New planning rules will protect the character of picturesque village

HERITAGE'Chichester Harbour, looking across to Langstone village.
HERITAGE'Chichester Harbour, looking across to Langstone village.
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A COUNCIL is bringing in strict planning rules to protect the character and heritage of one of its most picturesque areas.

Havant Borough Council has recently finished an appraisal and consultation on the future of Langstone Conservation Area.

By law these must be carried out periodically by local authorities and are a comprehensive review of every part of the conservation areas within towns and cities.

Langstone, with its Mill Pond and former mill, and 18th century cottages and pubs, is one of the most desirable areas in the borough to live.

From now on homeowners whose properties fall within the conservation area will have to apply for planning permission to carry out small changes to their homes under what is known as Article Four Directions.

Permission will be needed for:

· Installing roof light windows

· Erection of boundary treatments up to 1m in height

· Removal of chimneys

· Off-street parking and hard surfacing on existing garden frontages

· Painting of external facades on buildings and walls

· Alterations to roof coverings

· Installation of solar panels

· Removal of existing boundary walls.

There are 15 buildings in the conservation area including The Royal Oak and The Ship pubs.

Ann Griffiths, a local historian and member of Langstone Residents Association, said: ‘It’s excellent and most people in the village like it.

‘It saves the conservation area from being damaged historically and architecturally without the need for consent from the planning department. With the recent changes in planning legislation it has become easier to do horrible things to the fronts of houses, such as install solar panels.

‘The thing to stress is that it does not mean that people can’t do these things. They must be decided by the planning committee so that things which are totally inappropriate can’t be put in without the public being given an opportunity to make a representation.

‘Langstone is beautiful but it’s not just for us, it for visitors too.’

The six-week consultation earlier this year attracted only six responses which Mrs Griffiths says was because people were happy with it and did not feel the need to respond.

Many of the villagers assisted with the historical content of the appraisal.

The report is set to be debated at next Wednesday’s council’s cabinet meeting at Havant College, from 5pm.