High Street. Generally, however, the Ordnance Survey map of 1887 shows that building density and layout along the High Street and the old lanes remains essentially unaltered. The majority of buildings were once thatched with a few having stone tiles but, from the mid-nineteenth century slate or clay tiles were introduced. Today there are no thatched roofs in the village and stone tiles are rare, mainly seen as roof edging on some of the old buildings.
Henstridge is not a `chocolate box' village but has a distinct character and clear identity that reflects its predominately agricultural past. The visual quality of its older features is largely contained in the heart of the village, now a designated Conservation Area. The area known as The Cross is at the centre of the most populated part of the village from where roads radiate north, south, east and west. Church Street leads up to St Nicholas Church (a grade II listed building) and Church Farm. Vale Street leads down to Oak Vale Lane, which forms the boundary between the orchards of the present Quiet Corner Farm and open countryside. A small area belonging to the Woodland Trust is at the corner of Oak Vale Lane and Marsh Lane. Ash Walk and High Street provide the main thoroughfare through the village (A357).
The Bird-in-Hand public house at the corner of Blackmoor Lane, built at the beginning of the eighteenth century, is a picturesque inn that still retains its old character.
Directly opposite, on the western side of Ash Walk, is Pond Farm. The main house, built circa 1740, is constructed of local stone with many Georgian features. It is long and narrow with sash windows and two broken pediments, one over the portal and one over a window. The half-hipped roof is of clay tiles but known to be originally of stone whilst the chimneys are of brick. The former Coach House to Pond Farm, sited near the entrance gates on Ash Walk, is also built of local stone and was sympathetically converted to a dwelling in 1985. There are two buildings to the east of the Pond Farm House. Contiguous with the Old Coach House is a two-storied half-hipped barn, clay tiled and stone built which, within living memory, was used for milking cows. The second building is nearer to Ash Walk; it has stone walls, round brick piers and a half-hipped clay tiled roof. This was built in 1986 and is an example of a contemporary use of traditional local building materials and style in keeping with adjacent older buildings. The entrance gates and stone boundary wall were restored in the 1950s. Either side of the entrance gates are semi-circular recesses which contain a shell carved in stone. Pond Farm illustrates the evolution of a site and its buildings over a considerable period of time. It exemplifies how a sympathetic approach to restoration and new additions can enhance, rather than detract, from the harmonious visual aspect of the old.
Throughout the village, extensions, alterations, change of use and new building, if any, should strictly respect the inherent scale, style and setting of the old settlement.
The area between Pond Farm and Pond Cottage, at the corner of Church Street, marks the site of the former village pond. This was channelled into a brook in about 1950. A modern detached house, built of concrete, with white painted metal windows and surrounded by trees, now stands on this spot. The Brook, the level of which drops dramatically at this point, passes under the road and emerges on the other side at the site of two former flour mills. The modern Mill House was built of grey coloured reconstituted stone on this site in the latter part of the twentieth century.
At The Cross and along the High Street, the juxtaposition of dwellings of widely differing styles and period encapsulates the eclectic nature of building in old Henstridge and reveals how the village has developed. Henstridge House, with its imposing belvedere and white painted facade dominates the corner to the north west of The Cross. This elegant Georgian building dating from circa. 1780 is typical of fine classical residences of the period. A later addition to the east reduces its original symmetry. Built of local stone, Cross House lies on the east side of The Cross. The front elevation is long and flat with sash windows headed by a decorative brick entablature. To the front door there is a wooden trellis porch with lead canopy. The narrow front garden is bounded by a low stone wall with traditional `cock and hen' coping. The roof is hipped with slate tiles and the attractive tall corbelled chimneys are set at the ends of the roof ridge.
Post Office House faces on to The Cross and is situated at a right angle to the High Street. It is a typical Somerset single span house, built of local stone with side hung windows, a clay-tiled gable roof and chimneys which are typically set into the end walls. On the west side of The Cross, next to the High Street, there is a row of joined two storied cottages.
The view from the bottom of Church Street is up an incline to the lych gate and St. Nicholas Church beyond. There are a few cottages on either side of the road and one large house, the Old Vicarage, to the south east of the church. The cottages opposite the Old Vicarage date from the early eighteenth century, with small front gardens and narrow back gardens that would have backed, at one time, on to the village pond.
