Appendix 1 - Empingham Parish Council

Response by Empingham Parish Council
to the
RCC Review of the Empingham Conservation Area
(January 2014)
Empingham Parish Council (EPC) welcomes the review and the opportunity of taking the
existing (1975) Empingham Conservation Area forward in a way that reflects the interests
and wishes of those who live and work in the village.
We have consulted extensively – both before and since RCC issued the Consultation Draft
November 2013 – and it is our view that:
1. The Conservation Area should be expanded so as to encompass the whole village and
some immediately surrounding areas. In essence, we see the entire village and the
principal views into it as being worthy of conservation protection.
2. The current level of protection is sufficient. We do not regard an Article 4 Directive
as either desirable or necessary at present.
3. The operation, scope and future of the Area should henceforth be reviewed more
frequently than it has been. We suggest a 10 yearly review.
EPC recognises that it is not the purpose of a conservation area to prevent development or
change, rather that proposals are considered with due regard to existing buildings and the
essential character of the area. Empingham is – and wishes to remain – a living village that is
open for business.
Essential character of Empingham
Empingham Village is a rural settlement in unspoilt countryside (now designated as
Particularly Attractive Countryside). Empingham has a rich archaeological heritage,
including a fine church and notable estate buildings. It also reflects well response to postWorld War socio economic change.
The defining features of the village include:
compact limits of development,
an unobtrusive position in the landscape, on the gently sloping north-side of the valley
of the River Gwash, with low roof lines to buildings often hidden behind established
spaciousness - with green open green spaces, a wide Main Street, low density housing
set back from the road and with gardens (often generous gardens),
a balanced housing stock of detached, semi detached and terraced houses to meet
socio economic needs,
diversity of the built environment,
established footpaths and bridleways in, and close to, the village boundary,
attractive views both into and out of the village,
a living village (local service centre) providing services for and to a wider area.
Empingham is, by any definition, a village worthy of thoughtful conservation.
Our consultation process
Even before the RCC Consultation Draft issued EPC had been actively discussing the role
and future of the Conservation Area. In particular, a well attended public meeting had been
held and many points raised and discussed are pertinent to the current discussions.
Following the issue of RCC Draft Consultation there were extensive discussions and
consultations within the village., including an open meeting which endorsed the EPC view
listed buildings, whilst independently protected, should ideally be in an appropriate
environ such as a conservation area,
developments already made that are sympathetic to the style of traditional buildings
should be afforded protection by the conservation area,
all the green open spaces contribute to the character of the village, and should be
included in the conservation area. These include: the open areas in Willoughby Drive;
on the A606 at the junction with Church Street; trees and verges of roads on
approaches to the village; the Playfield and Allotments and the sports facilities
including the cricket and bowls clubs to the west of the Exton Road
there is no justification for use of Article 4 at present,
the buildings in the village record responses to economic and social changes through
different eras (including Victorian, Edwardian and post-War) and, as such, help define
the village,
all existing Tree preservation Orders (TPOs) should be reviewed and, to aid ongoing
management, a list should be prepared of trees in the village identifying those
considered essential to the character of the village,
The whole village should be included within a revised Empingham Conservation Area - to
include all built development and open spaces within the village as it exists. Specifically this
means all that which is bounded by (a) the existing 30mph signs on Chapel Hill, Loves Lane,
Exton Road, (b) on A606 from the from the west at the Cemetery and (c) *on the A606 at
Church Bridge from the south east.
We also feel that it is important that the terms of reference for management of the area should
not discourage development. Rather the management process should facilitate application of
clear definitions of appropriateness and complementarity that differ in accordance with the
characteristics of the different areas. Considerations for more recently built areas should not
be the same as for listed buildings.
V R Pheasant
Chairman – Empingham Parish Council
*At this point, the new boundary should follow the line of Ancaster railings south of Lovick’s place and Nos 31
and 33 Audit Hall Road to the hedgerow grass verge and Ancaster railings (listed) to Church Bridge (listed),
across the A606 returning to Church Street inclusive of the grass verge, Ancaster railings (listed) and established
Appendix 1
Approaches to Empingham Village
The views on approach to the village have changed significantly since 1975.
Approaching Empingham from the east (Chapel Hill) the feature is not now only
Lower Farmhouse and Barn (listed). The nearby barn conversions and bungalow are
sympathetic to the established build and are both in keeping with the village and
attractive in their own right.
In 1975 the properties seen on the left hand side of the A606 approaching from
Stamford were two bungalows outside the conservation area and Lovick’s Place
(listed), within the conservation area. Each bungalow has been replaced by a detached
house in its own grounds thus maintaining the desirable “green” open spaciousness of
Empingham. The first house seen (No 33) was built in a style similar to established
properties in the village. The second house (No31) was built with many of the
features of established houses in the village (in stone with stone quoins, lintels and
sills under a blue slate roof). Both properties are attractive additions to the housing
stock and should be within the conservation area. These houses also obscure the view
of modern properties (not noted as of architectural interest) on both sides of Audit
Hall Road but within the 1975 conservation area.
These views form a prominent entrance feature to the Village and should be within the
conservation area.
Appendix 2
Nook Lane and Whitwell Road
The present conservation area includes the Lane and, for unknown reasons, only properties
(including two listed thatched cottages) on the east side of the lane down to just past Nook
Farmhouse (listed).
Nook Lane is a former farm track and is distinctive due to its narrow width, absence of paths
and the informal layout and variety of the buildings.
The development in this area has been interesting, including self build detached houses and
good examples of conversions of farm buildings near Nook Farmhouse (listed). These
conversions are in keeping with the established buildings and have benefited from being
adjacent to the conservation area
Gardens of properties on the west side of Nook Lane border the Rutland Water land and to
the north the gardens of village housing in Whitwell Road which is largely hidden behind
mature trees protected by a group TPO.
These properties form a prominent entrance feature at the west edge of Village and all should
be within the conservation area.
Appendix 3
Willoughby Drive Development
This Estate predates the conservation area being built in the late-1960s / early-1970s in a
style prevalent at that time. It was not specifically designed to reflect the existing designs of
housing within the village, and was built in light sandstone coloured Stamford brick with
slightly darker roofs.
However EPC and RCC Planning were instrumental in ensuring a lower density of housing
than originally proposed, roof lines were consistent with the village, significant green areas
(verges and trees etc.) and shielded from the south by groups of trees. The estate shares a
many features with the established housing:1. well laid out low density estate with bungalows immediately behind “listed”
buildings in Main Street and close to Prebendal House is sympathetic to, and does not
detract from older established housing,
2. relatively simple rectangular buildings with gabled, rather than hipped roofs and
gardens front and back,
3. wide spacing of the two- storey houses and bungalows, important green verges and
many mature trees that are totally in keeping with the distinctly soft, open and
“green” appearance of the village,
4. rooflines that are sympathetic with the village and which contribute to the village
being largely hidden and unobtrusive in the landscape,
The Village Design Statement 2002 recognises the development as a significant feature of the
village. The subsequent further maturing of the buildings and landscape in this area now
make it an important area integral to the village. By population it is the second most
important area of the village.
It was built over 40 ago. lt is a good example of sympathetic development, justifying
protection/conservation as low density housing and an important part of the village.
Appendix 4
North of Main Street
The area from Loves Lane to the eastern boundary of the village includes listed buildings in
Main Street and Loves Lane, along with several new houses built in “traditional style” in
stone under tiled roofs but with small gardens. Behind the dwellings in Main Street there are
also several modern properties then farmland.
There is more significant development on the west side of Loves Lane to the north of Main
Street bounded by two relatively new open recreational facilities the Playfield and the
Allotments. The housing in this area (Walnut Close, Bayley’s Close, Beckworth Grove,
Beckworth Court and new Affordable/Social housing) is not identified as being of
architectural significance, but it is an important integral part of the village that records
changing housing needs and how society and the Local Council met those needs. This
included “temporary houses” designed with a limited lifespan to meet immediate needs. This
“temporary housing” has been upgraded and continues to provides accommodation to meet
current standards and in an “open and spacious” setting. This area is as significant to the
development of the village as old Normanton Estate housing..
