A Wirral Councillor is backing calls by Historic England for the Borough’s 26 conservation areas to be enhanced.
Following the latest hearings into Wirral’s long-awaited draft Local Plan, Councillor Vida Wilson (Conservative, Moreton West & Saughall Massie Ward) obtained copies of representations received by the council concerning how the council’s policy could affect the conservation areas.
One of the organisations that responded was Historic England, the public body that campaigns to protect and save many of England’s historic environments.
Conservation Areas are designated by the local planning authority as areas of special architectural or historic interest - often containing listed buildings. Legislation and strict planning policies allow the council to exercise greater control over certain aspects of development in conservation areas. Any development proposals should be of the highest quality design and preserve or enhance the special character of the area.
While welcoming the policy, Historic England requested work to see how the 26 areas could be enhanced, stating: ‘Historic England extremely concerned about the lack of a strategic policy for the historic environment in the Plan. We consider that the lack of a locally specific detailed policy to set out the strategy for the historic environment across the Wirral to be a serious omission.’
A copy of the letter from Historic England is attached below.
Councillor Wilson said:
“Most of Wirral’s 26 Conservation Areas have active local societies that work hard to protect their unique character and history.
“Following the suggestions from Historic England, I would urge the Council to work with the residents to see if and how areas could be enhanced further.
“The Council must also act to address their concerns regarding a specific policy for the wider historic environment in the Borough.
“For example, it’s 14 years since our local Conservation Area in Saughall Massie Village had any kind of appraisal and a lot has changed in that time.
“More recently, we have seen three specific threats to build more than 1,000 on the surrounding Green Belt which, if successful, would severely affect the character of the village.”
Councillor Wilson has now written to the Chief Executive, Paul Satoor, and Chief Planner, Kath Lawless, requesting action to address the concerns of Historic England.
In Wirral, the voluntary Conservation Areas Wirral was established in 2014 to work with local committees and the council.