- Meeting of Cabinet, Tuesday 11th February 2020 6.30 pm (Item 2.)
Cabinet Member for Planning and Enforcement
To consider the attached report.
Contact Officer: Freya Morris (01296) 585126
As part of an on-going programme, the Conservation Area at Little Horwood had been reviewed. The Conservation Area had originally been designated in 1991. The review had been the subject of public consultation. A map showing the proposed revised Conservation Area boundary was submitted together with details of the representations received and the Council’s response. A copy of the Appraisal Document was submitted also.
By way of context, the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Area) Act 1990 defined a Conservation Area as…."an area of special architectural Interest, the character and appearance of which is desirable to preserve or enhance." The Act placed three duties on local authorities:-
· To designate those areas considered to be of special architectural or historic interest as Conservation Areas.
· To review all Conservation Areas from time to time.
· To formulate and publish proposals for the preservation and enhancement of the Conservation Areas.
The Conservation Area Document for Little Horwood:-
· Defined the special interest of Little Horwood.
· Identified those features which made Little Horwood of sufficient interest to warrant designation.
· Laid out some settlement specific management proposals for the preservation and enhancement of the Conservation Area.
The proposed Conservation Area boundary at Little Horwood had been drawn to include those elements and features which were considered to be of architectural or historic interest, or which positively contributed to the special character or appearance of the area as a whole.
The Cabinet report, available to view in full on the Council’s web site indicated that some of the proposed changes to the Conservation Area boundary related to minor alterations where the existing boundary cut through properties. In these cases, the proposed boundary had been altered to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding. The most significant changes to the existing boundary were:-
· The proposed inclusion of the Moated site, a description of which and rationale for inclusion of which were included in the Cabinet report.
· Archaeological Notification sites to the south-east, east and north-east of the Moated site.
· Hill Farm, Winslow Road and the immediate curtilage, including a small field to the rear of nos. 3, 5, 5A and 7 Church Street.
The report summarised the consultation process, from which it was noted that objections had been raised to the proposed inclusion of the scheduled Moated site, the proposed inclusion of the Garden of Peace, the proposed inclusion of the private paddocks to the west of Wood End, and the proposed inclusion of Hill Farm and the fields that backed onto the western side of Church Street. The reasoning behind the objections was detailed in the Cabinet report. A number of residents had also queried the role of Conservation Areas as they felt that AVDC did not enforce the legislation that accompanied designation. However since publication of the report for consideration by Cabinet, the objections from the Parish Council had effectively been withdrawn in that the Parish Council had indicated that it would support the proposed changes.
The following site specific issues had been raised within the Little Horwood Conservation Area Management Plan and during the consultation:-
· Maintaining the rural character of the village especially through the preservation of the hedges, trees and banks that lined the carriageways. Also it was important to maintain the connection between the village and surrounding countryside gained in part through views from the village out into the surrounding landscape and also from outside the village looking in.
· Maintaining the integrity of the key open spaces within the village, in particular, The Green, the churchyard and around the Moated site.
· Recognising the key role played by St. Nicholas’s Church and the Moated site. The setting of both of these buildings was fundamental to the identity and character of the village as a whole.
· Maintaining the rural character of the village through the rationalisation of signage and street furniture. This could be achieved through undertaking a street furniture audit.
· Encouraging the retention of historic features (particularly windows and doors) where they survived on buildings, especially those buildings which were not listed and were therefore not protected by legislation.
· Where new development was deemed acceptable, ensuring that its form, layout, massing, materials and design reflected and respected the key characteristics of the built historic environment of the village as identified within the Management Plan.
· Overhead wiring around the village and in particular on The Green. Efforts should be made to see if these cables could be placed underground and the poles removed.
The Cabinet report contained three possible options with a brief commentary on each:-
· Option 1 - To approve the revised boundary as recommended and justified within the draft Conservation Area Appraisal Document and shown on the map submitted.
· Option 2 - To remove Hill Farm and adjacent fields to the west of Church Street, the paddocks between the moated site and Wood End and the Garden of Peace from the proposed designation, but include the Moated site within the Conservation Area.
· Option 3 – To retain the existing 1991 Conservation Area boundary with only minor alterations to ensure that the boundary accurately followed extent boundaries.
After careful consideration, Cabinet was firmly of the opinion that Option 1 should be adopted. Accordingly, having thanked the Heritage Officers for the careful, detailed and considered approach to the Conservation Area review, it was,
(1) That the responses to the consultations contained in the Cabinet report at Appendix 1, be noted.
(2) That the Little Horwood Conservation Area boundary (Appendix 2, Option1), be adopted.
(3) That the Management Plan be adopted.