To the west of Loves Lane to the Exton Road, most of the buildings on the north side of Main
Street are listed. Housing behind these are not noted as being of architectural significance but
are within the current conservation area. These include sympathetic conversions of old farm
buildings, probably influenced by being within the conservation area. This area extends north
westerly to the “listed” Dovecote.
Highfield Close on the west side of the Exton Road faces farmland and is the highest built
development in the village. It was built in response to housing needs, and can be seen from
the A606 approaching the village from Oakham, from where it is a prominent a feature as are
the Cemetery and houses (including the terrace of Edwardian houses) on Whitwell Road. .
Appendix 5
Open Spaces
Empingham’s special and distinctive rural character includes openness and spaciousness,
with significant areas of “green” spaces.
In addition to open and green areas identified on the Consultation process map, other open
areas of great importance to the village, namely:
those to the west of the Exton Road (The Community Sports and Social Facility
including the Cricket and Bowls Clubs) between the Exton Road and the cemetery on
the Whitwell Road,
the Allotments
the Playingfield
The Empingham Conservation Area should include the all such Community Open Spaces.
Appendix 6
Observations and comments on the RCC’s Draft Consulation Document
The RCC Consultation Draft (November 2013) has been a useful document for consultation
and discussion. It does, however, have some inaccuracies, issues of terminology and
omissions, and makes some propositions without any obvious foundation.
In particular:
There is no reference to either the extent to which the 1975 objectives have, or have
not been met.
Both the 1975 Conservation Area and the Village Design Statement 2002 contributed
significantly to the Parish and County Councils success in ensuring effective
development generally complementary to established buildings and the character of
the village. This applies not only to developments within the conservation area (e.g. in
Main Street, Church Street and on the A606) but also to developments outside the
area, such as the conversion of barns/farm buildings in Nook Lane and as seen on
approach to the village from the east (Chapel Hill). None of this is reflected in the
Application of Article 4 is suggested but no attempt is made to justify it.
Although the Willoughby Drive development precedes the designation of the
conservation area, the Parish and County Councils were instrumental in reducing the
size of the proposed development and ensuring that it complemented existing
buildings. The Estate has matured into a good example of late-1960’s/early-1970’s
development, deserving of protection of its low-density openness and green spaces.
Since 1975 the village has established important additional recreational facilities – the
Children (and young persons) Playfield and the Allotments at the northern edge of the
village close to the new social housing built outside the planned limit for
development. These recreational facilities are useful additions to the established
community sports facilities on the Exton Road. These open spaces contribute to the
character and deserve reference.
The rural nature of the village is almost defined by the approaches to the Village.
Approaches from the north down the slope of the valley are by narrow country
roads/lanes (the Exton Road and Loves Lane) with farmland to east of the road/lane
prior to listed buildings (the Dovecote on Exton Road numbers 3 and 5 Loves Lane).
In view of traffic volumes the other approaches to the village may be more significant
i.e. from the A1 and on the A606 from Stamford and Oakham.
The views into the village are at least as important as any within, or out of the village.
There are also specific points of correction and comment, namely:
Para 3.1 - reference to Empingham being a large and compact village with a Parish
population of 321 in 2011. The 2011 census records a parish population of 746 and,
more relevant, a village population of about 630.
Para 4.9 – a reference to 50 entries in the National heritage List which is not
consistent with Annex 1.
Para 11.2 - a reference to the 3 pairs of semi detached cottages 25-35 Main Street as
being good examples of late 19th century housing, whereas they were probably built in
the 20th century (described as newly built in the 1924 Auction catalogue),
Para 12.4 - comment that concrete kerbs would not be appropriate within the
conservation area even though there are many such kerbs within the current
conservation area, e.g. on the A606 and in Main Street,
Para 14.1 – refers to Morcott,
Various - description of the Audit Hall as the “village hall” is incorrect and
misleading. Its independent Board of Trustees has taken to using the term recently ,
but there are other halls within the village, and the term is not generally used for any
of them.
Various - description of the small triangular grassed mound on which the finger post
signpost is sited at the Main Street /Church Street cross roads as the “Village Green”
is misleading – a more accurate description might be a traffic island,
Various (eg7.4.4) – incorrect references to “the village” when comments seem to
relate to the 1975 conservation area,
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