To keep you informed as to what was said at my meeting with representatives of Sheffield City Council's "Urban Design and Conservation Team" at the library earlier today, I summarise the main points that were discussed below.
(Note that I am copying this to Andrew Slaney of SCC so he can come back to us if I have remembered anything incorrectly or wants to add anything. I am also thinking of putting the final version and perhaps other correspondence on conservation.ecclesfieldgroups.com. Note also that I was delayed and arrived after Roger Tordoff and Peter Barker had left, so they might have other things to add).
However the points I know about are...
1. Ecclesfield Village Plan could usefully supply comments about the conservation area. This could most easily be done by emailing a Microsoft Word file to Andrew Slaney at the Cc address above, say the day after our meeting on 18th June. Alternatively, we could have an extension to enable us to put a letter in the post.
2. The council were only able to send out questionnaires to those in the conservation area - some 200 letters. In addition to an official response from Ecclesfield Village Plan, it would therefore also be useful if plan members, or indeed any other people living near the conservation area filled in the printed or on-line forms and submitted them. People are however asked to include their address, so that the Council know which replies come from inside and which from outside the conservation area.
3. Useful areas to comment on
a. Since the existing conservation area was defined in 1977, any changes or other reasons for increasing or decreasing its size.
b. Anything missed out of the list of features which we think it is important to conserve. This could include land marks, walls, trees, open land, or even views, as well as buildings.
c. Anything which may be mentioned in the appraisal or management proposals, but which we think is especially important.
4. Things the conservation area team could do
a. Influence planning applications in the designated area, both in the negative sense of preventing inappropriate developments, and sometimes in a positive sense by acting as professional advisers.
b. Encourage (but not usually mandate) service providers such as BT to treat the designated area with respect.
c. Influence the style and provision of street furniture such as street lighting.
d. Influence the standard of road maintenance, E.g. by specifying the surfacing materials to be used (but it might take 5 years for this to filter though).
e. The council recognise that planning notices posted around the village can get obliterated and not seen, and are happy to co-operate directly with groups of people interested in particular conservation areas. They would therefore be happy to supply copies of planning applications to a body interested in the Ecclesfield Conservation Area. An appropriate way of initiating this, would be by giving the Council an email address for the body concerned. [My note: If Roger wants to use it, the address is already set up, can be diverted to (one only) private email address, and in addition, can be viewed by anybody with password authority to edit the website]
5. Things the conservation team can't
a. Influence the cleaning, tidying, and maintenance of the area. (E.g. they might be able to influence the design of litter bins, but not ensure that they are emptied etc.).
b. Anything about the state of Ecclesfield shopping centre. It is not in the conservation area and does not appear to contain anything which would justify extending the area to include it.
6. The council cannot recommend, (or disallow) particular suppliers or contractors. However, it was thought that this could be a useful service and there was no barrier to the conservation group doing something like it if they wished. Some planning applications (online since October 2006) do mention the materials to be used, and even particular quarries for obtaining suitable stone. Such information might therefore form a starting point for a list, which householders could use to make it easier to choose suppliers whose work would hopefully match or at least be of the same standard as that of the rest of the conservation area.
If anybody has any comments on anything in the above, or can suggest something to include a draft letter, then please reply to this email .
You can find a link to the council's Appraisal, Management Proposals and Questionnaire on... conservation.ecclesfieldgroups.com.
PS: I know that several people have had difficulty getting on to this or other sites, and therefore would be grateful if anybody hitting problems would give me a ring.
James A. Percival