Draft Old Harlow Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan

Ended on the 2nd May 2011
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MANAGEMENT PLAN

11.0 The draft management plan seeks to address the issues identified in the appraisal. Its purpose is to put forward proposals for enhancing and preserving the special qualities and character of the conservation area. There are 4 outcomes of the management plan:

1.) Proposed changes to the existing conservation area boundary, including the proposal for additional areas to be given conservation area status.

2.) Additional planning powers to preserve the character of the conservation area.

3.) Enhancement proposals to reinforce and enhance the character of the conservation area.

4.) Recommended additions to Harlow’s schedule of locally listed buildings.

Diagram

PROPOSED BOUNDARY CHANGES

11.1 When carrying out a conservation area appraisal the Council has a statutory duty to review conservation area boundaries in order to:

  • ensure that the boundaries reflect what is worthy of preservation and enhancement; and
  • consider if any further parts of their area should be designated as conservation areas.

11.2 During the appraisal the conservation area and its surroundings was examined thoroughly to establish whether any areas should be omitted from the conservation area and whether any of the surrounding areas should be given conservation area status. Due to the resources available, the area of search was limited to the area immediately surrounding the Old Harlow Conservation Area. Further adjacent areas will be examined in due course and the Council is aware that there may be additional parts of the surrounding area which may also warrant conservation area status.

Proposed changes to the conservation area boundary:

11.3 The draft management plan recommends that:

  1. A new conservation area should be established - ‘Harlow Garden Village.’
    • This new conservation area should comprise homes on Manor Road, The Hill and St Johns Avenue.
    • Dwellings on St Johns Avenue which are currently in Old Harlow Conservation Area should be contained in Harlow Garden Village Conservation Area as these homes have a similar Garden Village character.
  2. Homes in Penshurst should be removed from Old Harlow conservation area.
  3. The conservation area boundary should be widened to include some buildings adjacent to the conservation area on Station Road which are worthy of conservation area status.

Proposed Boundary Changes
Proposed Boundary Changes

Proposed Conservation Areas
Proposed Conservation Areas

Recommendation A - Harlow Garden Village Conservation Area

11.4 It is recommended:

  • that homes on Manor Road, The Hill and St Johns Avenue identified in blue on the map below be given conservation area status; and
  • that homes on St Johns Avenue, The Hill and Manor Road should be grouped together in a separate conservation area as this area has a distinct and unified garden village character.

New homes given conservation area status
New homes given conservation area status

Justification

11.5 Homes on St Johns Avenue which are currently in Old Harlow conservation area have a Garden Village character very different from the character of the rest of the Old Harlow conservation area.

11.6 Dwellings on Manor Road and The Hill have been identified as being worthy of conservation area status and having an architectural and landscape character similar to St Johns Avenue.

11.7 The Council believes that the most consistent approach would be to group these areas together in a new conservation area – Harlow Garden Village conservation area.

11.8 The Council believes that this proposal offers the following benefits:

  • The proposed Harlow Garden Village conservation area reflects an important period in the pre-New Town history of Harlow which the Council would like to recognise and reinforce. The best way of doing this would be to draw the new conservation area boundary around the entire Garden Village area and recognise it as a cohesive area.
  • The conservation areas in Old Harlow would be defined consistently, according to their different and unique characters.
  • Conservation area boundaries would reflect the historical development of Old Harlow.
  • Conservation areas in Old Harlow would be broken down into more manageable areas which could be more easily monitored.

11.9 An alternative approach to the one proposed would be to add Manor Road, The Hill and further parts of St Johns Avenue to the existing Old Harlow Conservation Area. This alternative was considered. However, this option would result in the Old Harlow Conservation Area becoming too large to be easily managed, monitored and meaningfully characterised. The Council therefore believes that splitting the area into two distinct conservation areas is the most appropriate option.

Character Appraisal Findings

11.10 The appraisal process highlighted a number of properties north of St Johns Avenue - on Manor Road and on the Hill – which embody very similar Garden Village character as is found on St Johns Avenue.

