Valuing places: good practice in conservation areas by English Heritage

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By the 1990s shoppers and businesses were heading elsewhere, a process exacerbated by the opening in 1990 of the Meadowhall shopping centre at an abandoned steelworks near the M1. The city’s response was first articulated in A New City, the 1994 city-centre strategy subsequently developed in the city-centre masterplan of 2000. This included a focus on the historic core, most of which is in the City Centre Conservation Area. Good new public realm was at the heart of the vision, and, since 1999, no fewer than six major new public spaces, including Sheaf Square and the Peace Gardens, have been created.

NMR Truro ground: © Robert Lacey, Cornwall Council Peterborough, Corn Market: © John Clarke, Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery. With thanks to English Heritage staff Kerry Babington, Nigel Barker, Jules Brown, Alan Byrne, Glyn Coppack, Catherine Dewar, Alison Fisher, Clive Fletcher, Kathryn Gibson, David Grech, Andrew Hargreaves, Lyndsay Hughes, Graeme Ives, Debra Longley, Duncan McCallum, Caroline Power, Graham Saunders, Graham Steaggles, David Stuart, Michael Taylor and Russell Walters And to Chris Bearman (Allies & Morrison), Freya Morris and Cllr Sue Polhill (Aylesbury Vale); Robert Nadler (Base2Stay); Paul Johnson (Berrys); David Gayter (Burton Manor); Cllr Anne Hawkestone, Christine Kerrin, and Hannah Meekings (Bradford MBDC); John Preston, Peter Studdert and Toby Williams (Cambridge CC); Chezel Bird (the Conservation Studio); Alyson Cooper and Robert Lacey (Cornwall CC); Anna Lee and Lloyd Mills (East Northamptonshire DC); Jonathon Bretherton (Edgar Street Grid); Brett Grosvenor (Environment Agency); Simon Gedye (Studio Gedye/Sheffield Civic Trust); Douglas Gillam (Gillam’s Tea Room), Caroline Ansell, Charlotte Lewis and Philip Staddon (Gloucester CC); Ann Johnson and David Rhodes (Harrogate DC); Nigel Barker, Bill Bloxham, Julian Cotton, Richard Lellow, Keith Ray, Neil Robertson, John Stagg and Chris Partrick (Herefordshire CC); Peter Hoey (Liverpool CC); Peter Bishop and Tim Rettler (London Development Agency); Mary Godwin and former Cllr Peter Williams (Lyme Regis); Derek Harding (Margate Renewal Partnership); Catherine Atkinson (National Trust); Ian Jopling, Margaret Field, Cllr Isabel Hunter, Annette Reeves and John Dowsett (Northumberland CC); Hilary Brindley (Nottingham CC); Hillary Sylvester (Nottingham Civic Society); Steve Bowyer (Opportunity Peterborough); Jim Daley (Peterborough CC); John Pike (Portsmouth CC); Roger Hutchings (Queensgate shopping centre, Peterborough); Craig Boardwith and Rob Thompson (Sheffield CC); Kate Lawson and Jayne Kendall (South Lakeland DC); Penny McKnight (Stafford BC); Louise Dandy (Thanet DC); Dave Fordham, Peter Bishop (Tower Hamlets LBC); Ross Ingham, Kate Pinnock (Urban Delivery); Steve Walker (Urban Practitioners); Richard Taylor (Ripon); Nick Browning, Kim Sankey and David Stuart (West Dorset DC) Front cover: this Grade II listed building at 7, King Street, Ulverston, Cumbria, has benefited from extensive area grant-funded improvements.

Their character has helped shape its design, not least through the city’s Urban Design Compendium, which, drawing on Sheffield’s suite of conservation area character appraisals, specifies the materials and types of development appropriate to different areas. Likewise, a Sustainable Development and Design Panel reviews most major project proposals and includes conservation and urban design specialists. The new public realm is often innovative, for example in its many striking water features. Crucially, funding for maintenance is ringfenced.

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