Thursday, December 17, 2009

Should Ladywell have a conservation area?

Lewisham Planning Department is consulting residents in Ladywell about whether or not a Ladywell Conservation Area should be introduced. The area between the leisure centre and the railway bridge is already part of St Mary's Conservation area, and the area from halfway up Adelaide Avenue comes under Brockley Conservation area, but the main streets in Ladywell, such as Algernon Road, Algiers Road, Veda Road, Embleton Road, Ermine Road and Ladywell Road are not currently in a conservation area. It is this area that is currently being consulted.

One of the main differences between living in a conservation area or not is that planning regulations for conservation areas are stricter, and you need permission for certain changes to your home that you might not need outside it, such as replacing windows and the intention behind this is to preserve the aesthetic and architectural character of the area.

I've included below a bit more information from officers about the proposals and you can also find the documents on the Council's website.

The proposals are supported by a conservation area appraisal that sets out the special interest of the area and explains why it may warrant designation, including recommendations for the future management of the area. These proposals are out to public consultation from now until 27 January 2010. Residents, businesses and stakeholders in the area should all have been sent an explanatory leaflet and a questionnaire asking for their views.

Officers will be available to explain the proposals on Saturday, 9th January between 12.00noon and 3pm at the Foyer of the Lewisham Library, 199-201 Lewisham High Street, Lewisham.

Background to the conservation area review:
Local Planning Authorities are required to identify from time to time which parts of their areas are of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.

Unitary development plan policy URB 15 says that the Council will periodically review its conservation areas programme, designate new Conservation Areas and extend existing ones as appropriate, and formulate and publish special guidance for their preservation, protection or enhancement.

The new Ladywell Conservation Area:
The core of the proposed Ladywell Conservation Area contains a late Victorian residential suburb which was developed by the local builder Samuel J. Jerrard. Through the 1880s and 1890s he built up long stretches of Vicars Hill and the newly laid out streets Algernon Road, Algiers Road, Ermine and Embleton Road. His houses are highly distinctive as a group and his development survives nearly complete. The conservation area also encompasses some good later infill development of the late 19th and early 20th century and the commercial core of Ladywell along Ladywell Road, which contains some of the oldest houses and pubs of the area.

Much of the special character of the proposed Ladywell Conservation Area lies in the historic detail of its buildings. The survey of the area has identified the incremental loss of architectural details and inappropriate alterations as a cause of the area’s loss of historic character. If designation as a Conservation Area is considered it is recommended to make an Article 4(2) direction at the same time to cover all the residential properties. This will mean that planning permission will be required before changes are made to features such as windows, doors, porches, rooflights, brickwork, front gardens and boundary walls.

We would be interested to hear local residents views on these proposals. To make sure your views count, do remember to return the form you get through your door, or you can complete the online version here.

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