11.11 The following homes were in particular were observed as having a special character and embodying a degree of architectural or historic interest worthy of preservation or enhancement:

  • Numbers 1 to 51 Manor Road (odd)
  • Numbers 2 to 102 Manor Road (even)
  • Numbers 19 to 69 The Hill

Homes which exhibit a garden village character
Homes which exhibit a garden village character

Architectural and Landscape Character of Harlow Garden Village

11.12 The special Garden Village character of this area is derived from the following features:

  • Homes laid out in a classic Garden Village style around central landscape features.
  • Well-preserved landscape features typical of the Garden Village style, including front garden hedges, front garden lawns and grass verges running along the kerb.
  • A high degree of architectural similarity - meaning homes, collectively, are of significant ‘group value’.
  • Distinctive steep pitched roofs typical of the Garden Village style. This is particularly the case between 19 to 53 The Hill and 4 to 30 (evens) on St Johns Avenue.
  • Distinctive sweeping gabled properties typical of the Garden Village style (particularly between even numbers 2 to 60 Manor Road).
  • Consistent building materials and render.
  • Dwellings painted with an attractive palette of beige, yellow, pink and sky blue pastel colours on Manor Road and The Hill.
  • A range of well-preserved original features such as original doors and canopy porches.
  • Dwellings laid out in similar plot sizes, according to a highly planned approach.

The Eastern end of St Johns Avenue

11.24 The proposal for Harlow Garden Village conservation area also involves dwellings on the eastern end of St Johns Avenue being given conservation area status. Analysis of historic maps has shown that these homes were built during the same period, although they have a different architectural character to the rest of the proposed Garden Village conservation area. Nevertheless, this area was also identified during the appraisal being worthy of conservation area status. The significant features of this area are:

  • A number of attractive gable fronted detached homes laid out on small plots.
  • Layston Cottage, which exhibits an attractive gabled open canopy porch and original sliding sash windows.
  • Pargeting on number 53 St John’s Avenue.
  • Pastel coloured homes.
  • Attractive veranda porches.
  • The row of identical semi-detached 1920s homes between 58 to 68 St Johns Avenue which contain attractive brick work details, well-preserved chimney pots, casement windows and arched internal porches.

Eastern end of St Johns Avenue
Eastern end of St Johns Avenue

Historic Analysis

11.13 Historic maps demonstrate that Manor Road was built at roughly the same time as St Johns Avenue during the early 1920s. The crescent facing onto a grass square on The Hill was built soon after.

11.14 Further anecdotal evidence, in the form of railway adverts produced at the time, demonstrate that this era of house building was part of an attempt made by Charles Scruby to create a Garden Village in Harlow. As can be seen from the advert to the right, the layout of Harlow Garden Village was focused on the estate which existed between Station Road and Old Road (see map of Old Harlow shown sideways on the advert).

11.15 The historical evidence available points to the fact that this was a completely separate chapter in the development of Harlow which deserves to be recognised through the designation of a separate conservation area.

Railway advert in the 1920s

Map 1922
Map 1922

BACKGROUND

What was the Garden City Movement?

11.16 The Garden City Movement is an approach to urban planning that was founded in 1898 by Sir Ebenezer Howard. Garden cities were intended to be planned, self-contained, communities surrounded by greenbelts, containing carefully balanced residential, industrial and agricultural areas.

11.17 Like the New Towns movement, the Garden City Movement was a reaction to the environmental and social problems found in large, industrialised urban areas. Both were also attempts to stem the seemingly relentless sprawl of large cities, particularly London.

11.18 The driving motivation behind the Garden City Movement was to relocate people living in overcrowded urban centres to more healthy, attractive and spacious environments, in which people had access to the countryside and green spaces. The Garden City Movement was aspirational. It was premised on the idea that major social improvement and change could be achieved by enhancing people’s living environment and quality of life.

11.19 Only two true garden cities were ever built in England, Letchworth and Welwyn. A number of garden suburbs built between 1918 and 1939, one of the most famous being Hampsted Garden Suburb in London, which was designed by Parker and Unwin.

Howard’s Garden City Concept
Howard’s Garden City Concept

Garden City Design Principles

11.20 Homes were laid out at lower densities than were found in large urban areas, with houses and plots shaped in order to provide residents with suitable levels of sunlight, fresh air and garden space. An emphasis was made to make use of natural elements and landscaping features such as garden hedges and long front and back garden lawns. The design of housing areas was focused on creating sufficient ‘breathing room’ and ‘playing room’ to enable a more healthy existence.

11.21 Architecture found in Garden City housing developments has been seen to share similar style which, to some extent, was derived from the Arts and Crafts Movement. Steep gabled roofs with low eaves have become associated with garden cities or garden suburb areas, as have mansard roofs.

The Legacy of the Garden City Movement

11.22 The Garden City Movement heavily influenced the design of New Towns after the Second World War. Sir Frederick Gibberd, the Masterplanner of Harlow, readily acknowledged the role Ebenezer Howard and the Garden City Movement played in the New Towns movement.

11.23 Garden Cities and New Towns were similar urban planning responses to the same problem. They both sought to address the problems of over crowding and poor health experienced in modern industrial cities and aimed to provide a healthier and greener existence for city dwellers. Both attempted to merge the benefits of living in the town and the countryside. Indeed, clear parallels can be drawn between Gibberd’s masterplan for Harlow, which sought to maximise the role of landscape features and draw the countryside into the town, and the design of garden cities such as Letchworth and Welwyn.

Recommendation B - Removal of Penshurst

Homes in Penshurst should be removed from Old Harlow conservation area.

Justification

11.25 Built at 3-storeys, in the form of a cul-de-sac, dwellings in Penshurst do not have the same character as the Old Harlow Conservation Area in terms of scale and layout. This was identified in the appraisal of the Park Hill character area.

11.26 These homes are found in the conservation area because the conservation area boundary was originally defined adjacent to the end of the rear gardens of 9, 15 and 17 Park Hill. Since this time, the gardens have been reduced in size and new dwellings in Penshurst have been built on this land. As a result, the whole of Penshurst is not contained within the conservation area but only numbers 1, 2, 3 and 22.

11.27 For consistency, it would be logical for the whole of Penshurst to be included in the conservation area, rather than only numbers 1, 2, 3 and 22. This would involve widening the existing conservation area boundary. However, this was not considered an appropriate measure as the homes in Penshurst were not seen to exhibit the degree of architectural and historic interest to warrant conservation area status. Consequently, the proposal is to remove numbers 1, 2, 3 and 22 Penshurst from the conservation area.

Recommendation C - Addition of buildings on London Road

Dwellings on the eastern side of Station Road north of the High Street should be added to the conservation area. This extension should comprise Darlington Court, Faircotes, Fairfield, Barclays Bank (a grade II listed building), numbers 30 and 30a Station Road and the small bungalow used as a funeral directors.

Justification

11.28 The rationale for this addition is as follows:

  • The area contains a collection of significant listed and unlisted buildings which exhibit special architectural and historic interest worthy of conservation area status.
  • These buildings are located on a important and highly visible junction which acts as gateway into the Old Harlow conservation area.
  • Conservation area designation would allow the Council to more effectively manage change in this important historic area and entry point.
  • Faircotes and Fairfield - a large gable fronted property with timber bargeboards and beams and original sash windows.
  • The small bungalow used as a funeral directors which exhibits attractive arched windows, decorative brick lintels and shutters and a long hipped roof.

PRESERVATION PROPOSALS

Current Planning Powers in the Conservation Area

11.30 The designation of a conservation area introduces some additional planning controls:

  • Conservation Area Consent is required from the Council before demolishing any building or part of a building in a conservation area.
  • Residents need to notify the Council 6 weeks in advance of works being carried out to any tree in a conservation area.
  • Where planning permission is required, the Council will try to ensure that development takes place in a way which reinforces the special character of the area.

Assessing Planning Applications in the Conservation Area

11.31 Decisions on planning applications in the conservation area are currently guided by the following national and local planning policies and planning guidance:

  • Planning Policy Statement 5: Planning for the Historic Environment (2010)
  • Harlow Adopted Replacement Local Plan (2006)
  • Harlow Common Guidelines SPD (2007)

11.32 Planning Policy Statement 5 sets out the national policy framework for making planning decisions that might impact on listed buildings and conservation areas. Harlow’s Local Plan sets out the broad development principles and design criteria expected in relation to conservation areas, listed buildings, design and shop fronts. A full list of adopted planning policies relevant to Old Harlow conservation area is included in appendix B. Harlow Common Guidelines provides detailed guidance on residential extensions in the District.

Permitted Development

11.33 There are a number of small-scale forms of householder development which do not require planning permission and can be carried out under ‘permitted development’ rights. Permitted development rights available are set out in detail in The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended) (GDPO).

Are permitted development rights restricted in a conservation area?

11.34 A conservation area designation does not automatically mean that the Council has additional powers to restrict any development which would erode the character of the conservation area. A householder in a conservation area can make modest changes to their property under permitted development rights set out in the GDPO without having first to apply for planning permission, providing the dwelling is not a listed building. This can include the replacement of windows, doors, roof coverings, the construction of small extensions, porches, vehicle driveways etc.

