Our umbrella organisation, Civic Voice, holds an annual competition to find England’s favourite Conservation Area. This year we thought that we would submit an entry for Coventry. We decided that rather than identify the entry ourselves we would ask Coventry people what they think. But do Coventry people know anything about the Conservation Areas in our city? We need to find out!
Do you know what a conservation area is?
Do you know how many Conservation Areas Coventry has?
Do you know whether any of Coventry’s Conservation Areas are “At risk”?
So what is a Conservation Area?
A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historical interest where the character and appearance needs to be protected or improved.
Making an area a Conservation Area shows the Council is committed to these areas and to protecting them. The Council carries out research and consultation with people living and owning property in the area before designating an area as one. Conservation areas are not museums but living communities, and so the aim is to guide and control development rather than prevent it.
The Council has powers to:
- Control new development – the expectation is that there will be a very high standard of design, which is sympathetic to the existing environment. New development must make a positive contribution to the character of the area.
- Control minor development – In a conservation area you need planning permission for certain changes to buildings, which would normally be allowed under permitted development rights.
- Control demolition – Conservation area consent is needed for the demolition of all or part of most buildings and structures, including walls and outhouses. As a general rule, buildings that make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of a conservation area, will be kept, although the Council does not always do this, as demonstrated by the demolition of the Coventry Cross.
- Protect trees – Anyone planning to cut down, reduce the height or canopy of a tree over a certain size in a conservation area, whether or not it is covered by a tree preservation order, has to give six weeks’ notice to the Council.
- Control advertisements – Special restrictions apply to the display of adverts in conservation areas.
- Control of satellite dishes – Special restrictions apply to putting up satellite dishes in conservation areas.
- Carry out urgent work – the Council has the power to carry out urgent work needed to preserve any vacant building that has fallen into serious disrepair in a conservation area, and to recover the cost from the owner.
The Council can also introduce an Article 4 direction which gives extra protection to certain conservation areas. This means that even minor alterations could require planning permission.
So how many Conservation Areas Does Coventry have?
There are 16 conservation areas in Coventry. These areas are all different, but have buildings, structures or features of historic or architectural value in them that create a special environment.
- Allesley Village – declared 20 December 1968, extended 29 November 1994.
- Kenilworth Road – declared 20 December 1968, extensions agreed 6 September 1978, minor extensions / boundary adjustments approved 6 January 2004.
- Stoke Green, – declared 20 December 1968, extension and other minor boundary adjustments approved 6 January 2004.
- Greyfriars Green – declared 8 August 1969, extended 6 April 1977.
- Hill Top – declared 8 August 1969, minor boundary adjustment approved 6 January 2004 and further boundary amendments approved 11 December 2014.
- Lady Herbert’s Garden and the Burges – declared 8 August 1969 extended 6 April 1977, minor boundary adjustment approved 6 January 2004, and the boundary amended for a third time 11 December 2014.
- Spon Street – declared 8 August 1969, extension to north and other minor boundary adjustments approved 6 January 2004.
- Hawkesbury Junction – declared 14 September 1976, jointly with Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council.
- Chapelfields – declared 9 November 1976.
- London Road – declared 5 April 1977.
- High Street – declared 12 October 1982.
- Ivy Farm Lane (Canley Hamlet) – declared 16 November 1989, minor boundary adjustments approved 6 January 2004.
- Far Gosford Street – declared 21 October 1992.
- Naul’s Mill – declared 10 September 2003.
- Spon End – declared 10 September 2003.
- Coventry Canal – declared 19 June 2012.
Are any Conservation Areas at risk?
Historic England published an annual statement of heritage buildings and areas that are at risk. The latest edition was published in 2018. In that document three of Coventry’s Conservation Areas were declared to be “at risk”.
Lady Herbert’s Garden: condition described as being “Very Bad” with a trend “Deteriorating significantly” but vulnerability is described as “Low”.
London Road: condition described as “Very Bad” with a trend of “Improving” and vulnerability as “Low”
Naul’s Mill: condition described as “Poor”, trend as “deteriorating” and vulnerability as “Low”.
So what is your favourite Conservation Area in Coventry?