Dyson plans to build gallery near Chipping Sodbury to show art collection to public

September 30 2020
Dyson plans to build gallery near Chipping Sodbury to show art collection to public

BILLIONAIRE businessman Sir James Dyson has unveiled plans for an art gallery at his home near Chipping Sodbury to show some of his private collection to the public.

The inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner and his wife Lady Deirdre Dyson have made an application to South Gloucestershire Council for planning permission to create the gallery at their Dodington Park estate.

But the scheme has brought objections from people living near the estate, who have raised concerns about the effect of visitor traffic on nearby narrow country lanes.

The Dysons' art collection is reported to contain a large number of works by David Hockney, as well as Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

In a design statement submitted to the council, architects Wilkinson Eyre said: "After spending many years restoring Dodington, Sir James and Lady Deirdre Dyson would like to re-open the Walled Garden to the public and share their collection of art and sculptures with the community and visitors.

"Among other upgrades, supporting infrastructure is needed to facilitate public access to the Walled Garden and to exhibit the art collection, which includes masterpieces from great artists."

Stating the vision for the art gallery, the architects said: "The proposal is a generous philanthropic gift for the enjoyment of the public. In addition to opening their walled garden to the public during 28 days per year, the applicants want to allow viewings of a global art collection during the same period of time.This collection would not otherwise be accessible. This is a true gift to society and one which comes at no expense to the public purse."

The architects were first commissioned to prepare designs for an art gallery on the 240 hectare (593 acre) estate three years ago.

They have come up with a design for a bronze and glass building with a 'green' roof, which they say "responds to this secluded site and pays respect to the listed brick wall enclosing the garden, with a low key pavilion building formed of a series of planar walls set out in an angular pattern and connected by vertical strip windows".

The architects added: "Great care has been taken in the choice of materials to define the architecture as contemporary but in close harmony with the landscaped walled garden."

Wilkinson Eyre said access will be off Catchpot Lane, through a private driveway through the estate, with a ticketing system limiting the number of visitors' vehicles to 19.

They added: "Bicycle usage is encouraged and the parking area will include 10 dedicated cycle bays, with the potential of expanding if needed."

But several neighbours have raised objections to the plans, citing traffic issues in nearby Catchpot Lane and Chapel Lane.

One objector whose comments are published on the council's website, Emma-Jane Rice, said: "At present the speeds along Catchpot Lane are 60mph and 30mph, which given that it is single track, with no official passing zones, is far too high and dangerous. Catchpot Lane is used daily by walkers, horse riders, dog walkers, cyclists and runners."

She said that, although vehicle numbers at the gallery were being capped, there was nothing to stop visitors parking at the side of local lanes or common land, then walking to the gallery.

Anne Jarrold said: "The exit on to the A432 from Catchpot Lane is extremely dangerous. The traffic is fast moving, despite the 40 mph speed limit and the junction is on a steep hill. There have been many incidents over the years and there is still a car embedded in the hedge.

"We have no objection to the gallery but it needs to have direct access to the main road or to enable visitors to use the estate roads."

More details of the plans can be viewed and comments made on the planning section of South Gloucestershire Council's website, by searching for application P20/14652/LB.