Key Views in Conservation Areas

Key views in conservation areas are not restricted to vistas of buildings such as churches, castles and ancient monuments. I included this view of the rear of Saxmundham High Street, seen from a car park, as a key view within the recent reappraisal I undertook on behalf of the local planning authority. It comprises of an assemblage of pantiled roofs, traditional brick chimney stacks and a jumble of timber clad and brick-built walls, all representative of the Suffolk vernacular. Most of the buildings on view are unlisted, but have been included as buildings of special interest making a positive contribution to the Conservation Area. Material change must be carefully considered so as not to erode the identified special quality of the grouping. Inappropriate interventions would denigrate and harm the view and setting, and possibly lead the way for other damaging incremental change.

Such areas and buildings are continuously under threat of inappropriate redevelopment, which includes the installation and siting of alternative energy technologies and roof extensions. Local Planning Authorities and English Heritage publish design guidance to help owners and managers of heritage assets, but this can sometimes be fairly opaque and difficult to interpret. Open Heritage has provided clear appraisals of numerous Conservation Areas throughout the region, and has detailed knowledge of building histories, construction methods and materials. This combined with detailed knowledge of heritage guidance and policy at both local and national level will help support your project at outset, however big, however small.

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