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South Leigh and High Cogges Conservation Area bid Residents’ Information Note

From: The Steering Committee (Gary Nicholls and Dick Pears)
To: All Parish residents

From: The Steering Committee (Gary Nicholls and Dick Pears)

To: All Parish residents

This note follows the generally positive response from the Parish Council and Residents at a meeting on 29th January 2020 regarding an investigation into the pros and cons of a Conservation Area. Since then we have looked into the matter carefully and work continues. We are also in contact with a professional heritage consultant, we have ascertained costs and available grants and we have liaised with other useful and knowledgeable organisations. To keep the community fully informed, here is our next briefing note where we address some of the key questions

Gary and Dick (September 2020)

Q: How would a Conservation Area affect us in South Leigh and High Cogges?

Conservation areas exist to protect the special architectural and historic interest of a place. This includes the countryside as well as the historic layout of roads, paths and boundaries, the use of building materials, public and private spaces, and trees and street furniture. In other words, it helps preserve all the features that make South Leigh and High Cogges unique and distinctive, and why we love living here. It would further support our Neighbourhood Plan.

There are 51 such areas in West Oxfordshire District and some 10,000 in Britain.

Of course, there are pros and cons...

In our considered opinion, the feeling of 'community' and 'place' and the sheer pleasure of our surroundings and knowing that they will be preserved far outweigh the limitations that come with a conservation area. And research shows that your property will almost certainly increase in value, and increase faster than average.

Q: Who else says so?

Rosalind Chislet, an architectural historian who studies the topic across the country, explains: "People should not be put off at all. There are definitely more pros than cons, including the fact that it protects the value of your property because it not only protects the building, it protects the surroundings too, including the trees."

"You're also buying peace of mind that your surroundings will stay that way. You won't wake up and find next door pebble dashed, or a phone mast at the bottom of your garden. Even widening the road can't happen."

An average 9% increase in your property value

Research by Historic England and the London School of Economics and Political Science showed that property prices in conservation areas are thought to be 9% above average. They also grow in value at 0.2% p.a. faster than comparable properties elsewhere. Three quarters of estate agents agree.

Q: What are the cons?

At the public meeting on 29th January 2020, some concerns were expressed about certain restrictions that come with the privilege. Here we address them:

Residential development - Preservation and enhancement:
This is mainly carried out through closer management of the development process - through good design, maintenance and managed change. Thus, Planning applications for development must demonstrate how the proposals would preserve or enhance the character of the area. Here are some examples that may require Planning Permission that, currently, would not:

  • Extensions to the side of a property
  • Two-storey extensions to the rear of a property
  • External cladding of a property
  • Alterations to roofs for the enlargement of a property
  • Windows and doors, in some limited circumstances
  • Satellite dishes, antennae, chimneys, flues and other elements added to, and protruding from walls or roof slopes fronting the highway or forming the main or side elevation
  • The erection of some additional structures within the grounds of a property
Biodiversity: Protected species and habitats need to be addressed in planning.
Trees: Special attention is paid to trees and, for example, owners planning to lop, top or fell a tree are required to give notice.
Restrictions on outdoor advertisements: Certain categories of advertisements are restricted.
Demolitions: An additional application will usually be needed for volumes exceeding 115 cu3.
New development: This is managed to ensure that the natural process of renewal and change preserves and enhances the best of the past but allows for sympathetic new development.
Repairs and maintenance: Owners of buildings are encouraged to repair and maintain their properties without loss or damage to their character or integrity.
Designation or alteration of conservation areas: Consultation is an important part of the designation process. Local opinion is sought prior to the designation or alteration of conservation areas.

Extracts from the London School of Economics and Political Science research, May 2012

Q: What aspects of living in a conservation area are most and least valued by residents?

  • All of our case study areas… expressed strong values attached to a green, peaceful, residential environment.

Q: Do residents have negative attitudes regarding the increased level of restrictions placed on their ability to alter their properties?

  • We find that, overall, there is no universal negative attitude toward planning regulation.
  • Those home owners who had applied for permission were generally more likely to have positive attitudes toward planning controls than those who had not applied. This suggests that experience with planning is, by and large, positive.

Q: What will it cost and who will pay?

There will be some costs, principally professional advice. We propose to raise the money through a mixture of grants, contributions and other sources. We envisage needing a maximum of £5,000.

NEXT STEPS: Please check the links below and watch out for further communications from us. Everyone’s opinions will be sought and, if positive, we propose to make a recommendation to the Parish Council at its next meeting on 27th October 2020. Please do not hesitate to contact us:

07920 771897
 07850 175729

Gary:    07920 771897
Dick:    07850 175729

Gary:    07920 771897

Dick:    07850 175729

More useful information

We urge every resident to familiarise themselves further with Conservation Areas, the pros and the cons. Here is some relevant information from our District Council and Historic England:

Paper from the 29th January 2020 meeting, South Leigh Village Hall chaired by Amanda Howard - A discussion on the pros and cons for a Conservation Area:

  • Protection from developments
  • Supports the Neighbourhood Plan
  • Protecting the countryside
  • Protecting development
  • Good for nature conservation
  • Enhance the value of property
  • Ensure properties are in in keeping with character of the area
  • Planning needs a stronger case
  • Protect ancient fields and hedgerows
  • Protection for larger trees
  • Control over lighting, i.e. floodlights
  • No satellite dishes on front of properties
  • Encourage biodiversity
  • Power to maintain unoccupied buildings
  • Loss of development rights
  • Extra level of permissions to maintain area
  • Additional permissions for ongoing tree works
  • Possibly more difficult to sell property
  • Limits needed housing development
  • Planning permission need stronger case
  • Permission needed for demolition over 115 cubic metres
  • Need to apply for removal of a front facing hedge
  • Potential to skew development on owner's property, i.e. if front not accepted then rear build
  • Limited farmers' extended development rights