BSCF's Comments on the Further Conservation Area ConsultationDetailed Response to Conservation Araa Appraisal
Conservation Area Appraisal - Map of the Five Areas
The Conservation Team
East Herts District Council
Wallfields, Pegs Lane
Bishop's Stortford Conservation Area Appraisal
I write on behalf of the Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation in response to the further consultation on the Conservation Area Appraisal.
Firstly, BSCF welcomes the inclusion of parts of Warwick Road as an extension to the Conservation Area. However, we remain concerned where proposals such as this omit certain parts of roads or even particular buildings. We fear those omitted buildings could at some point be replaced by new buildings which are not in keeping with the rest of the road, to the detriment of its overall appearance and atmosphere. We are struggling to fully understand this strategy, which is also employed in Grange Road and Maple Avenue for example.
We again suggest that whole roads should be encompassed in the extended Conservation Area and, where buildings deemed inferior are included, strategies devised to encourage the bringing of those buildings (or sections of the road) up to the standard of the rest.
We therefore suggest the whole of Warwick Road and Maple Avenue be included in the Conservation Area.
We remain concerned that the Crown Terrace car park is highlighted as a potential area for re-development when loss of this car park would be very detrimental to the local traders in Hockerill Street. We feel clarification is needed that this car park should remain, although improvement of its surroundings could be beneficial.
Overall, we are disappointed that the Appraisal does not go far enough towards demonstrating the town’s local distinctiveness, which we believe is vital to ensure developers recognise and understand the nature and character of our town.
As set out in our first response, we would like to see the following suggested wording included at the end of paragraph 5.1:
"The centre of Bishop's Stortford still retains its Saxon street layout and is distinguished by a range of fine buildings of relatively low height which greatly contribute to the town's welcoming and friendly character. The Georgian town houses of North Street, interspersed with older buildings dating back to the 16th Century, give way to more solid Victorian buildings heading towards and along Potter Street. Local residents are justly proud of their ancient market town since it provides a setting for many outstanding buildings that fully deserve to be preserved. Where opportunities for development exist, only those which enhance and are sensitive to this historic background should be considered."
As set out in our previous letter, we are keen to see:
- more robust treatment of buildings which detract from and are out of keeping with the general nature of the Conservation Area ie suggestions for replacement with more attractive buildings more appropriate to their location if ever the opportunity arises to correct the planning mistakes of the past eg Telephone Exchange, Boots the Chemist, Lloyds Bank
- suggested locations where schemes to assist bringing houses/streets back to their former appearance could be encouraged (eg para 6.54 ‘the quality of several 19thcentury terraces has been detrimentally eroded by permitted development’). Such schemes might encourage certain types of replacement windows, doors etc
- planning officers insisting on the use of quality building materials in any new developments to avoid the disharmony caused by cheap bricks, windowframes etc
- more consistency of signage, shopfronts, street scene in the main shopping areas and steps taken to remove garish signs which detract from the historic atmosphere. Also restoration of original ‘quality’ stone paving in more areas eg Bridge Street, Church Street to enhance the setting of listed buildings.
We also seek confirmation that the Conservation Area Appraisal will reviewed be in 5 years’ time, in line with English Heritage recommendations.
We hope our comments can be incorporated into the finalised Appraisal to ensure a very robust stance is presented on developments affecting the Conservation Area and we look forward to working with the Conservation Area team in the future.