Council chiefs are giving residents in a Cornish town a second chance to have their say on conservation measures amid fears over house prices.
Earlier this year, Cornwall Council invited the people of St Austell to get involved with a plan to extend the conservation area in the town centre.
The conservation area character appraisal and management plan – and proposed extended conservation area for the centre and surrounding residential areas – initially received a mixed response. Some expressed fears the conservation area would have an effect on property prices, while others welcomed more protection for the town’s heritage.
Councillors have reviewed the original proposals and will put the new document on public display at the end of the month.
Helen Nicholson, the council’s community network manager, said the authority wanted more residents and businesses to read the document and send comments. She said: “Their views are important to the council and will be taken into consideration before the final document is published.
“We also want people to hear about the positive impact this could have on the town.
“Contrary to rumours that have been spread around, research commissioned by English Heritage has proved that houses in conservation areas sell for a premium of 23% on average.
“A larger conservation area would ensure that new buildings in the area fit with the character of the town, and would be of higher design quality.
“We also want a wider conservation area to be the springboard for grant funding.”
Miss Nicholson said over the past ten years 12 historic towns in Cornwall, including Falmouth and Launceston, had had heritage-led regeneration schemes worth £13.4 million.
The current St Austell conservation area is limited to Fore Street, the Church and Market House area. The review proposes a substantial extension to the current conservation area boundary, meaning more residents around the town centre may be affected if it is adopted.
Vic Robinson, the council’s senior conservation officer, said conservation areas were not open-air museums but living communities.
She said: “The emphasis is on the positive management of change over time, not to preserve them in aspic.
“New development would need to be sympathetic to the special qualities of the area, particularly in terms of scale, design, materials and space between buildings.”
Proposals will be on display at White River Place in the town centre on Thursday, August 30, from 1pm to 5pm.
Copies of the document are available on the council’s website at www.cornwall.gov.uk, in Cornwall Council offices on Penwinnick Road, St Austell Library, the St Austell Market House Museum and the Eden Cafe.
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