The specific term “conservation area” in the United Kingdom almost always applies to a location, mostly urban or sometimes the core of a village, considered worthy of preservation due to its unique historical and architectural interest. The Civic Amenities Act 1967 was responsible for introducing the concept; this Act was then superseded by the 1990 Act. According to records, Stamford, Lincolnshire was the very first area that received this in the designation.
Why These buildings are protected and cannot be changed?
Section 69 of the civic amenities Act 1967 empowers the local councils to designate certain locations as conservation areas. These sites should be those that have special architectural or historical interest or the character or appearance that can be considered to be desirable to preserve and even enhance. These are places of high value that should be maintained for more than one reason.
The designation gives full authority over the demolition of these buildings and provides a basis for policy is designed to enhance or preserve all the aspects of the character that defines the area’s exceptional value. In circumstances that are exceptional, English Heritage can designate these areas in London after obtaining the consent of Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport.
The Secretary of State may also designate in certain circumstances – in cases where the value of the area goes well beyond local interest. Local authorities also have additional powers to control alterations to buildings lying in a conservation area that might usually be granted without the need for obtaining planning permission in other locations.
Why were these buildings developed?
Around 4.4 million houses, which represent nearly 20% of the total housing stock, were constructed before the year 1919. Some of these buildings are listed to be within conservation areas and into protection by certain planning control. However, it is worth mentioning that most of the houses do not enjoy any privileges of legal protection, which is similar to a vast majority of construction that took place after 1919.
These areas can be seen across a broad range of rural and urban locations in the UK. Some typical examples can be found in the historic centres of towns such as Alexandra Palace and Park. There are also modern housing estates, fishing and transport areas included in this category.
Osmotherly is yet another great example of a designated rural village. In sectors such as these, the protection of particular interest and quality of the neighbourhood as a whole is intended rather than certain buildings.
For example, roads, vistas and viewpoints, boundary layouts, trees and beautiful greenery, original building materials, and street furniture and surfaces, and even the team and designed of a store’s front can be taken into account during the time of deciding if the area has a particular architectural or historical interest.
The local distinctiveness and the sense of place these residential areas have to offer are often considered in high regard in the local community, and this warrants careful consideration when changes and future developments come into play. As it so happens, people often realize the significance and heritage value of an individual commodity after the development decisions have already taken place.
These decisions, therefore, have to be taken from a position of careful consideration and understanding of how the character and significance of the buildings will change after new housing projects are introduced.
What is the need of having conservation areas?
The demand for new housing has only increased over the recent years, and as a result, the pressure of development in historic places has grown rapidly. This has led to the rise of new challenges of accommodating houses that are desperately needed in these sensitive locations. The National Planning Policy Framework in association with Planning Practice Guidance has the responsibility of governing the rules and processes under which local authorities have to plan for the new housing projects.
There are close to 10,000 areas of conservation across England, which have been designated for their unique architectural interest, and many of these cover residential areas. Any alterations and enhancement decisions planned in these locations have to be carried out with consideration of their impact on the value of the existing buildings of architectural importance.
There a number of conservation areas in Southend on Sea, here a few of our favourite areas that we like to spend time walking through and spending time in – find out more information about each area click on the below links: