Chorltonville is one of the 35 conservation areas designated by the Manchester City Council, as Planning Authority. It was designated in October 1991, and a full description can be viewed at:
A conservation area is defined in law as "an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance." It is up to the local planning authority to determine which parts of its area are of special interest, and the criteria are set in a context relevant at the time when it is designated.
The reasons for the designation of Chorltonville are set out in the Council’s description, and are mainly because it is one of the early examples of a development following the aspirations of the Garden City Movement first proposed by Ebenezer Howard at the turn of the 19th /20th centuries.
The main consequences of being a conservation area are:
- The local planning authority (Manchester City Council) has a duty to ensure the preservation and enhancement of the conservation area. There is also a provision at law to make the planning authority "formulate and publish proposals for the preservation and enhancement..." of the area designated, but this does not seem to have been done by the Council yet. If it were to do so, it could extend controls to cover such issues as replacement windows, so as to prohibit non traditional replacements and insist on proper timber replacements. The Council has, in the past, enforced the removal of some elements, and would probably not permit changes to the external colouring of the rendering.
- The local planning authority can also take steps to ensure that building and the infrastructure of the conservation area is kept in good repair, but this does not relieve the Owners’ Committee and the Owners of the primary responsibility for the maintenance of the Area.
- Consent is required before any building in the conservation area can be demolished, or before any alteration work is commenced on any building. Consent will only be given when the proposal is in keeping with the special architectural or historic interest of the area.
- Consent is required for any work to any tree within the conservation area, including trees within private gardens, but there are exemptions for some, e.g. fruit trees. It is advisable to check with the planning Authority before attempting any pruning or felling.
The purpose of these restrictions are positive, as they prevent the unilateral changes to the area that would destroy the unique nature of our special area.
It is interesting to note that although the site occupied by Brookburn Primary School is not within the conservation area, the whole of the football club ground, and the long gardens at the rear of 73 to 87 South Drive are. Meade Manor on Claude Road is excluded but the pair of semi-detached houses opposite (numbers 58 and 56) are included. Otherwise, the boundaries are at the rear garden boundaries of the houses.
Those who doubt the necessity of these rules should visit the locations within the Greater Manchester area, where estates were built in similar designs as Chorltonville, but without an Owners’ Committee or any attempt at preservation!