Article 4 Directions

11.35 Local Planning Authorities can remove certain permitted development rights by introducing an Article 4 Direction. Where an Article 4 Direction has removed certain permitted development rights, applicants must make a formal planning application to the Council and receive planning permission before carrying out development.

11.36 Article 4 Directions are normally used to control forms of permitted development affecting the front of homes in a conservation area. They can be a very effective ways of maintaining the character of a conservation area and dealing with the threat posed by unsympathetic alterations and small scale development which, under normal circumstances, can be carried out under permitted development rights.

11.37 To adopt an Article 4 Direction, local authorities must notify local people of their intention and take account of public views before deciding to confirm the direction.

11.38 In 1995, an Article 4 Direction was applied to properties in Bury Road, 1-33 (odd) New Road, 71 to 77 (odd) High Street and 11-19 (odd) Old Road. This means that householders must submit a planning application to the Council before carrying out a range of small-scale developments and alterations to the front of houses or other areas which face the highway. This includes building a front porch or front extension, making alterations to the front of houses or other areas which face the highway. This includes building a front porch or front extension, making alterations to the roof, painting the house, changing doors or windows, etc.

Current Planning Designations in the Conservation Area

11.39 Currently, there are a number of different planning designations in the Old Harlow conservation area. These are defined on the map below which illustrates:

  • The boundary of the current Old Harlow Conservation Area;
  • The boundary of the existing Article 4 area on Bury Road, New Road and eastern areas of the High Street;
  • Statutory Listed Buildings;
  • Locally Listed Buildings; and
  • The designated Neighbourhood Centre

Current planning designations
Current planning designations

Recommendation D - St Johns Avenue Article 4 Direction

An Article 4 Direction should be introduced in the St Johns Avenue Character Area. This Direction would include house numbers 7 to 37 (odd) and 4 to 30 (even) St Johns Avenue.

Proposed Article 4 Direction
Proposed Article 4 Direction

Recommendation E - Park Hill Article 4 Direction

An Article 4 Direction should be introduced in the Park Hill Character Area. This Direction would include the following properties:

  • numbers 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 Park Hill (Oddfellow’s Terrace)
  • numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 Mulberry Terrace; and
  • numbers 15 and 17 Park Hill

Proposed Article 4 Direction
Proposed Article 4 Direction

Existing Article 4 Direction
Existing Article 4 Direction

Proposed Article 4 Directions
Proposed Article 4 Directions

Recommendation F - The proposed Article 4 Directions should remove the following forms of permitted development:

Part 1 of the GPDO - Development within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse

  • The enlargement, improvement or other alteration of a dwellinghouse - where this would front a highway (Class A).
  • Any alteration to the roof of a dwellinghouse - where this would front a highway (Class C).
  • The erection or construction of a porch outside any external door of a dwellinghouse - where this would front a highway(Class D).
  • Development consisting of:
    1. the provision of any hard surface within the curtilage of the dwellinghouse - where this would front a highway; and
    2. the replacement of such a surface - where this would front a highway (Class F).
  • The installation, alteration or replacement of a chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe on a dwelling house - where this would front a highway (Class G).

Part 2 of the GPDO - Minor operations

  • The erection, construction, maintenance, improvement or alteration of a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure - where this would front a highway (Class A).
  • The painting of the exterior of any building which would be visible from the highway (Class C).

Part 40 of the GPDO - Installation of Domestic Microgeneration Equipment

  • The installation, alteration or replacement of solar PV or solar thermal equipment on either of the following:
    1. a roof slope forming the principal or side elevation of the dwellinghouse and would be visible from a highway; or
    2. a roof slope of a building within the curtilage of the dwellinghouse and would be visible from a highway.

11.40 A Plain English summary of the Direction has been provided, as the wording of the Direction has had to fit the precise description of development contained in the General Permitted Development Order (GDPO).

Plain English summary of the forms of development covered by the Direction:

  • Changes to the front of a house, including extensions, changing doors and windows.
  • Changes to any side of the roof facing a road.
  • Building any porch on any wall of the house facing a road.
  • Building or replacing an area of paving in the front garden of a homes
  • Carrying out any work to a chimney.
  • Putting up or knocking down walls, fences or gates in a front garden.
  • Painting the walls of a house which face the road.
  • Putting up or replacing solar panels on any side of the roof visible from the road.

Justification

11.41 The extension of the Article 4 Direction is proposed for the following reasons:

  • The appraisal has identified the St Johns Avenue and Park Hill character areas as having very special, homogenous characteristics which the Council would like to preserve.
  • The appraisal also highlighted the level of erosion and damage in the conservation area. Much of the damage recorded was as a result of small-scale householder development which can, under normal circumstances, be carried out without planning permission, under permitted development rights.
  • The mapping of the erosion of character in the conservation area from small-scale alterations shows that it is widespread and has the potential to cumulatively damage the special character of the conservation area.
  • The appraisal has shown that the special features and character of homes in the Park Hill and St Johns Avenue character areas are particularly susceptible to being eroded through small-scale changes carried out under permitted development - eg. the removal of original window frames and doors, the loss of front boundary fences and hedges, front porch extensions, etc (for further details refer to the character appraisals).
  • Article 4 Directions will help the Council to preserve the character of these areas by requiring householders to submit a planning application for work which is likely to affect the external appearance of a home. The planning decision making process can then ensure that changes permitted are in keeping with the historic character of the area. Suitable guidance can be provided to householders considering making changes to the front of their homes.

Positive Contribution of Buildings and the Erosion of Character

11.42 During the appraisal process the contribution of different buildings to the overall character of the conservation area was recorded and mapped. The number of negative alterations to buildings was also recorded and mapped.

11.43 This identified areas where areas of special character are present and where minor alterations have cumulatively damaged the character of the conservation area.

11.44 This data has informed where additional planning powers, under Article 4 of the GPDO, may be necessary in order to protect places identified as having a very special character and to prevent the erosion of this character.

11.45 The nature of alterations and the degree of cumulative damage to the character of the conservation area is outlined in detail in the appraisal section.

Positive contribution of buildings in the conservation area
Positive contribution of buildings in the conservation area

Does an Article 4 Direction mean I won’t be able to make changes to my home?

11.46 An Article 4 Direction does not mean that home owners cannot make changes to their property. It means that homeowners would have to make a planning application to the Council first, before carrying out certain forms of development.

11.47 In assessing planning applications, the Council would want to ensure that the changes proposed are in keeping with the character of the conservation area and that traditional features are preserved or replicated where possible.

11.48 The Article 4 does not mean that changes will not be allowed. It just means that any changes proposed would need to respect the character of the conservation area.

11.49 An Article 4 Direction would only apply to specific forms of permitted development that are out in the Direction, ie. changes affecting the external appearance of the sides of properties which face the road. It does not prevent homeowners carrying out forms of permitted development to the rear of their properties such as rear extensions which fall under permitted development.

11.50 If the only reason that planning permission is required is the Article 4 Direction, then no application fee is required.

When would an Article 4 Direction come into force?

11.51 This direction is intended to come into force on 1 May 2012. However, it would only come into force when it has been confirmed by the Council. At this stage, the Council is consulting on the proposal to hear what residents think. Residents are encouraged to comment on this matter and the Council will examine the representations made before making any final decision. Residents would be contacted to inform them of any decision having been made.

Benefits of an Article 4 Direction

11.53 An Article 4 Direction will help ensure that this special character is preserved now and for future generations. It will provide the Council with additional planning powers to ensure that development takes place in a way that reinforces the existing character of the conservation area.

11.54 The current Article 4 Direction in place in areas of Bury Road and New Road has proved an effective tool for managing potentially negative alterations in the conservation area. This has helped to stem the erosion of the character in this area and has been generally well-received by residents.

11.55 Research has shown that well-preserved conservation areas can increase the value of properties. A recent survey of estate agents by English Heritage reveals that 82% of estate agents feel that original features tend to add financial value to properties.

Recommendation G - The installation of solar panels in the existing Article 4 area

A minor amendment should be made to the existing Article 4 Direction which comprises Bury Road, 1-33 (odd) New Road, 71 to 77 (odd) High Street and 11-19 (odd) Old Road.

This amendment should remove permitted development rights for the installation, alteration or replacement of solar panels on roof slopes where they are visible from the highway.

Existing Article 4 Direction
Existing Article 4 Direction

Background

11.56 Following amendments made to the GPDO in 2008, the installation of solar panels on roof slopes in conservation areas is now permitted development. Previously this form of development was not defined as permitted development under the GPDO, however, the legislation has now been changed. As a result, solar panels can now be put up, without the need for planning permission.

