CONSERVATION areas in the North-East still play an important role in protecting the qualities that make places special, a new report has revealed.

The Heritage Counts document, prepared by Heritage England, also states that these places provide a positive focus for growth and development.

Conservation areas are places recognised by local planning authorities as having special architectural or historic interest that deserve careful management and extra protection.

Loading article content

The research commissioned for Heritage Counts 2017 looks at how conservation areas can contribute to good growth and reveals the positive impact that can be achieved.

Those areas fitting this criteria across the region, include the Ouseburn conservation area, Durham City conservation area, Sunderland Old Town and Church Street in Hartlepool.

The Ouseburn was one of the main cradles of the Industrial Revolution on Tyneside and today is still rich in industrial heritage – this gives the area a special and unique character that is important to maintain.

Durham City Conservation Area is one of the richest historic urban environments in the North East and includes a World Heritage Site as well as numerous listed buildings, scheduled monuments and other archaeology.

Sunderland’s Heritage Action Zone is using the city’s centre’s conservation area heritage as a focus for growth. The project aims to extend the economic progress of the town centre towards the waterfront by re-using its historic high-streets to attract investment, establish new business, create jobs and support the area’s wider revitalisation.

Funding awarded to Hartlepool Council as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Townscape Heritage Initiative aims to conserve and rejuvenate historic buildings, improve the local environment and create new community projects in the Church Street area.

Robyn Brown, vice-chairman of the North-East Historic Environment Forum said: “It’s important that we recognise the architectural and historical significance of a place and that these places are valued and treat appropriately.

“It is also important that we understand how such places continue to benefit and contribute to our economy and carrying out research such as that in the Heritage Counts reports helps us to do this.”