skip to main content
Leigh-on-Sea Town Council 1996

Email Us

Tel: 01702 716288

Conservation Areas in Leigh

The first conservation areas were designated in 1967 and there are now over 8,000 conservation areas in England. They are designated for their special architectural and historic interest. Most conservation areas are designated by their local council as the local planning authority.

If you live in or run a business from a property in a conservation area you may need permission from the Planning Authority before making alterations such as cladding, inserting windows, installing satellite dishes and solar panels, adding conservatories or other extensions, laying paving or building walls. As the Council can change the types of alterations that need permission by making Article 4 Directions it is advisable to contact the Council before making arrangements to starting any work.

If you are thinking of cutting down a tree or doing any pruning work you must notify the Council 6 weeks in advance. This is to give the Council time to assess the contribution the tree makes to the character of the conservation area and decide whether to make a Tree Preservation Order.

Demolition or substantial demolition of a building within a conservation area will usually require permission from the Council. 

Implications for Property Owners

Designation has a number of implications for property owners:  

  • Development which may be carried out as 'permitted development' (ie without the need for the Council's consent) is more limited, notably the size of extensions to houses is reduced from 70 to 50 cu metres, changes to the shape of a roof all now require a planning application and satellite dishes may no longer be placed on front elevations without the Council's consent. Some minor forms of Permitted Development is now controlled by an Article 4 Direction and will require planning permission.
  • Planning applications will need to take account of conservation policies and guidelines, and the Character Appraisal, and will normally be required to preserve or enhance the character of the area.
  • 'Conservation Area Consent' is required for substantial demolition of buildings.
  • In most cases, proposed work to trees requires six weeks prior notification to the Council. 
  • The repair and restoration of windows facing the highway are eligible for Window Grants from the Council.

Permitted Development

Some minor forms of development are classed as 'permitted development' and are normally exempt from planning permission. However, in Chapmanslord Conservation Area an Article 4 Direction has been made, with the support of residents, withdrawing some of these exemptions so that features that are thought to be integral to the special character of the conservation area or minor development that may harm the conservation area are controlled. Therefore Planning Permission from the Council is now needed for the following types of development:

  • The alteration of any window which fronts a highway.
  • The alteration of any door which fronts a highway.
  • Re-roofing with different materials.
  • The installation of hardstanding for vehicles at the front.
  • The erection or construction of an extension or addition to a flank wall.
  • The erection or construction of a canopy or porch to a flank wall.
  • The erection, construction or alteration of a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure fronting the highway.
  • The demolition of the whole or part of a gate, wall, fence or other means of enclosure fronting the highway.

These restrictions apply to all properties in the Chapmanslord Conservation Area. No fee is needed for a planning application required by the Direction. The Direction will be reviewed from time to time. 

© Southend-on-Sea City Council 2013

Chapmanslord Conservation Area

Chapmanslord Conservation Area was designated in 2004 and is the Borough’s most recent conservation area. It includes 1-31 & 2-44 Canvey Road, 1-5 Ray Close, 1-10 Ray Walk and 81-82 Marine Parade, Leigh-on-Sea.

Chapmanslord Conservation area was an estate developed by the Chapmanslord Housing Society during the early 1920s as part of the Government's 'Homes for Heroes' campaign after WWI. It a good example of early 20th century Garden City planning and has a distinctive housing layout and street design characterised by a consistent architectural style and an abundance of landscaping both in the street itself and in the gardens which gives the area a pleasant Arcadian feel.

The properties in the conservation area have an Arts and Crafts character with distinctive small paned metal windows, timber boarding and red tile roofs. There is a mix of house types but all have the same general style and with a common palette of materials and features which gives the conservation area a consistent character. Properties located at key locations within the development are orientated on a diagonal to create spacious gateways and focal points in the estate and this is a key part of its character. These properties often also have additional decorative features to highlight their importance in the street. 

Further information on the special historic character of the conservation area can be found in the Chapmanslord Conservation Area Character Appraisal.