From the top of Vale Street there is a pleasant vista of cottages and houses along a narrow country road that leads down to Oak Vale and Oak Vale Lane. There are a number of cottages dating from the seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century interspersed with larger houses and cottages. Oak Vale stands in its own grounds at the lower end of Vale Street. Built during the Queen Anne period, onto a Tudor shepherds' cottage, this attractive single span house is constructed on three floors. It is built of local stone and the corbelled chimney stacks are of brick. A recent addition to the west facing end wall is a small round window to the upper floor. This breaks up an otherwise blank wall whilst reflecting a traditional architectural feature.
The High Street is narrow and winding. Most of the cottages and houses date from the early seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries, which either open directly on to the street or up shared passageways between them. These older properties are interspersed with late Victorian and early twentieth century houses which have small front gardens, bordered by iron railings or low local stone walls with `cock and hen' coping. There are two village shops, a post office, a public house and a funeral director's. Two former chapels, one dating from 1834 and the other from 1899, have been converted for private occupation. The oldest properties, dating from Tudor times until the early eighteenth century, are original farmhouses with the labourer's cottages and farm buildings clustered round them.
On the corner of the High street and adjacent to The Cross, is a Victorian building, dating from 1887. Constructed of local stone and articulated with contrasting light-coloured brick quoins, window and door surrounds, it has a hipped roof on a projection. Originally providing living accommodation, a coffee shop and a Temperance Hall on the first floor, it now serves as one of the two village shops.
Opposite, on the east side of the High Street, the Post Office opened its doors in 1875. Built as an extension to Post Office House, it has sash windows to the upper storey only and shallow, square bay, shop windows either side of the entrance. The two adjacent cottages, Framptons and The Old Saddlers, in which the old saddlery business was situated on the ground floor with living accommodation above, date from the early eighteenth century. During the twentieth century the frontages of these cottages were rendered and painted white, but the original iron railings still border the narrow pavement.
A group of buildings situated behind the Post Office were at one time all part of the same farm estate known as Quiet Corner Farm. The original farmhouse retains some remnants of its Tudor origins, but has had many later additions. Renamed Fern House it is now known as Keyham House. To the rear of the current Quiet Corner Farm, believed to have been the gardener's house to the original estate, are two fields, one of which retains its old apple trees. Covering 0.27 hectares, this is believed to be the only orchard still registered with the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food within the village.
The small woodland trust area and the fields bordered by Oak Vale Lane and Marsh Lane, provide a valuable rural feature within the heart of the village.
The Fountain Inn stands on the site of a much older inn, dating from at least 1715. The building has been much altered over the years and its outer appearance is late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. The original thatch has been replaced with a clay-tiled roof. It has inset gabled dormer windows and tall corbelled decorative brick chimneys. The High Street is extremely narrow at this point and the original front entrance has had to be shut off for safety reasons.
The Fountain Inn car park was once the site of a row of cottages which were demolished in the twentieth century. Today, it provides a fine view over the Vale from the centre of the village.
On the other side of the street, Stone House, London House and Waverley are good examples of eighteenth century one-down, one-up terrace cottages. These have been adapted sensitively to form larger dwellings with minimum alteration to their original facades. Manor Farm, on the west of the High Street midway between The Cross and Cotton Corner, is built of local stone. The house retains its stone mullion windows although the original diamond lights have been replaced with single panes of glass. The corner of Marsh Lane and the High Street with its group of typical early seventeenth terraced cottages marks the end of the Conservation Area.
Buildings outside the Conservation Area
From around the turn of the nineteenth century there was a small amount of in-fill within the Conservation Area. Just outside its limits, the Victoria Gardens development is an example of such development. The construction of this row of terraced houses typifies the successful blend of Forest Marble and Gillingham red brick. Built of local stone they have sash windows, central arched windows on the first floor and gabled dormer windows set under the eaves. The brick is used as a decorative feature for quoins, window and door surrounds and in chimney courses. Oakleigh, Homelea and Sunnyside in the High Street, and Townsend Cottages date from the early twentieth century and are similar in style. The construction and opening of the railway stimulated the building of the villas and cottages in Blackmoor Lane. Adjacent to the then Station House this lane is now known locally as Station Road. Although different in style, these dwellings share common features which blend with their surroundings. These include similar building materials, size and shape, sash windows and corbelled chimneys.
