Rushcliffe Borough Council asks 30 communities to with conservation area review
Thirty communities in Rushcliffe classed as conservation areas are to be asked for help by the borough council in determining how to protect their towns and villages.
Rushcliffe Borough Council plans to review all conservation areas in its patch, 11 years after a previous review took place.
Conservation areas protect places from over-development through planning guidance.
The rules associated with them aim to protect the heritage and character of rural or historic communities.
In Rushcliffe, protected communities include Aslockton, Bingham, Bradmore, Bunny, Car Colston, Colston Bassett, Costock, Cropwell Butler, East Bridgford, East Leake, Edwalton, Flintham, Granby, Hawksworth, Hickling, Keyworth, Kneeton, Langar, Normanton on the Wolds, Orston, Ruddington, Scarrington, Sutton Bonington, Thoroton, Thrumpton, Upper Broughton, Upper Saxondale, West Leake, Whatton in the Vale, and Wysall.
The 30 communities currently also have extra protections against applications including the removal of trees, the demolition or part-demolition of buildings, house extensions, cladding, outbuildings, satellite dishes, chimneys and pipes.
Now the authority plans to conduct a follow-up review to assess if any changes are needed, with community leaders in each neighbourhood to be asked to have their say.
It comes as the council says its own department does not have the full capacity to undertake the wide-reaching review without the help of local groups.
The Conservative-led council says staffing numbers in the department are lower than when the previous review took place between 2008 and 2011, despite recently creating a three-year post to get the review under way.
The authority adds it will therefore contact leading community groups, parish councils and borough councillors to find the right people in each of the 30 areas who can contribute to any potential changes.
These community leaders would then hold locally-led reviews into their conservation areas to assess whether boundaries should change and to give residents “ownership of the results”.
The review will be discussed by the authority’s growth and development scrutiny group on today (Wednesday).
In a report, James Bate, the council’s principal planning officer, said: “It is anticipated that most larger communities will have community groups interested in taking a community-led approach, with sufficient members to create the time necessary for this approach to work.
“It is also recognised that some of the smaller conservation areas, including many that do not have representative groups like parish councils, may lack established groups with enough interested persons to take this approach.
“The council will offer a more top-down approach in smaller communities where residents are not able to take on parts of the task of review themselves.
“It will not be possible to undertake a review of all conservation areas
simultaneously, even if most were community-led, as the capacity to provide the needed support and guidance will not exist.
“As such, councillors may be in a position to pre-empt review of their areas by laying the groundwork and identifying local groups or volunteers.
“Otherwise, [they may be] able to confirm no such group exists and that a top-down approach will be needed in their areas.”
The authority says the creation of a new project officer for the conservation area review, which will run for three years and was filled on July 4, will cost £39,000 per year.
A full timescale for the wider review, which is expected to take three years to complete, has not been revealed.