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Character appraisals and management plans

What is a character appraisal?

A conservation area character appraisal is a document which sets out why the conservation area was designated and what its special architectural or historical interest is.

An appraisal contains an assessment of elements which contribute to the special interest and those which detract from it and covers issues such as: topography, street patterns, boundaries, the historical development of the area, archaeological significance, common building materials, open spaces, quality and relationship of buildings and trees.

What is the purpose of a character appraisal?

Character appraisals are prepared in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and guidance from Historic England. They are prepared before a conservation area is designated and form part of the designation process. 

All residents and businesses within the conservation area, plus Ward Councillors, Historic England, local amenity groups and any major developers, are given the opportunity to read and comment on the character appraisal when they are being formulated or reviewed.

The appraisals are adopted by the Planning Committee as planning guidance for use within the Development Management process, to help inform planning decisions.

South Tyneside's Conservation Area Character Appraisals 

What is a management plan?

A Conservation Area Management Plan is the next step after a character appraisal. They provide guidance through policy statements to assist in the preservation and enhancement of the conservation area. This is a direct response to the 1990 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act which places a duty on local planning authorities to formulate and publish proposals for the preservation and enhancement of its conservation areas.

Each management plan is based around the following objectives:

  1. To establish and define the significance of the conservation area as a whole and of the individual elements found within it, such as architectural, historical, archaeological, ecological, social, industrial.
  2. To assess and define the threats and opportunities within the area and how these impact on the significance of individual elements and of the conservation area as a whole.
  3. To provide policy guidance to ensure that the significance of the conservation area will be maintained whilst changes occur rather than being lost or damaged and that opportunities for enhancement are maximised.

Whilst a character appraisal provides an assessment of the physical character and appearance of the conservation area, what the key issues are, what the opportunities for preservation and/or enhancement are and which elements detract from the conservation area, its overall purpose is to provide a benchmark for assessing the impact of development proposals on the character and appearance of the conservation area. The management plan is based on those characteristics set out in the character appraisal and provides policy guidance for their preservation and/or enhancement.

Like character appraisals, management plans are also subject to rigorous and extensive public consultation prior to their adoption as supplementary planning guidance.

South Tyneside's Conservation Area Management Plans

We are now reviewing our Local Development Framework in the form of a new-style Local Plan.  As part of this process, we are also reviewing our conservation area character appraisals and management plans to provide more up to date information that will help inform development proposals. 

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