A short lane connecting Blackmoor Lane and Vale Street contains some old labourer's cottages. Brook Cottage has been largely rebuilt but has retained its original character.
A staggered roof line to the extension at Willow Cottage succeeds in maintaining the integrity of the original building and complements the variety of roof heights and angles which characterize the village roof-scape. [ drawing/photo of Brook Cottage]
Towards the eastern edge of the village is a narrow no-through lane leading down to agricultural land. This lane turns into a green track which leads into the Vale. Six cottages at the top of the lane, dating from the early to mid 1800s, form a terrace of flat fronted stone cottages with tiled roofs.
Whitchurch Lane (Whitchurch)
Situated to the north, Whitchurch Lane is separated from the main village of Henstridge by the A30 or Shaftesbury Road. It retains a scattering of old farmhouses and labourer's cottages and provides a pleasant rural walk. The Manor House, built in 1975, is a good example of a modern building constructed of traditional local materials. [photo]
Post 1920s Development
Post 1920s saw a move away from traditional building practices in Henstridge. The construction of Vale View, Park View, Victoria Terrace and, more recently, the Old Station Gardens estate using red brick as the main or sole building material contrasts starkly with the local vernacular.
Local authority housing developments, Summerfield off Blackmoor Lane and Woodhayes in Furge Lane, date from the late 1940s to the 1960s. The introduction of concrete and coloured brick may have been considered to be technologically advanced and economically desirable at the time. In effect, these introduced a jarring discontinuity into a hitherto agreeable diversity of styles which had evolved over three hundred years of building in the village. The Summerfield estate, in particular, is out of scale with its surroundings. Built on elevated ground, it dominates Blackmoor Lane and blocks views of the countryside.
During the last 30 years of the 20th century the village expanded more rapidly than at any time in the past 300 years. Large residential estates were built, creating self-contained suburban zones on the outskirts of the original settlement area. These post 1970s private developments are each composed of relatively large clusters of houses of a similar basic design, constructed of identical materials and based upon open planned layouts. Examples are Riverside Gardens built during the 1970s followed by Meadow Close in the 1980s and Towns End Green and Old Station Gardens in the 1990s. In general developers and builders constructed these estates, according to the prevailing fashions of their time, with scant regard to the traditional design elements of the older part of the village.
The Church Farm development, built close to the Church in 1998, is an example of recent unsympathetic design. Inadequate thought was given to the topography of the site. Situated on high ground these houses dominate the skyline adjacent to the church. Although a relatively small development, the scale of the properties is totally out of proportion with other buildings in the vicinity. Roofs have an exaggerated steep pitch to incorporate a third storey and the inset Velux panels are an unattractive obtrusive feature, particularly at night. The boundary wall is unnecessarily high and the coping a parody of the traditional `cock and hen' pattern. Being yellow stone, the building material is out of keeping alongside the local Forest Marble.
The existence of unsatisfactory or inappropriate examples of architecture should not be taken as valid precedents for the future. Any future building projects should both reflect and enhance the traditional character of Henstridge. Development, however small, should fit comfortably within the village both when seen close to and viewed from a distance.
Summary of Architectural Features
Henstridge has evolved, unplanned over time. In pre-twentieth century building, Forest Marble provided a consistency that prevailed over diversity in design. The Parish Church, built of Forest Marble, is a Grade II listed building and is a dominant feature. It is situated on an incline at the south western extremity of the Conservation Area. The tower with its golden galleon weather vane is visible from much of the village. The oldest properties, dating from Tudor times until the early eighteenth century, were originally farmhouses with cottages clustered around them. They are typically two-storey and not quite, symmetrical. Generally, the earliest dwellings opened directly on to the street whilst some eighteenth century houses were built at right angles to the street, with front doors situated up a shared passageway. The original plan was simple, rectangular and shallow (single span). Ceilings were low. The roofs are steep and were generally based on thatched construction but are now covered with clay or slate tiles. Roof heights and angles vary. This is not to do with varying pitch height but has occurred either as a result of older properties being extended or when outbuildings have been incorporated into the main house. [Photo of good example; Willow Cottage]
Windows are mainly sash but others are side hung, small and narrow cottage type, in multiples of two or three and painted white. A decorative arch in contrasting brick often heads sash windows. First floor windows of Victorian dwellings are frequently of the dormer type set under the eaves and this feature has been incorporated in some more recent developments. [Drawings] Round windows, set under the eaves in an otherwise blank gable wall, are an architectural feature that has been incorporated in building design through the centuries - a practice that continues today. Originally known as `wanderer's windows', it is thought that a candle was placed in them as a guide for travellers along unlit lanes. [photos of good examples; Old Coach House, Victoria Terrace & Oak Vale.]
