|In May 2010 Newcastle City Council adopted a strategy containing a series of city-wide proposals designed to begin to tackle the management of the city’s conservation areas on a more pro-active basis. Since then the council has had a dedicated Historic Environment Officer working on a series of projects designed to manage change effectively in the historic environment.|
Newcastle currently contains 12 conservation areas, which vary considerably in size and character. The issues that arise and the possible management approaches in each area are, therefore, also varied, but none are classed as being ‘at risk’. The council has, since 2004, produced and adopted Character Appraisals and Management Plans for each conservation area, and until the start date of the strategy the implementation of the management plans had been largely limited to reactive management through the planning system.
The framework of the strategy is outlined below, along with some practical examples of work that has been undertaken in the past year. The strategy initially considers how the management of the city’s conservation areas was previously approached and how it could be improved.
Recently produced summary guides to Newcastle’s conservation areas contain a brief introduction to the areas, maps indicating all relevant heritage designations, and basic householder guidance.
It then sets out a seven-year draft work programme, based almost exclusively on one officer post. To date, year one (and all of the objectives set for this first year) has been successfully completed.
A key theme of the strategy is that conservation area management does not mean the prevention of change, or the stifling of appropriate development. The key to successful management of the historic environment is the management of change, ensuring the preservation and enhancement of the special character of the area.
The strategy contains the following vision statements, from which the subsequent objectives and projects were built.
In order to be effective and successful, conservation area management will be:
|The Black Gate, with St. Nicholas Cathedral to the rear, in the Central Conservation Area. This area is in Newcastle city centre, and is currently the subject of the Old Newcastle Project.|
The projects (which vary greatly in size and scope) can be grouped into the following themes: documentation and designations; plan implementation and monitoring; internal (council) partnership working; and public awareness.
In the first year of the implementation of the program, a number of achievements have been made including:
All guidance documents, character statements and management plans, conservation area summaries and other relevant information can be accessed by the public at www.newcastle.gov.uk/hes