Tonight’s letter to our Councillors….

Dear Councillor,

The possible conservation area designation of the Hamlet Court area is before you at Place Scrutiny tomorrow evening. We just wanted to drop you a quick line to express the considerable community support for designation – our group has been working on this for the last 3 years.

We want designation to help protect the wonderful history and architecture but, importantly, to help the economic regeneration of the area. This can happen as many place and retail experts in the UK now recognise and this has led to the High Street Heritage Action Zone programme, part of the Governments Future High Street Fund. Our bid to this fund for £1.8m last summer failed because the road is not yet a conservation area so designation is simply vital to access these funds, to help traders and to help mobilise the community – we are ready and waiting to help.

I attach a document which we sent to the Council recently yet cannot see that this has been reported to Members. It is rather long but the most important and, we hope, helpful content is on the first 3 pages.

We really want to see the local community given the consultation opportunity to choose if the wider area, including all of Hamlet Court Road and the wonderful neighbouring roads, should be designated. And this could be one of the most remarkable urban improvement initiatives that the Council has ever taken.

We hope for universal, cross party support.

Kind regards,

Andy Atkinson MSc FRSA

Historical Building Consultant

Chairman

For and on behalf of

Hamlet Court Conservation Forum

ps Our report includes a remarkable testament from an international expert on the significance of Ditton Court Road, the first residential verged road in the Borough by some 30 years, preceding Chalkwell, Thorpe Bay and West Leigh estates – a very special part of the town’s history that deserves protection and restoration

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