11.57 Harlow Council would like to ensure that this important issue is managed in a sensitive way and that the installation, alteration or replacement of solar panels takes place in a way which is sympathetic to the special character of this area.

11.58 The following addition is suggested to the existing Article 4 Direction in this area:

Part 40 of the GDPO - Installation of Domestic Microgeneration Equipment

  • The installation, alteration or replacement of solar PV or solar thermal equipment on either of the following:
    1. a roof slope forming the principal or side elevation of the dwellinghouse and would be visible from a highway; or
    2. a roof slope of a building within the curtilage of the dwellinghouse and would be visible from a highway.

Implications

  • Residents would need to apply for planning permission and receive planning permission before installing, altering or replacing solar panels on any roof slope facing the road.
  • Residents would still have permitted development rights to install solar panels on the sides of their roofs and walls which are not visible from the road.
  • This would mean that the items covered in the Article 4 Direction are exactly the same as those in the proposed Article 4 Directions on St John’s Avenue and Park Hill.
  • The existing Article 4 Direction would be up-dated in light of changes made to the GDPO in 2008.

Justification

11.59 This amendment to the existing Article 4 is proposed for the following reasons:

  • The linear and consistent rooflines along Bury Road, New Road and the eastern end of the High Street are an important element of the area’s special character.
  • Changes to permitted development regulations in 2008 mean that solar panels could be fitted on the front of roofs in this area, without the need for planning permission.
  • This amendment is proposed in order to preserve the consistent and historic character of this area. It will allow the Council to ensure that this form of development takes place in a way which is sympathetic to the special historic character of the area.

OLD HARLOW HIGH STREET - Additional Preservation Measures to be Considered

11.60 The appraisal highlighted a number of concerns regarding the design of advertisements positioned above some of the commercial outlets along the High Street. The volume of street clutter caused by advertisement hoarding boards placed by businesses on the pedestrian walkway was also highlighted.

11.61 Whilst illuminated advertisements above shop fronts are prohibited in conservation areas, the Council has few powers to prevent many advertisements, providing they meet the criteria for permitted development set out in present legislation governing advertisement control. The legislation provides specific limits on adverts with deemed consent.

11.62 One way of the Council enjoying greater control would be through the designation of an Area of Special Control of Advertisements. This would mean that some advertisements which would normally benefit from deemed consent would need the Council’s express consent before being placed on the commercial outlets or the highway.

Area of Special Control of Advertisements

11.63 To designate an Area of Special Control of Advertisements a local planning authority should consider that an area’s scenic, historical, architectural or cultural features are so significant that a stricter degree of advertisement control is justified in order to conserve visual amenity within that area. Such areas can only be designated with the approval of the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will take account of any objections raised and will want to be sure that there is no prospect of an improvement in the quality of advertisements in an area, unless the authority is given the powers to control particular types of advertising.

11.64 The Council may consider proposing these powers in the commercial area of Old Harlow, along the High Street. However, the current strategy is to encourage the improvement and restoration of shop fronts through the Historic Buildings Grant Funding Scheme.

ENHANCEMENT PROPOSALS

11.65 The enhancement strategy focuses on reinforcing the character of the historic core of the conservation area. This area comprises the High Street, Market Street, Fore Street and the junction with Station Road.

11.66 This area contains the greatest number of listed buildings and important unlisted buildings in the conservation area, as well as some of the most important public spaces. It is also the heart of commercial and social life, so experiences the greatest level of pedestrian activity. The enhancement of this area could therefore have the biggest impact on the identity and character of the conservation area as a whole.

Historic Core Area
Historic Core Area

THE DELIVERY OF ENHANCEMENT PROPOSALS

11.67 The enhancement of the central historic core area in Old Harlow will be delivered by The Old Harlow Area Partnership Scheme. The main mechanism for driving forward the enhancement of this area is through a Historic Building Grants Scheme.

Old Harlow Area Partnership Scheme

11.68 The Old Harlow Partnership Scheme is a 5 year grant programme for the preservation and enhancement of buildings in the conservation area. It draws together Harlow District Council, Essex County Council, English Heritage, and, at present, Harlow Renaissance.

Historic Building Grants Scheme

11.69 The Historic Building Grants Scheme is administered by The Old Harlow Area Partnership Scheme. In the scheme, grants are made available to the owners of properties in the area to encourage the refurbishment and restoration of historic buildings. To be eligible for grant funding, a building must have been identified as being in need of restoration work. The aim is to reinforce the historic character of the area.

