Praise for village’s efforts to safeguard historic areas

Seaton Delaval Hall.
Seaton Delaval Hall.
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SEATON Delaval has been recognised for the work it has done to help protect and revitalise historic conservation.

The village is one of two north east heritage partnerships praised in a good practice guide which was released this week by English Heritage.

The publication – Valuing Places: Good Practice in Conservation Areas – says that many conservation areas in England are benefiting from the voluntary efforts of local people, working closely with local councils and supported by English Heritage.

And Seaton Delaval and Berwick have been singled out as taking an innovative approach to managing the conservation of their historic neighbourhoods, providing other areas with a benchmark of success.

Carol Pyrah, English Heritage regional director, said: “The report aims to inspire councils, civic societies and community groups to replicate the methods and success achieved by others, as highlighted in a series of powerful case studies.

“Conservation areas offer a golden opportunity for people to take heritage into their own hands and to decide what they value and how they want to protect and enhance it.

“These are places where people live, work and play – whether or not they are well cared for has a huge affect on our quality of life.

“I’m delighted to say that the north east has the second highest number of character appraisals carried out on conservation areas.

“It is good news for conservation areas that so many groups in the region are taking a proactive approach to preserving the heritage of their neighbourhoods.”

In Seaton Delaval, an innovative measure has been introduced to reduce the tensions between maintaining the A190 which is a main road running through the heart of the community’s conservation area, yet it is also The Avenue, the tree-lined formal approach to the Grade I-listed Seaton Delaval Hall.

The approach is a key element of the conservation area, which is also a Grade II-registered designed landscape.

The solution was the creation of a written protocol to ensure that the interests of both highway safety and historic significance are balanced.

The process of negotiating this Memorandum of Understanding has helped all those parties involved to appreciate one another’s interests and responsibilities.

The hall’s reopening, following its acquisition by the National Trust, is likely to increase pressure from all modes of transport on The Avenue so active and sensitive management of the road is therefore essential if the character of the conservation area is to be maintained.

For a copy of the Valuing Places: Good Practice in Conservation Areas booklet, you can download a pdf from www.english-heritage.org.uk/conservationareas or contact customer services by calling 0870 333 1181 or emailing customers@english-heritage.org.uk

For general advice on every aspect of caring for a conservation area, ask customer services for a copy of English Heritage’s Conservation Areas at Risk booklet or download a pdf from the website.