Purcell has been appointed by Southend Borough Council to review and update the Conservation Area Appraisals for Southend-on-Sea. Southend has 14 conservation areas, designated for their special architectural and historic interest. Their designation provides protection from inappropriate development through planning controls and an Appraisals are a key tool in the decision-making process. They set special qualities which are locally distinctive to each area and should be preserved and enhanced. These qualities will ultimately be used to guide decisions on planning applications in order to protect each area’s heritage.

The funicular railway on the edge of the Clifftown Conservation Area

Reflecting the borough’s varied history, the conservation areas encompass diverse streetscapes and historic buildings, from the original settlement of Prittlewell to the late-Victorian amusement park, Kursaal. As well as updating the existing reports, we will research and assess the designated Conservation Areas which do not have appraisals. The conservation areas range in size and nature. Amongst the largest is Shoeburyness Garrison, comprising the converted former military garrison buildings. At the other end of the scale is Eastern Esplanade Conservation Area, formed of a row of small fishermen’s cottages. The elegant terraces of Clifftown typify a Regency seaside resort, whilst the narrow main street of Leigh Old Town is a testament to the boat building, fishing and cockle processing industries that predated Southend’s thriving tourism industry.

Conservation areas are special places and it is crucial that communities are involved in their protection. Public consultation events will be held as part of Purcell’s review so that local people can engage with our findings and share their views.