Canewdon High Street Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan

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(1) 1. Introduction

1.1 Canewdon is a large rural parish, which extends for several miles along the southern side of the Crouch estuary. The area has important historical associations, with old entrenchments that once existed between the village and the river believed to mark the site of Canute's camp before his victorious battle with Edmund Ironside in 10161. Canewdon village is located on a hill, and the massive tower of the parish church is a conspicuous local landmark that is widely thought to be the site of Canute's Minster.

1.2 There are two conservation areas in Canewdon village, one taking in most of the High Street centred on The Anchor public house, the other centred on the church (Fig. 1). Canewdon High Street conservation area encompasses the linear village settlement between West Cottages and Rest Cottages along the High Street and Lambourne Hall Road, including the junction with Canute Close and a short length of Gays Lane.

1.3 Conservation areas are 'Areas of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance' (Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990). Government Planning Policy Guidance 15, Planning and the Historic Environment, emphasises that the character of conservation areas derives not simply from the quality of individual buildings, but also depends on 'the historic layout of property boundaries and thoroughfares; on a particular "mix" of uses; on characteristic materials; on appropriate scaling and detailing of contemporary buildings; on the quality of advertisements, shop fronts, street furniture and hard and soft surfaces; on vistas along streets and between buildings; and on the extent to which traffic intrudes and limits pedestrian use of space between buildings' (para. 4.2).

1.4 Designation of a conservation area extends planning controls over certain types of development, including extensions, boundary treatments, the demolition of unlisted buildings and works to trees. However it does not prevent any change and the area may be subject to pressures (good and bad) that will affect its character and appearance. Although Canewdon is a relatively remote village, it still faces pressure for change, most notably housing development, and there is a large element of modern infill along the High Street. The demand for modernisation and improvement of existing properties is a further threat to the character of the village, including extensions and works carried out as permitted development within the provisions of the General Development Order.

1.5 Rochford District Council commissioned Essex County Council to prepare this conservation area appraisal and the research and fieldwork was carried out in July and August 2006.

1.6 The appraisal provides a brief development history of the current settlement, followed by a description and assessment of character. The contribution of its different elements to the character is identified. Any issues which may affect the protection of character will be highlighted and opportunities for enhancement identified.

1 The Victoria County History (Vol. 1 1903) records a large oblong enclosure to the north of the church at Canewdon which is identified on early OS maps as the supposed site of Canute's Camp. No above ground evidence of this survives today.

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