Gable walls are taken to roof level with narrow fascia boards. There are little or no soffits and rafter ends are often exposed in the cottages. Decorated bargeboards were introduced in the design of some late nineteenth century building. A characteristic feature is the tall chimneys situated at the ends of roofs and set inside the gable wall. Chimney stacks are mainly brick and frequently have decorative corbelling. Victorian chimneys were further embellished with variegated colour courses. [Drawings and photographs] Porches are a characteristic and enhancing feature of many cottages and houses throughout the village. There are three main types of design: stone or brick and trellis with lead canopy; stone or brick with gable roof; stone surmounted by clear and coloured glass.
Garage conversions to older properties are generally inconspicuous in marked contrast to those in modern housing developments.
Older buildings either abut onto the road or are set back behind railings or walls. By comparison, properties on more modern developments tend to be set back behind small open gardens but uniformly face onto the road. Historically, traditional boundaries are low walls made of local stone topped with traditional `cock and hen' coping (also known locally as `cow and calf'). Iron railings, dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, are to be found on dwellings in the Conservation Area. There are also some fine examples of wrought iron gates. [photos and drawings] Hedges provide good natural boundaries to some properties, including Henstridge House and the garden on the site of the former village pond. Natural hedgerows, which include Blackthorn and Blackberry, border Furge Grove, parts of Furge Lane, Oak Vale Lane, Marsh Lane, Southmead Lane and Whitchurch Lane. These provide a natural habitat for wildflowers and small animals.
The use of high boundary walls, in recent building projects, such as Townsend Green and Church Farm Estate, are unattractive and only serve to segregate the occupants from the rest of the village. Improve, maintain or plant hedges of native species. Lay field hedges, when appropriate, rather than flail them. Encourage the use of railings, stone walls and native hedges for boundaries in new development and avoid solid wood fencing where streets or public areas bound gardens.
The Conservation area lacks any central open meeting space but the village has the benefit of a large recreation ground situated at the junction of the A30 and A357. The recreation ground provides the only public open space, of any size, available to villagers. It possesses a small playground for children as well as football and cricket pitches. There is, however, inadequate car parking space to cater for the hall and/or sporting events. Pip's Playground, off Furge Lane, provides a further small play area for young children. Situated behind the High Street and bordered by Church Street, Furge Lane and Furge Grove, an undeveloped green space serves as an important `lung' in the heart of the village. This rectangular area contains the Church and its churchyard, the Parish cemetery, the Glebe Field and a field designated as a no development area. It creates a sense of space, allows views across the Vale and provides a natural habitat for wild life. Similarly, the large playing field to the rear of the school provides splendid views across the countryside towards Shaftesbury.
Public Rights of Way
There are many public footpaths and a smaller number of bridleways that help maintain the rural character of the village. These provide important links within the village itself and into the surrounding countryside.
If any existing right of way is affected by development, the integrity of that right of way should be carefully preserved. Opportunities to develop connecting Rights of Way within and between developments should be encouraged, particularly where gaps in the footpath network exist.
Trees are an important element in their own right and contribute greatly to the village environment. Sadly many trees, both in the village and in the surrounding countryside, have been lost, particularly the elms, to disease. However, there remain both on private and public land, individual trees, groups of trees and wooded areas that are visually significant in the village scene and often serve as a useful screen.
These include mature trees at the top of the recreation ground, the fine yew in the churchyard, the Oak and Scots Pine in the field next to Oak Vale (adjacent to Footpath No.WN12-32), the Holm Oak near site of the former village pond, the Plane tree in Riverside Gardens and the Weeping Ash in front of the school.