11.70 Grants are available for building projects that will significantly improve the character of the building and the surrounding townscape. Eligible works are:

  • Structural repairs and the repair of the external part of the building, e.g., brick walls, re-pointing, plaster repair, windows, doors, boundary walls/railings, roofs, dormers, chimney stacks and rainwater goods and associated decoration. Repainting alone is not eligible.
  • Reinstatement of traditional architectural details (e.g. shopfronts, sash windows, and railings).

What level of grant is available?

11.71 Grants may be considered at up to 75% of eligible costs. All grants are discretionary and subject to the availability of finance.

How long are grants available for?

11.72 The Old Harlow Partnership Scheme will operate from April 2010 to March 2015. Grant offers will be made during the first three years of the scheme only, i.e., until March 2013. The final two years are for the completion of projects only. Property owners are therefore encouraged to submit grant funding applications as soon as possible before grants are allocated and the scheme expires.

Phasing of enhancements proposals

11.73 Under the Old Harlow Partnership Scheme, enhancement measures in the historic core area have been phased, with the first round of grant funding earmarked for the High Street area and certain properties on the junction with Station Road. This area was seen to be most in need of attention due to the number of poorly designed shop fronts and the maintenance issues affecting the Gibberd Blocks. The second priority area comprises the western area of the historic core and includes the buildings on Fore Street and Market Street.

Phasing of enhancement proposals
Phasing of enhancement proposals

Stage One - Central Area Enhancements

Priorities

11.74 The enhancement strategy for the central High Street area consists of following measures:

  1. Shop front restoration.
  2. 2. The refurbishment of the residential New Town buildings (the Gibberd Blocks) at the far eastern end of the High Street - numbers 50 to 62 (evens) and 57 to 69 (odds).
  3. 3. Repairing the exterior and internal structure of listed and unlisted historic buildings which are in need of restoration.

11.75 It should be noted that the enhancements proposed will only be carried out where they have the consent of property owners and sufficient funding is available for the works required.

Buildings eligible for grants
Buildings eligible for grants

1.) Shop front Restoration

11.76 A number of poorly designed modern shop front facades and shutters negatively affect the character of the High Street. The historic character of the High Street can be reinforced by replacing poorly designed shop fronts with ones which are more in keeping with the character of traditional shop fronts found in the area.

Traditional elements of shop front design
Traditional elements of shop front design

2.) The refurbishment of the Gibberd Blocks

11.77 The Gibberd Blocks have a significant architectural and historic presence on the High Street but are currently dilapidated. The restoration of these buildings should be considered a priority. Enhancement measures could include the re-instatement of original timber window frames as well as repairs to the roof and repainting and rendering the building. This ambition will be pursued through the Old Harlow Area Partnership Scheme. However, at present, the work required on this building has not been costed and sufficient funding will need to be available. Home owners and leaseholders will also need to be consulted on any proposals.

3.) The Refurbishment of the listed and historic conservation area buildings

11.78 A number of listed and unlisted historic buildings are in need of refurbishment and repair. Their refurbishment will have maximum impact in terms of reinforcing the character and attractiveness of the area.

11.79 Enhancement measures will be targeted at buildings where there is a demonstrable deterioration in terms of the external facades and the internal structure. Repair would only be permitted where existing historic design, detail and materials would be replicated. All repairs would need to be carried out in accordance with Essex County Council conservation guidance and would require approval of Essex Country Council’s Historic Buildings Advisor.

Stage Two - West Area Enhancements

11.80 The second stage of enhancements will focus on the western area of the historic core. This area comprises Market Street and Fore Street. The priority of this phase will also be to put into sound repair the exterior and internal structure of buildings which make a positive contribution to the conservation area. An important focus will be on reinstating original features where these have been replaced.

11.81 Further information on grant funding applications can be obtained from:

Paul Skeet
Old Harlow Partnership Scheme Project Officer
Built Environment
Essex County Council
County Hall
Chelmsford
Essex.
CM1 1QH
E-mail: paul.skeet@essex.gov.uk

LONG-TERM ASPIRATIONS

11.82 In addition to the 5-year Historic Building Grants Scheme, the Conservation Area Appraisal has identified a number of long-term issues which could be addressed in the conservation area.

