Purpose of Report
To present the Lincoln High Street Character Appraisal to the Executive and seek approval to use the document as planning guidance.
That use of the Lincoln High Street Character Appraisal document as planning guidance be approved.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Reason for Decision
There were eleven conservation areas within the City Council’s administrative boundary and in order to achieve the successful management of these, the conservation areas should be periodically assessed in terms of their special character and appearance.
Each conservation area was unique and differed in type and style of the urban landscape within it. In considering how to approach the first appraisal associated with the assessment process, it was felt that the high street was an appropriate place to commence due to its significance and importance as the principal commercial zone within the city.
The appraisal outlined what was important within the designated area and why it was of special interest or significance. This provided valuable information which could be taken into account when submitting and considering planning applications. The document would also assist with identifying challenges and opportunities within this area of the high street and inform what proposals and development should come forward in the interests of the proper planning of the area.
A copy of the proposed Lincoln High Street Character Appraisal was appended to the report. It was noted that this document did not replace the current conservation area designations or create a new conservation area, however, it represented a supplementary document which provided valuable context as to the reason why those areas had been designated conservation areas in the first instance as well as provide an important character assessment of Lincoln’s high street.
The Lincoln High Street Character Appraisal document had been considered by the Planning Committee at its meeting on 5 December 2018 and, whilst the Committee was supportive, it was considered that other areas beyond this initial zone were of equal importance and warranted assessment in the same way. Officers had therefore prepared a plan of subsequent appraisal zones, as appended to the report.
Councillor Ric Metcalfe welcomed this hugely important document, which he said would provide further protection in conserving Lincoln’s historic character, ensuring that it remained an attractive place to live and visit. The high street, being the main route through the city centre, was an obvious place to commence this piece of work.
Councillor Neil Murray reiterated the importance of this document and said that it would provide the Council’s Planning Officers and its Planning Committee with even more ammunition to resist some applications received in some areas which were not always in keeping with the character of historic Lincoln.
Councillor Burke welcomed reference within the document to open and green spaces. He also highlighted that retail premises had previously dominated certain areas, with very little consideration given to the historic area where they were located.
Councillor Nannestad echoed the comments regarding green spaces, making the point that there were very few trees within the city centre.
Councillor Metcalfe highlighted that this document was not seeking to prevent change in the city, but sought to ensure that any change and associated design should be sympathetic to the historic and distinctive nature of the city. He cited the Cornhill and the works at the Sincil Street area as an excellent example of what could be achieved in this respect.
The Strategic Director, made reference to the City Council’s Public Realm Strategy, which covered the City’s green spaces as well as ‘blue spaces’ such as the Brayford Pool and the River Witham. It was agreed that an update on the implementation of the Public Realm Strategy would be presented to the Executive in due course.