Berkswell village conservation area
The concept of the conservation area was introduced in the Civic Amenities Act 1967 sponsored by Duncan Sandys. It was a pioneering measure, the first piece of legislation to acknowledge the value of whole groups of buildings and to recognise the importance of conserving the character of entire areas. By the end of 1967, the first four conservation areas had been designated. Today there are more than 9,300 - eloquent testimony of their importance to the quality of life in modern Britain.
Conservation areas have special planning controls to protect the character of an area. Those special protections require that any thing that could change the character of a property, the building of a new property or the removal of trees will be subject to planning permission. That can for example include changing of windows or re-roofing a property and not only things such as building an extension.
The original Berkswell conservation area was first designated in November 1968 and then extended in 2012. It is designated as “special” because of its unusual concentration of older buildings but also because the landscape within the conservation area either has intrinsic merit or because it helps with the setting of buildings. E.g. the parkland around Berkswell Hall. The current conservation area is shown below.
The designation of a conservation area is quite separate from the “listing” of a building or monument. Listing is short for being included on the national register (list) of important buildings or monuments. Berkswell village has many listed buildings but so does the wider Berkswell Parish including Balsall Common. The “listing” of buildings not only protects those buildings according to established rules and conventions but on occasions protects the surrounding area – know at the “setting” of the listed building or monument.
A wider appreciation of the historical assets within the parish can be found in the report called Historic Environment Summary commission by the parish council for the Neighbourhood Development Plan Historic Environment Report