11.83 It should be noted that funding has not been secured for these enhancements and that they represent long-term aspirations. The issues and recommendations contained in this section will form part of the evidence base upon which detailed policies to be contained in the Council’s forthcoming Local Development Framework (LDF) documents could be based.

11.84 Potential long-term enhancements in the conservation area include:

  • the enhancement of the public realm at parking areas found between Market Street and Fore Street;
  • the maintenance of the pavement on Fore Street and Market Street;
  • enhancing the pedestrian crossing on London Road between Fore Street and the High Street;
  • de-cluttering of the public realm, particularly at the junctions of Fore Street, Market Street and High Street;
  • enhancing car parking areas to the rear of the High Street with soft landscaping; and
  • improving connectivity between the High Street and the bus stop.

Street clutter and signage

11.85 The volume of street clutter found on Fore Street, Market Street, High Street and London Road was identified in the appraisal as negatively affecting the setting of a number of listed buildings. It also diminishes the intimate and historic character of the spaces found between buildings. This is particularly the case around the Gables and The George and at the entrance to the High Street. The removal of unnecessary clutter could significantly enhance the public realm in this area, although any measures would need to be agreed with the Highway Authority, Essex County Council.

Severance at London Road

11.86 Enhancement measures could be focussed on improving pedestrian connectivity and movement at the pedestrian crossing point at Station Road which links the High Street and Fore Street. Traffic calming measures at the existing crossing could be improved through the introduction of pedestrian priority measures, such as a raised level crossing.

Car Parking Areas

11.87 Car parks between Market Street and Fore Street could be reconfigured in order to enhance the character of the area. Soft landscaping could be used to reduce the dominating impact of parked cars and concrete paving.

Locally Listed Buildings

11.88 Locally Listed Buildings, whilst not statutorily protected by the Secretary of State, as is the case of Grade I, II and II* Listed Buildings, are felt to be an important part of Harlow’s heritage due to their architectural, historic or archaeological significance. Locally Listed Buildings are irreplaceable local assets which contribute to our understanding of both the present and past. Their presence Adds to the quality of the local environment and helps to generate local character and a sense of distinctiveness.

11.89 Harlow’s local list was compiled some time ago. The Conservation Area Appraisal has provided the opportunity to re-appraise unlisted buildings in Old Harlow and assess whether any additional buildings should be added to the local list.

Locally Listed Buildings in Old Harlow

11.90 The following buildings in the conservation area are currently locally listed:

  • 75,77,70 High Street
  • 2 London Road
  • 1 Green Man Cottage, Mulberry Green
  • 82 High Street - Fire Engine Station, Mulberry Green
  • Mulberry Cottage - 37 Mulberry Green
  • 39 Mulberry Green
  • Little Mulberry Cottage - 35 Mulberry Green
  • 101 High Street, Methodist Church converted to apartments

Proposed additions to Harlow’s Local List

11.91 The following buildings are recommended to be added to Harlow’s local list because of their special character:

  • Victoria Hall, Bury Road
  • Number 9 Watlington Road
  • 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 Mulberry Terrace
  • Oddfellow’s Terrace (6, 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 Park Hill )
  • 4 to 30 (evens) St Johns Avenue
  • Kimberly Terrace, Bury Road (53-75 Bury Road)
  • 37 and 39 Bury Road
  • The Chestnuts, 1 New Road

4 to 30 (evens) St Johns Avenue
4 to 30 (evens) St Johns Avenue

What the effect is of a property being added to the Local List?

11.92 Locally listed buildings are subject to normal planning controls and it is not necessary to obtain any additional special permission from the local planning authority before carrying out work. The purpose of the list is simply to highlight certain buildings to ensure that their special interest is taken fully into account in decisions affecting their future.

11.93 However, the locally listed status of the building will be a consideration when applications for planning permission are being considered which will impact on a building. The Council needs to be satisfied that the architectural or historic interest of the property is conserved. Where planning permission is required, work carried out should preserve or enhance the building. Any features of architectural or historic interest should be retained and appropriate materials used.

11.94 Demolition of a locally listed building in a conservation area will require prior Conservation Area Consent, as is the case with all buildings in a conservation area.

The criteria used to add buildings to the Local List?

11.95 Buildings of local architectural value and historic significance that are not statutory Listed Buildings are included on the local list. They are either unique, or typical of the traditional buildings in the area. Their detailing and decoration, their use of materials, and their setting are often reasons for local listing.

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