Both Meols Drive and The Kings Gap are designated as Conservation Areas and are two of a total of 26 throughout the Wirral.
What exactly does it mean to be in a Conservation Area?
A Conservation Area is defined by an Act of Parliament as ‘an area of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.’
This means that planning rules are much more strict in a conservation area than outside it, the aim being to preserve the key features and characteristics of the area for both current and future generations to enjoy.
How is this achieved?
Here in Hoylake, the integrity of both these areas is vested in a small voluntary committee of residents. All planning applications for developments in the Kings Gap and Meols Drive Conservation Areas are notified to the committee by the Planning Department of our Local Planning Authority, Wirral Council. Although not experts, the committee is thus given the opportunity to assess and comment on the applications, guide the Council to take full account of matters of heritage and conservation and act on behalf of local residents. In particular, the committee looks at compliance with published planning documents at national and local level to ensure that the scale, density, materials, landscaping and access are sympathetic to the general characteristics. The Council’s current Policy CH2 governing conservation planning guidelines and Policy CH3 about demolition can be viewed on the Council’s website and in the About Us section.
Areas of immediate concern to homeowners and their neighbours tend to be: home extensions, conservatories, trees, solar panels and dormer or Velux type windows. Current concerns are the tendency to erect high, mechanical and industrial looking security gates which look out of place in a CA and paving front gardens for car parking thus contributing to rain water dispersal issues. Generally, we encourage open dialogue with neighbours when considering any development or work which will affect the appearance of the property. Guidance is available on all these matters on this website or by contacting any member of the committee.
We are also very keen to ensure that local estate agents and conveyancing solicitors pay particular attention to the requirements and obligations of living in a conservation area in their sales and purchase documentation.
We actively support the work of Conservation Areas Wirral (CAW) which is a well informed and dedicated group of local people which represents all 26 Conservation Areas on the Wirral. Their collective influence gives added weight to conservation matters and enhanced contact with the Council.