© Southend-on-Sea City Council 2013

Leigh Old Town Conservation Area

The Leigh Old Town Conservation Area relates to the part of the Leigh between Leigh Creek and the railway, it was designated a Conservation Area in 1977. Leigh has a long history as a settlement dependant on the sea, and despite many changes still has much of the character of the old seafaring community. It was first recorded in the Domesday book of 1086 as "Legra", a tiny fishing hamlet. With increasing trade during the Middle Ages the settlement took advantage of its good sheltered position on the important shipping route to London and began to grow. Merchant ships of up to 340 tons were built here as well as trading ships for the local fishing fleets. Leigh and its shipping fleets were frequently used by the Navy against threats from pirates and the French, Spanish and Dutch navies.

Constrained on one side by Leigh Creek and on the other by the railway, Leigh Old Town is not much more than one main street yet its townscape is diverse and with its variety of marine activities squeezed almost at random into its small area - boat building and repair, sailing, fishing, cockle processing and retailing, together with pubs and houses - it has its own unique character as a working marine village.

Historically, the Old Town was densely developed with mostly small buildings packed close together in an informal layout. Despite some more recent demolition when the railway arrived in 1856 and some later additions, it has generally kept this close urban "texture" with buildings on the edge of the narrow High Street and narrow gaps providing glimpses of the Creek. With the curved alignment of the High Street and varied building designs, this close texture has produced an attractive and lively townscape and its position overlooking Leigh Creek and the marshes to the south and backed by Leigh Hill to the north enable extensive views into and out of the area and add to its townscape interest.

Further information on the history and special interest of Leigh Old Town Conservation Area can be found in the Leigh Old Town Conservation Area Appraisal.

© Southend-on-Sea City Council 2013


Leigh Cliff Conservation Area

Leigh Cliff Conservation Area was designated a Conservation Area in 1981. It is located on the cliff top to the east of Leigh’s historic centre. Leigh Cliff marks the start of Leigh's transition from a village to a larger urban area in the late 19th century. Its special interest comes from its association with Leigh's expansion and changing role, its typical late Victorian and Edwardian architecture and its fine position on the hillside overlooking the Estuary. Aspects contributing to its interest include:

  • Its position towards the top of the hill slope, the straight alignment of its streets and the open cliff gardens to the south provide a fine setting with many views of the Estuary. 
  • Good examples of well preserved Late Victorian and Edwardian houses a number of which have been designed to make the best of the estuary aspect. 
  • Leigh Broadway remains a thriving shopping centre with views of the Estuary and a mix of converted late Victorian houses and more substantial purpose-built shops and flats dating from the early 20th century. Traditional shopfronts and upper floors in the Broadway contribute to the Area's character. 
  • The Grand Hotel is the most notable building in the townscape on a prominent corner site.  It is a richly decorated four storey red brick Edwardian style building, with distinctive shaped gables and chimney stacks. 

For further details see Leigh Cliff Conservation Area Appraisal

© Southend-on-Sea City Council 2013

Leigh Conservation Area

The Leigh Conservation Area relates to that part of the settlement north of the railway rising up Leigh Hill to the parish church. It was designated a Conservation Area in 1971, and later extended. The Conservation Area's special interest comes from its history as part of the working marine village, its varied traditional architecture and its fine position on the hillside overlooking the Estuary.

Historically, the village was centred on the waterfront at the foot of the hillside. Horse Hill (now Leigh Hill) was the main road from the village. The Parish Church in its prominent position at the top of the hill overlooking the Estuary was separate from the main settlement. Until the mid-nineteenth century, only a few higher status buildings were close to the Church with sporadic buildings close to the road into the main village. From the mid 19th century, the village spread up the hillside towards the Church with modest vernacular housing, schools, and a new lane to the Church (Church Hill). New houses in the Broadway were gradually converted to shops to supersede the Old Town as Leigh's shopping centre.

The Conservation Area contains a variety of architecture. Buildings are mostly on a small domestic scale with simple designs in uniform terraces and more loosely connected groups. Traditional buildings and materials predominate and help establish the area's character.

Further information on the history and special of Leigh Conservation Area can be found in the Leigh Conservation Area Appraisal

© Southend-on-Sea City Council 2013