Great Wakering Conservation Area Appraisal & Management Plan

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1 Introduction

1.1 Great Wakering is a substantial village approximately six miles north-east of the conurbation of Southend-on-Sea. It is a historic village with ancient origins associated with a Saxon minster, much expanded in the late 20th century by residential development with ribbon development connecting it to neighbouring settlements. The linear development along the historic High Street extends for around a mile in length. The village has a range of local shops, pubs and community facilities.

1.2 The conservation area encompasses the 12th century church of St Nicholas in the east, believed to be built on the site of an earlier Saxon minster, extending west along the High Street to the community centre and the White Horse pub.

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. Great Wakering conservation area faces a number of pressures which threaten its special character. These include the demand for residential development and works to modernise and improve existing properties 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 were carried out in October 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.

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