The Executive Director of Neighbourhoods and Communities submitted a report that sought approval for the designation of Albert Park and Linthorpe Road Conservation Area following the consideration of the outcomes of public consultation.
Conservation areas were designated for their special architectural and historic interest. The majority of Middlesbroughs conservation areas were designated in the 1970s, the only recent addition being Marton and The Grove designated in 2008. Continuing this commitment to the conservation of the historic environment, an eighth Conservation Area was proposed for designation, centred on Albert Park, and including part of Linthorpe Road, approximately 1.5km south of the Town Centre. The proposed boundary for the new Conservation Area was shown in Appendix 2 of the report and was to be named 'Albert Park and Linthorpe Road Conservation Area'.
The area in and around Albert Park had particular significance in the town. The Park itself was built on land donated to the town by Middlesbroughs first Mayor and ironmaster Henry Bolckow, and had recently been restored with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The area had distinctive character, and some of the key attributes were:
a. Albert Park itself;
b. The Dorman Museum;
c. The Cenotaph;
e. Ayresome Gardens; and;
f. Victorian shop units on Linthorpe Road.
If an Article 4 Direction was introduced it would increase the Councils capacity to conserve and enhance the character of the Conservation Area. An Article 4 Direction removed certain permitted development rights, for example the right to demolish a garden wall or replace a front garden with a hard surface without planning permission. An Article 4 Direction would mean that planning permission would be required for certain work, which would previously be permitted, giving the Council an opportunity to conserve the character and appearance of a conservation area. A planning application under an Article 4 Direction was exempt from fees for applicants. Further information on the proposed Article 4 Direction was provided in paragraph 16 of the report.
The report outlined in detail further information on:
Article 4 Directions; and
Conservation Area Character and Historic Interest.
The next steps following approval would be the following necessary actions:
a. residents and consultation respondents to be informed of the outcome;
b. the final Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan would be published online and copies made available within the Members Resource Room, Central Library, and the Dorman Museum;
c. the Statutory consultees would be informed, including English Heritage and the Secretary of State;
d. an advertisement would be placed in the London Gazette and the Evening Gazette, and the boundary and Article 4 Direction would be listed as a Land Charge; and,
e. The Article 4 Direction would be introduced.
The report outlined that there were three options available, with Option C being the preferred option:
Option A - decide not to designate a new Conservation Area. This may put heritage at risk, through the further erosion of the character of the area, eventually resulting in the loss of the architectural and historic interest of this important part of Middlesbrough. The opportunity to conserve and enhance the character and appearance of this part of the town would be lost.
Option B - agree to designate a new Conservation Area, but not to introduce an Article 4 Direction in respect of that new Conservation Area. This would reduce the potential for the Council to conserve the character and appearance of the area. Designation itself would not protect an area from incremental change which could erode its character, where residents exercise their permitted development rights.
Option C - agree to designate a new Conservation Area and to introduce an Article 4 Direction in respect of that new Conservation Area in the future. There would be an increased workload associated with an Article 4 Direction, but it was anticipated that this would have minimal impact due to the small number of buildings in the area compared to some other conservation areas.
That the Executive Member approved:
the Albert Park and Linthorpe Road Conservation Area boundary, and the supporting Albert Park and Linthorpe Road Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan thus designating the Conservation Area; and,
the introduction of an Article 4 Direction to remove some permitted development rights in the Conservation Area once designated.
The decision was supported by the following reason:
The local authority is responsible for designating areas which are valued for their special architectural or historic interest, the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance, through the designation of conservation areas under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Albert Park and its setting is a historically important part of the town, which has a distinctive character worth conserving. The public consultation has demonstrated strong support for the designation of the Conservation Area.