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Conservation Areas

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conservation area

General

A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which the council aims to preserve or enhance.

The definition— ‘An area of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.’ (Section 69 of the Town and Country Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

The Civic Amenities Act of 1967 first introduced conservation areas into British Legislation. Swale Borough Council designates conservation areas within Swale and has a duty to carry out a review from time to time to ascertain whether further designations are deemed to be appropriate.
There are currently 49 conservation areas in Swale, many of which were designated more than twenty years ago.

Planning applications in conservation areas are subject to more regulations than a standard application, and concern issues such as:

Demolition

With a few minor exceptions, no building or part of a building can be demolished or removed without conservation area consent from the council. When carrying out works to a building in a conservation area its repair or alteration should not involve the removal of parts of the building such as chimney stacks, decorative mouldings, cast iron balconies and boundary walls, without this specific consent.

Trees

Generally, no work may be carried out on trees, such as lopping or felling, without first obtaining consent from the council.

Design

The council may require more detail in planning applications and will examine them more carefully to make sure the bulk materials, design and colours of the proposal are sympathetic to the area. This not only includes new buildings but also extensions and new shopfronts.

Signs

Consent is required to display an illuminated advertisement and some non-illuminated advertisements depending on their size and siting.

Minor Alterations

The following are some examples of minor alterations to houses in conservation areas, which will need consent from the council.

  1. dormer windows
  2. cladding the exterior walls of a house
  3. the installation of satellite antennae depending on size and location
  4. the erection of extensions and other free standing
    buildings depending on their size and location.

Any alterations to buildings, other than single private houses, that affect their external appearance require planning permission from the council.

The objective of these measures is to provide for the preservation and enhancement of the special interest of the place. The intention is not to stifle change, but to provide for the positive management of these unique areas.

conservation area

Faversham Conservation Area

The conservation area at Faversham was first designated in 1971. Extensions to it were subsequently made in 1976 (with further minor modifications in 1977), and then further substantial extensions were designated in 1991.

Although it is the medieval core that remains the very special feature of Faversham, the conservation area now embraces areas of 19th century development, and also some smaller pockets of 20th century development.
A conservation area is 'an area of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance'.
The crucial feature of a conservation area is that it is the character of the area - rather than individual buildings - which is the focus of attention, and which planning policy aims to preserve and enhance.

NB Faversham Conservation Area is subject to further requirements under an Article 4 (2) Direction, of which details are available from Swale Council's Planning Office.

conservation area

History and Architecture of Faversham

Faversham is a market town of Saxon or earlier origin; the 6th and 7th centuries Kings Field cemetery has proved to be one of the richest uncovered in Kent.

The settlement then was centred on what is now Tanners Street and West Street. Following the Norman Conquest Faversham grew to become a busy port and market town, and during the 11th cenyury it joined the Cinque Ports confederation.
When St Saviour's Abbey was founded in 1147 a further expansion of the town to the north-east was prompted. The port at Faversham grew and prospered in post-medieval times, along with other industries such as brewing, gunpowder making, and boat building.

During the 17th century large quantities of agricultural and horticultural produce were shipped out through the port along Faversham creek and on to London.
The railway arrived in the town in 1858 and further boosted the town's prosperity; by the end of the 19th century the creek was ringed with a patchwork of grain mills, gas works, barge building yards, cement works, timber yards and other activities.
During the 20th century, however, water-borne traffic using the creek declined, at first slowly but then rapidly, so that now the creek is a relatively quiet place where most of the creek-side uses have little direct connection with the water.

Faversham is famed for its assembly of medieval buildings; most are timber-framed although the original structures are often hidden behind later re-fronts. Abbey Street is a nationally renowned example of an almost exclusively pre-19th century street.
However, the special architectural and/or historic interest of Faversham extends well beyond this medieval core, and includes for example the town's railway heritage, the creekside survivals (notably at Standard Quay), the remains of the gunpowder industry, and the extensive areas of 19th century housing.

A draft conservation area character appraisal of Faversham describes, in general terms, the special architectural and/or historical interest of the place, and can be viewed at Faversham library; at the Swale Borough Council offices in Preston Street, Faversham; at Swale House in Sittingbourne.

conservation area

Ospringe Conservation Area

The conservation at Ospringe was designated in 1982. It is centred on Ospringe Street and Water Lane
Ospringe is situated on the southern edge of Faversham.

It consists of linear development running east-west along Ospringe Street, and a line of more informally structured development running north-south along Water Lane on the line of a shallow chalk valley.

The outward spread of development from Faversham has now caused Ospringe to become joined to its larger neighbour but its very separate historical development means that the smaller settlement still retains its own strongly distinctive character.
In Roman times a posting station (Durolevum) was situated a short distance to the west of present day Ospringe, close to Judd Hill on Watling Street.

In medieval times the road through Ospringe was again of great strategic importance as the connection between London and Canterbury; and after 1170 it was much used by pilgrims journeying to the Shrine of St Thomas a Becket. In 1234 King Henry III founded a hospital at Ospringe to care for the sick, the aged, travellers and pilgrims. Known from its earliest days as Maison Dieu, the 13th century  remnants of hospital buildings (perhaps housing the chantry priests) still survive on either side of Water Lane. In past times a nailbourne ran north along the Ospringe valley with water flowing north along the Water Lane carriageway from the corner of Mutton Lane.
By the end of the 20th century, however, the stream had dried up and the old red brick bridge in Vicarage Lane over the dry stream bed is now a ghostly reminder of the once picturesque watercourse.