Sites should be identified in suitable positions in the village and native trees planted in order to enhance the environment. Fast growing conifers are inappropriate and should be discouraged. Visually significant trees in the village should be conserved or replaced, when necessary and owners encouraged to care for them appropriately. Consult South Somerset District Council's publication on "Landscape Design"
Roads and Facilities
The village of Henstridge has developed around two historic turnpike roads that have turned into trunk roads. These are the A30, the main link between London and the West Country, and the A357 that provides a trade route between Poole and Bristol. Both roads have seen progressive increase in both commuter traffic and heavy goods vehicles over the years. The A303 and M5 have relieved some of the pressure on the A30 but have exacerbated the problem on the A357. The only real solution to this would be a by-pass round the village. The A357, which forms the High Street, is too narrow and sinuous to cope with the size and volume of the traffic now using it. Building development has evolved along the old roads and lanes that lead on to the A30 and the A357. This adds to the traffic congestion and, in some areas of the village, presents a safety hazard to both vehicles and pedestrians. In older sections of the village pavements are either non-existent or too narrow to offer safe separation from passing traffic. Many older properties do not have driveways, off road parking or garages and, as a result, cars are necessarily parked in the road, adding to the problem of congestion. There is very little communal parking space. The Virginia Ash, the Indian Restaurant and Fountain Inn provide parking for their customers. However, users of the Bird in Hand public house, both village shops and the Post Office have no nearby parking other than on the highway or in front of Cross House.
Keep road speeds down by design with consultation. Use traffic calming measures appropriate for Conservation Areas along the most constricted sections of the A357. Further building development must not be allowed to exacerbate current traffic problems. Seize opportunities for the unobtrusive integration of off-street parking. Existing narrow, winding lanes discourage excessive speeds and through traffic and should not be changed.
The village hall is located on the recreation ground. This wooden building is starkly utilitarian in design, visually unattractive and the site lacks sympathetic landscaping or screening. Similarly the bus shelter found at the crossroads opposite the Virginia Ash, on the A30, is suburban in appearance and, though functional, does not enhance the westerly entrance to the village.
Buildings and other structures for community use, including the above, should be constructed of stone or wood as appropriate and sympathetically reflect the traditional character of the village in both scale and design.
There is inadequate public seating and litter bins in the centre of the village.
Some of the electricity and telephone services have been buried underground on the newer estates but are provided by an ugly system of poles and overhead cables in other areas. There is no provision for a mains gas supply in the village.
Street Furniture and Road Signs
The approaches to the village are regrettably untidy and cluttered in appearance due to the utilitarian and uncoordinated plethora of signs and overhead services.
Minimise conspicuous road signs and give preference to the treatment of the road surface with natural red/brown coloured stone. To emphasise the village environment, signs should be in keeping with the rural character of the village and kept clean.
VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT GUIDELINES
It is desirable that Henstridge should continue to progress and some development is inevitable. Managing change in a way that will serve to enhance the village presents a major challenge for the future.
Further residential development should offer a variety of types and designs of housing so that no one style predominates. This would protect the unplanned evolution of styles that has traditionally characterised development within the village. Throughout the village, extensions, alterations, change of use and new building (if any) should respect the inherent scale, style and setting of the original settlement. Developers, when undertaking any visible development within the Parish, should be encouraged to adopt the following
Use South Somerset District Council's "Design of Residential Areas" and "Landscape Design" (from the Council's Conservation and Environment Unit) as primary guidance, aiming for a simple restrained village style.
- Large residential estates that create self-contained, suburban zones that are disproportionate in scale with the traditional settlement pattern should not be permitted.
- The design of new roads should reflect the winding pattern of existing roads and, from the outset, should feature off-road parking and passive traffic calming measures.
- The design of new roads should take into account the potential for flooding in the area and be constructed so as not to exacerbate the problem.
- Development should be small in scale, not conflict with the characteristic local style or add to the traffic difficulties or exacerbate flooding problems.
- Seek Professional advice and consult beforehand with the local authority, to ensure high quality contemporary architectural design and specification appropriate to the surroundings.
- Street scene elevation should be included in any planning application.
- Blocking a view will have a significant impact; retaining a gap in any new development can reduce this. Views could be used as a focal point in the design.
