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Chairman's Column - 20 July 2021

Published on Tuesday, 20th July 2021

Conservation and Heritage

“Maldon District contains a particularly rich, diverse and distinctive collection of heritage assets. It has 1032 listed buildings, numerous conservation areas, scheduled monuments, a registered battlefield, a registered park, and many more 'undesignated heritage assets'.

“Historic buildings in the District range from the 7th-century Chapel of St Peter in Bradwell-on-Sea,  one of the oldest standing churches in England, to Stow Maries Aerodrome, the country’s best-preserved Royal Flying Corps aerodrome from the First World War.

“We have established an excellent reputation for proactive ways to manage, promote and celebrate our heritage. Since 1983 the District Council has coordinated an annual Conservation and Design Awards scheme which applauds and promotes exemplary work in the historic environment, and details of all previous winners are available on our website.

“The Council has hosted a series of free to the public and hugely popular Heritage Winter Talks each year since 2002 focusing on aspects of local heritage or history, so keep a look out for this year’s lectures!

“Conservation areas were first introduced in 1967 because the existing statutory protection for individual buildings was failing to protect the overall character of our cities, towns and villages.

“We have fourteen conservation areas in our District! They vary greatly in character and appearance and include urban, rural and natural landscapes. Conservation areas are often centred on listed buildings, open spaces or historic streetscapes and landscapes but the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 defines a conservation area as: 'an area of special architectural interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance'.

“It is the character of the area as a whole, rather than individual buildings, that the conservation area seeks to preserve or enhance so all trees in conservation areas are protected from unnecessary felling or lopping by the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 and if a tree in a conservation area is also protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), the usual TPO protection applies. If a tree is not protected by a TPO, but is in a conservation area, the owner must apply to carry out works giving written notice of at least six weeks before any work starts.

“This applies to all trees in a conservation area unless they measure less than 7.5cm in diameter, measured at 1.5m from ground level; in the case of trees that have more than one stem, then if any stem meets the above criteria it applies. To manage the District's conservation and heritage in accordance with legislation and policy, MDC provides expert advice and support to listed building owners on repair and alteration, advice on applications for listed building consent, advice on planning applications for development which affects conservation areas and the setting of listed buildings.

“The Council will also take enforcement action, including prosecution, against owners who cause harm to designated heritage assets by ignoring the protection that is in place. You will often see a written comment from The Conservation Officer in many planning applications and this is to help the Maldon District to progress and move forwards without endangering our history and heritage.

“Until next time - I hope you are all enjoying the summer. Take care.”


Councillor Mark Heard's Signature

Councillor Mark S. Heard

Chairman of Maldon District Council