Development along Ospringe Street today consists largely of 18th century and 19th century brick-built town houses and cottages, although in amongst them are a number of older survivals (including the Maison Dieu and a number of other timber framed buildings) which record the earlier origins of the place.
These traditional buildings are arranged rather tightly along the snaking linear form of the main road; in the view from the hill to the east the jumbled peg-tiled roofs, brick chimney stacks and clay chimney pots are a defining feature of the place. Also prominent in this view is the undeviating Roman alignment of the road as it climbs up towards Judd Hill and its sweep of parkland trees.

Until recently there was a good scattering of shops and public houses along Ospringe Street. Today however, the place is almost entirely residential in character, and the only public house to remain trading is the 18th century Ship Inn; it's small bar fronts, vertical tile hanging and colourful clay tiled roof are characteristically Kentish in appearance. Its continuing use as a public house is an important reminder that Ospringe Street was once a place of inns and overnight stops for travellers journeying to and from London (and beyond); its presence might therefore be described as a crucial part of the historical character of the Ospringe environment.
The sole surviving shop in Ospringe Street is still home to a traditional butcher’s business.

Development along Water Lane is, by contrast, more informally structured and towards the southern end of the lane it becomes quite scattered so the countryside becomes an important part of the street scene. The western side of the lane is marked by scattered groups of cottages, although the intervening gaps have now been infilled with later development. These cottages mostly date from the 19th century but there are some older timber-framed houses in amongst them, and also the yellow brick village school built in 1851.

To the south of Mutton Lane fields break through into the road frontage. Queen Court (once the property of successive Queens of England) is a large working farm complex with modern buildings now set alongside the 15th century wealden farmhouse; two large timber-framed barns also survive. Just beyond is the flint and ragstone Ospringe church and the timber-framed (former) vicarage; these two buildings round off the southern end of the settlement.

Water Lane embraces a change from urban to rural character; this transition is a defining feature of the lane and the entwining of the countryside with development towards its southern end is especially striking. Mutton and Vicarage Lanes, both narrow and rural in character, strike off Water Lane to the east and climb the slope on the eastern side of the nailbourne valley where woodland edges help to define the limits of the valley.

conservation area

Preston Next Faversham Conservation area

The conservation area of Preston Next Faversham was designated in 1976.

Preston Next Faversham comprises a small cluster of buildings lying astride the A2 London-Canterbury road (the old Roman Watling Street); it is situated immediately west of the junction with Salters Lane.

Notwithstanding the great age of the highway the oldest buildings now present here date from the 18th century. The historical focus of Preston Next Faversham is the attractive group of buildings situated on the north side of Canterbury Road, built in the Kentish vernacular and dating from the 18th  and 19th centuries.

The Windmill public house lies at the heart of the group, a reminder of the important role played by wayside inns in providing refuge and hospitality to passing travellers (here making their way along the London-Canterbury road). Alongside to the west is a row of red brick cottages built circa 1845, their roofs covered like the public house with attractive Kent peg tiles. Ivy Cottages are tucked away a few steps down the Preston Lane footpath; dating from the second half of the C19 their cottage-like character remains largely intact despite some alterations.

Close by are the rather more modest Pile Cottages, which were also built in the second half of the 19th century. The north-eastern edge of the hamlet adjoins an overgrown chalk pit where lime kilns are said to have been active until the early 1920s. The regeneration of trees and shrubs, especially sycamore, for the moment has substantially screened the excavation from the Canterbury Road, although housing development is scheduled to take place soon on the site.

A thatched, single storey cottage built in the 18th century (and later extended) stands at the entrance to the old quarry; the presence of the thatched roof covering is rather unusual in an area where the use of clay tiles has been almost universally preferred. Development on the south side of Canterbury Road is, by contrast, largely comprised of late 19th century terraces set parallel with the road, and which result from a later round of building activity. In recent years, however, the appearance of these terraced houses has been somewhat compromised by the loss of original windows and doors, by the rendering or painting of original stock brickwork, and by the substitution of Welsh roofing slates with concrete tiles.

In addition, Westwood Place, a small development of detached dwellings built in the 1980s, is now positioned in the midst of these terraces, resulting in a rather uncompromising juxtaposition of 19th and 20th centuries development forms. A single-storey, brick built forge lies at the western end of the terraces, alongside the entrance to a highway depot. Mill House, a mid-19th century stuccoed house of classical appearance but now much extended, lies a short distance along Salters Lane (which runs south from Canterbury Road); alongside is Mill Cottage, an early Victorian house with more recently rebuilt extensions.

A weatherboarded smock mill stood here until 1933, although it was by then derelict; its presence now lives on only in the house names. On the other side of the lane Faversham football ground is largely screened from view behind a roadside margin of mixed deciduous and coniferous trees.

Canterbury Road is a heavily trafficked route, and the volume and nature of this traffic inevitably affects the quality of the environment through Preston. Newly engineered edges to Canterbury Road (to enable access into the new residential developments) have altered the traditional alignment of the old road, so that it has acquired a more modern appearance. Despite the changes that have taken place around the northern edge of Preston an important historic grouping of buildings still survives here, especially on the north side of Canterbury Road but also along Salters Lane too. This cluster of development survives as a distinctly recognisable entity and forms part of the sequence of historic settlements set out along the London - Canterbury road. It is, therefore, the valuable record of an earlier pattern of development and a place of special architectural and historic development.

Further information

Peter Bell
Swale Conservation Officer
Swale Borough Council
 01795 417375
 peterbell@swale.gov.uk