- Consider carefully how development, however small, will fit comfortably within the village both when seen close to and when viewed from a distance.
- Confine development to below the ridge skyline (as seen from the Vale) to take into consideration the external view of the village and so as not to interrupt the visual continuity of the landscape from within.
- Keep development rural and avoid suburbanisation by concrete components, wide pavements and urban garden features.
- Garages should be situated discreetly.
- Porches are seen as a feature within the village and should be considered in the design of any new development.
- Encourage the concealment of services in old work and require it in the new.
- New overhead cabling should be discouraged and every opportunity should be taken to place existing services underground.
- Unnecessary road signs, lighting and clutter should be kept to a minimum.
- To minimise conspicuous road signs, preference should be given to the treatment of the road surface with natural red/brown coloured stone.
- To emphasise the village environment, signs should be in keeping with the rural character of the village.
- The routes of existing public footpaths and bridle paths should be maintained and their quality improved. The opportunity to open up new rights of way (including bridle paths) should be sought where possible.
- Seize opportunities for enhancing the environment and improving the streetscape e.g. plant trees, avoid Leylandii hedges and conceal overhead services.
- Bus shelters and benches should be sympathetically designed to reflect the rural nature of the area.
BUILDINGS - THE OUTSIDE VIEW
- Use materials, style and proportions sympathetic to the old village though not necessarily an exact imitation of it.
- Use Forest Marble as far as possible and locally familiar materials for roofs such as slate and clay tiles.
- Refer to locally distinctive details such as roof pitch, window proportion and chimneys. Avoid treatments outside the local vernacular.
- Provide new houses with internal chimneys, positioned at the ends of roofs, which reflect the local corbelled pattern.
- Avoid pyramid roofs, flat roofs, monopitched, mansard and other non-traditional forms unless relevant to a specific and appropriate contemporary design.
- Avoid constructing houses uniformly parallel to the main highway access by breaking the building line, incorporating gable end onto the roadway.
- Avoid blank gables visible from the road.
- Elongate existing buildings with a setback to avoid the problems of mismatch.
- Observe older local practice in stone coursing, jointing and methods even when using reconstructed stone. Use flush finish mortar (preferably with lime) to match the walling colour and avoid recessed, raised or tooled joints.
- Avoid treatments outside the local vernacular such as rendering. If unavoidable, preference should be given to white or pale cream colours.
- Restrict the colour of painted boundary railings to black.
- Restrict the use of wood stain. Where appropriate keep to oak tones and avoid red cedar and mahogany treatment.
- Avoid mixing styles or historical references in the same building.
- Avoid standardised designs and do not exceed two storeys for houses.
- Keep ground floor levels close to natural ground levels.
- Encourage the planting of indigenous broad-leafed trees to compensate for the loss of the elms and other trees.
- Retain, improve or plant hedges of native species where possible.
- If relevant, lay field hedges rather than flail them.
- The orientation of buildings to accommodate solar panels effectively should be considered at the time of design and planning.
- Finish roof eaves with little or no soffit and narrow fascias.
- Avoid wide overhangs to roofs and prominent bargeboards.
- Use black rainwater pipe work or dark brown if appropriate.
- Use windows of balanced design, vertically proportioned.
- Replacement windows and doors should reflect the style and proportion of the original building and/or its neighbours and maintain a consistency of style and period.
- Avoid plastic and mahogany finish doors and avoid wood stain windows.
- Use traditional style stonewalls or iron railings in preference to fencing where streets or public areas bound gardens.
- Avoid unnecessary street lighting, over bright light level and yellow lighting.
- Use minimal pavements, with stone kerbing rather than concrete, or omit pavements altogether where locally appropriate (for example down the lanes).
- Ensure consultation and agreement on the provision and design of all street furniture to reflect the rural character of the village.
- The character of the surrounding area, houses and buildings needs to be taken into account when householders wish to erect satellite dishes. These should be positioned as discreetly as possible.
The Countryside Agency, The Community Council for Somerset, South Somerset District Council, Community Champions Fund, Henstridge Parish Council, Mr Peter Tucker (Henstridge resident and artist) and Mr Bill Wallace (Direct Offset Printers, Glastonbury)