Conservation area character appraisals

Draft Hurworth conservation area character appraisal

Consultation on a draft Character Appraisal for Hurworth Conservation Area will take place in late 2019 / early 2020.

What is a Conservation Area Character Appraisal?

A process of change within a Conservation Area is inevitable and the purpose of a Conservation Area character appraisal is to define as clearly as possible the historic (and by implication, archaeological), architectural and natural components of the conservation area that are considered especially important and contribute most to the area's character.

Factors to Consider

The principal aims of character appraisals are to define:

  • What influences have given the conservation area its particular character;
  • What chiefly reflects this character and what is most worth conserving;
  • What has suffered damage or loss and may need reinstating;
  • Areas that may be improved by redevelopment.

Conservation Area designation is the main instrument available to local authorities to give effect to conservation policies for a particular neighbourhood or area. Designation introduces a general control over the demolition of unlisted buildings and provides the basis for policies designed to preserve or enhance all the aspects of character or appearance that define an area's special interest.

It is the quality and interest of areas, rather than that of individual buildings, which should be the prime consideration in identifying conservation areas. Our experience of historic areas depends on much more than the quality of individual buildings – on the historic layout of property boundaries and thoroughfares; on a particular mix of uses; on characteristic local materials; on appropriate scaling and detailing of contemporary buildings; on the quality of advertisements, shop fronts, street furniture and hard and soft surfaces; on vistas along streets and between buildings; and on the extent to which traffic intrudes and limits pedestrian use of spaces between buildings. Conservation area designation is seen as the means of recognising the importance of all these factors and of ensuring that conservation policy addresses the quality of townscape in its broadest sense as well as protecting individual buildings.

Character Appraisals are intended to recognise the conservation area’s special historic, archaeological and architectural interest through maps, photographs and analysis of the area’s development.

Adopted Appraisals

Appraisals have already been carried out for the following Conservation Areas:

Future Appraisals

Appraisals will be carried out for each Conservation Area in turn and relevant documents will be made available to view or download when ready. Meanwhile, some information on un-appraised areas is available below.

The following documents contain the original reasons un-appraised Conservation Areas were designated during the late 1960s and 1970s; where boundaries have been extended, there are Committee Reports explaining how and why. This is not to say there has been no change in the Conservation Areas since designation, but they are a starting point in assessing their significance because they highlight why these areas were considered worthy of Conservation Area designation. There is a programme of appraising these remaining Conservation Areas so when Appraisals appear on this page, these documents will be removed. These documents are intended to guide applicants and agents producing Design and Access Statements with the new NPPF requirement for assessing the significance of heritage assets. For clarity, as per NPPF, where change is proposed to an unlisted building in a Conservation Area, it is the Conservation Area that is the heritage asset, not the building itself:

Contacts and Advice

Further information on Conservation Area Character Appraisals is available from:

Historic England, Advice Note 1 [external link]

Darlington Borough Council Historic Assets Officer, email: [email protected]

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