Conservation status for Southend’s “second high street”

THE unique nature of Southend’s “second High Street” is set to be recognised with conservation area status.

The “historic character” of Hamlet Court Road will be protected and is also likely to lead to opportunities for additional funding.

The conservation area will include the buildings on either side of Hamlet Court Road and run from London Road south, to St Helen’s Road.

Carole Mulroney, Lib Dem councillor responsible for environment, culture, tourism and planning, said “Following extensive research carried out by the council, the northern section of Hamlet Court Road – south of London Road – has been highlighted as the potential conservation area, should the report be approved by cabinet.

“The area has a number of buildings with historic and architectural value, and conservation status would offer increased protection in respect of any future planning applications in the area.

“I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Hamlet Court Conservation Forum who have been instrumental in assisting with the appraisal process, their historical knowledge from the research they have conducted was incredibly helpful in meetings, walkabouts and conversations with officers and consultants.”

During the public consultation from February to April, there was strong support for the conservation area, including from Historic England.

In its assessment, it said: “We welcome the proposed designation of part of Hamlet Court Road. The northern part of Hamlet Court Road is an attractive street comprising fine 19th and early 20th century commercial and residential buildings, with a high quality of architecture and refined character. The road contains a number of notable buildings, including the former Havens department store.

“Some respondents disagreed with the idea or the boundary line, saying it should be larger and include the whole road, plus neighbouring residential streets.

“This was considered but it would not meet the guidelines and no further supporting evidence was forthcoming. Historic England concurred with this assessment. However, the recommendation is to consider certain historic neighbouring buildings to be put forward for individual local listing status in the wider area.”

Councillors will discuss the scheme at cabinet on Tuesday.


Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter