Brighton & Hove celebrates 50th anniversary of conservation areas

An important conservation milestone will be reached in Brighton & Hove this weekend.

May 31 marks the 50th anniversary of the first conservation areas to be set up in the city following the passing of the Civic Amenities Act in 1967.

33 conservation areas 

The new legislation defined a conservation area as: ‘an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.’ 

Brunswick Town and Cliftonville were the first areas to be designated, and the city now has 33 conservation areas. 

The aim of the new conservation areas was to cover whole areas, ranging from town centres to squares, terraces, groups of buildings and villages, rather than individual properties. 

“While the listing of buildings protected period properties and architectural style, it was recognised that it was not just individual buildings by themselves that mattered,” said Tim Jefferies, principal planning officer for the council.

“Brunswick Town was an obvious candidate for designation, as one of the finest examples of Regency and early Victorian planning and architecture in the country,” he added. “Many of its finest terraces had already been listed in 1950, including the grade I listed set-pieces of Brunswick Square and Terrace.”

Cliftonville, created in the 1850s as an independent new suburb, and absorbed into Hove in 1874 became the second conservation area.

“The Cliftonville conservation area covered the mainly semi-detached dwellings between Albany Villas and Osborne Villas, together with listed buildings on Courtney Terrace and the larger-scale Medina Terrace,” said Tim. He added that in 1985 the conservation area was extended to cover the terraces of Hova Villas and Ventnor Villas to the north.

Since then both conservation areas have been given Article 4 Directions which control development, allowing them to evolve without losing important architectural details. 
Restrictions over the display of estate agents boards have also helped to keep streets tidier.

In 1970 a further six conservation areas were designated and there are now 33 conservation areas in the city. 

Protecting our heritage

Planning policy councillor Gill Williams said: “It’s great to be celebrating 50 years of creating conservation areas in our historic city.

“This important legislation, which covers whole areas of the city, has meant that so much of our rich heritage is now protected.

“We will continue to review these areas and - through local planning policy, character statements and management plans - ensure that a robust framework is in place to preserve and enhance them for the next 50 years.”