Press Release: Sessay celebrates 50 years of Conservation Areas in England

On the 11th April Hambleton District Council agreed that the community of Sessay should have their say on a proposed Conservation Area that could see it becoming the latest designation in England, precisely 50 years after the first Conservation Area was established in Stamford, Lincolnshire in September 1967.

• 2017 sees the 50th anniversary of the Civic Amenities Act 1967 which established the concept of Conservation Areas nationally. Since then over 8000 Conservation Areas have been designated across England, with 53 in Hambleton District.

• The purpose of a Conservation Area is to identify important historic places and to cherish the character, architecture and history of areas that are valued by communities. Conservation Areas are a local designation unlike ‘listing’ and ‘scheduling’ which come from the Secretary of State in London on the advice of Historic England.

Why Sessay?

• Information gathered during a five year Heritage Lottery Fund project has been used by Sessay Parish Council to drive forward the case for a Conservation Area to Hambleton District Council, making this a truly community inspired initiative.

• Enthusiastic locals researched and produced a 70 panel village history exhibition, then, earlier this year, published a book on the history of their village called ‘Essays from Sessay’

• The centrepiece for the proposed Conservation Area is St Cuthbert’s Church (Grade II*) by eminent Victorian Architect William Butterfield who also designed the neighbouring school and several estate cottages in Sessay. Close by lies a lost medieval manor and village. Butterfield’s composition of church and school is set within a surviving medieval landscape of ridge and furrow fields, today consisting of 3 farmsteads,

• William Butterfield’s biographer Paul Thompson discusses at length how Sessay church demonstrates the architect’s belief that buildings should appear deeply rooted in their landscape,“…in the process of composition itself…were the governing principles of the picturesque and the sublime. Both followed from the discovery that buildings should be seen not as isolated objects, but as part of the landscape”.

• Residents will now have their say during a six week public consultation period. Hambleton District Council is due to make a final decision whether to designate in September, coinciding with the very first conservation area designation in England 50 years previously.

Deborah Wall- Historic Places Principal at Historic England (Yorkshire Region) said:
“The conservation areas of Yorkshire help to tell our fascinating and varied history. In this 50th Anniversary year of the Civic Amenities Act 1967 it is great to see local communities like Sessay taking such an active role in the assessment and future care of their area.”

John Macpherson – Chairman of Sessay Parish Council said:
“Our community has put its heart and soul into researching and celebrating our shared history; a conservation area would set out why our village is so special and help everyone to manage it into the future. Residents value our heritage, landscape, ecology and wildlife, we know this from feedback received during the preparation of our Community Plan; these things are all interconnected and make Sessay what it is today. A strong sense of place and community is why people choose to live in our village; we are proud of our historic landscape and place in history.”

Cllr Brian Phillips (Portfolio Holder for Planning) Hambleton District Council said:–
“The conservation and enhancement of our historic environment is important to the council and this is reflected in Settlement Character Assessment work we have undertaken as part of our emerging Local Plan. Due to the valuable work undertaken by the community of Sessay in the preparation of background information, Hambleton District Council is delighted to support the community to achieve its aspiration in designating a Conservation Area”.

For further information contact:
Sessay Parish Clerk, Sandra Windross: Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Tel 07843528339

Notes to Editors
It is estimated that 20% of all housing stock was built pre-1919 (approximately 25 million residential dwellings in Great Britain in 2000). Approximately 1.2 million residential dwellings are estimated to lie in Conservation Areas, comprising 4.8% of Great Britain’s total housing stock and 24% of the entire historic housing stock.

Hambleton District Council has policies in its Local Plan to manage Conservation Areas and to ensure that new development respects their character and appearance. Grants from charities and public agencies are sometimes available to preserve or enhance Conservation Areas.
Evidence shows that living in a conservation area adds monetary value to property- see:  
People living in a conservation area who wish to demolish a building may need planning permission. The demolition of a listed Building requires Listed Building Consent.
Councils can introduce special controls (called ‘Article 4’ Directions) to restrict work in Conservation Areas that can normally be undertaken without permission such as replacing windows and doors or altering gutters and down pipes. There is currently no intent to issue an Article 4 Direction in Sessay.
People wishing to cut down, top or lop any but the smallest of trees in a Conservation Area must notify their local planning authority six weeks before work begins. The authority can then consider the contribution the tree makes to the character or appearance of the area and if necessary create a ‘Tree Preservation Order’ to protect it.

A Conservation Area designation places a statutory duty on local planning authorities to pay special attention to preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of conservation areas when undertaking their planning duties; they must from time to time formulate and publish proposals for the preservation and enhancement of their conservation areas, submitting these for public consideration.

Further information on Sessay’s history project can be downloaded from the Sessay Archive at:
‘Essays from Sessay’ can be purchased here:
Further information on Hambleton Conservation Areas can be found at:
Further information on what it means to live in a Conservation Area can be found at: