The Goldhanger Conservation Area

A map of the conservation area is held on Maldon District Council’s website as a PDF file. This link can be used to open the file and view the map in a new tab or window…

Goldhanger Conservation Area Map

In 2007 the Council undertook a “Conservation Area Review and Character Appraisal” and the 71 page report is also held on MDCs website as a PDF file. The following link can be used to open the document in a new tab or window…

Goldhanger Conservation Area Review and Appraisal

At the same time the Council produced a 50 page report entitled: Goldhanger Historic Settlement Assessment. The complete document does not appear to be on the web, however selected extracts are available…

Historic Settlement Assessment Extracts

The two documents together with the map contain a great deal of local historical information, with the Conservation Area Review and Character Appraisal having a description and photograph of all the buildings and structures within the Conservation Area. The draft distributed at the time however, contained many inaccuracies and the History Group listed these in writing to the Council in December 2007. A revised version was promised but not apparently produced and the original draft remains on the web (as of 2013). For completeness the inaccuracies identified in that letter are recorded here...


General comments:

The document is not clearly marked as draft, it is not dated other than a copyright statement dated 2006, and has no documentation history information. Many of the statements made in the document could be used to make a case for significant redefinition of the boundaries of the conservation area. The terms “attractiveness”, “unattractive” and even “pretty” are used in the document. We suggest they should all replaced with “in keeping” and “out of keeping” with a conservation area.


Specific comments:

Page 2  First para. Line 4

Ref: …a basic survey of specific features of individual buildings, identifying modern alterations which may be out of keeping with the character of the Conservation Area.  

As the buildings and alterations cover a very wide range of time periods including some buildings erected within the last 5 years, it would be helpful to define what is considered to be “modern alterations” in this context.

Page 6  Para 3. Line 6

Ref: The retention of historic hedgerows is important to protecting the wider setting of the conservation area, and reinstatement of these historic landscape features should be considered.

Specific hedgerows that have been lost in the conservation area need to be identified.

Page 10  Line 4

Ref: There were more small cottages, providing housing for fishermen and farm workers than are seen in the village today (Fig. 7),  and on page 22 first line: The large numbers of late 20th and 21st century houses that have been built over last half century are indicative of the relative prosperity of the community.

In the1950s many cottages in Fish St and Church St. were condemned and demolished. The bungalows and houses that replaced them are typical of the period and would have been given planning consent at the time. We believe they should be recognised for what they are.

Page 19 

There are many references to materials in the document both in Chapter 9 and elsewhere and the document also recognises that Goldhanger is in a coastal zone. However there is no mention of the highly salty atmosphere due to the river Blackwater being the most saline in the country. Examples of the effects of salt corrosion can be seen on the metal waste bin and phone box in The Square, both are very rusty.   We therefore believe the recommendations on materials need to take into account salt corrosion on building materials and street furniture.

Page 20  Last para. Line 8

Ref:  White painted timber picket fences are also employed for boundary enclosures, and suit the small scale and rural character of the area. Historic photographs show that picket fences were once more common than they are now.

There are practically no white picket fences in the conservation area today. The distinguishing feature of the Conservation Area is the low red brick boundary walls.

Pages 21 First para. & 42 Last para.

The high cost associated with replacing tarmac roads with bound gravel should be considered, together with the impact of double-decker school busses, delivery lorries to the Chequers and the large tractors travelling between Wilkin’s Tiptree and Goldhanger sites. The consequences of utility companies accessing underground works should also be considered.  A recommendation for the associated pavement work should also be given.

Page 24

Ref:  Wheelwrights is a late 20th century brick and render detached house built on the site of a smithy.

Although there was once a smithy on this site, for most of the 20th century this was the site of the Parish Rooms. This was an attractive timber framed building dating from about 1900 and appears in many old photos of The Square. It was demolished in 1980 with planning permission for the building that now stands on the site.

Pages 13 Last para. Line 8, 27 10.2 Church Street. Line 8 & 30 Line 12

Ref:  This development also encompasses a historic pond which is now designated as a wildlife site due to the presence of great crested newts. It has been attractively landscaped into the new development, and adds interest to the view from Church Street.

and Ref: …and pond are valuable elements in the spatial character of the area.

and Ref:  As well as its local significance, this pond contributes to the attractive rural character of the conservation area, although care needs to be taken that it is adequately maintained.

The council should ensure that these ponds are adequately maintained by their owners.

Page 27 First para.

Ref: On the south side of The Square a grouping of street furniture adds interest in the streetscape. These include the 19th century cast iron wheel pump,  which is Grade II listed along with the Pug Stone (Fig. 29). There is also a Grade II listed K6 telephone kiosk here, as well as other amenities including the post box, bus shelter and waste bins.

There are two public seats in a poor state of repair and a very predominant telegraph pole with a diagonal support right next to the village pump in The Square that are not mentioned(see Fig. 29). The public amenities in The Square show a lack of maintenance, with mould present on much of the street furniture and weeds growing out of the pavement, which we assume is the council’s responsibility.

Page 30 First Line.

Ref: The old school, known as the Goldhanger Study Centre,

The school hasn’t been “the Goldhanger Study Centre” for many years since it became a very successful private educational nursery called Wheatlands. To our knowledge all additions made to it since it ceased to be a state school have been made with planning consent.

Page 30 Line 10

Ref: Known locally as Scotches, this pond…

We believe the correct spelling to be “Scrotchy”.

Page 31 Ref: Numbers 1 and 1a Line 10

…but from the north the building is rather too dominant in the street scene.

This is one of the newest buildings in the village. When the plans were first drawn up, a traditional Mansard roof was proposed, this was not permitted by the planning Dept. and a change to the present overbearing design was imposed. From the Purleigh Conservation Area Review we see that a traditional style roof on Roundsmans Cottage was permitted and is praised. In light of the criticism that it is “too dominant” an explanation of why the same style of roof is praised in Purleigh but was not acceptable in Goldhanger would be helpful.

Page 34 Line 2

The property name of 6 Fish Street is ‘The Creek’.

Page 38 Para 3.

The former allotment gardens occupy an undeveloped plot with a red brick boundary wall. This is a historic green space in the townscape character of the conservation area. The gardens have fallen out of use and have become rather overgrown, creating an appealing natural habitat for wildlife.

The red brick wall is completely overgrown with brambles that tumble into the road. The council should ensure that this roadside boundary is maintained by the owner.

Page 40 Para 2. Lines 7 and 14

Ref: Typically these later properties are large detached houses, or single storey properties sometimes set at right angles to the street, which are of inappropriate scale and form.

and ref: At times, these developments create an almost suburban character which is alien to the otherwise small-scale, rural settlement.

These properties have received planning consent in recent years despite, in many cases, large numbers of objections from residents and against the advice of the Parish Council. Two very recent approved plans, which both attracted many objections have yet to be built so the worst is not over. It is difficult to see what can be done now, other than to learn from the mistakes.

Page 41  11.1 Change of Boundaries Line 6

Ref: …the one exception that might be amended is to the rear of numbers 7-9 Church Street, where the existing boundary cuts across the gardens.

Using this same rationale it is recommended that the boundary should follow the current boundaries of the Coastguard cottages and also the street line of Pine Lodge, Head St, rather than cutting across a corner, and then include the plots of Old Parsonage and Hall Farm, including the Pond. This would get closer to including the new woodland area, which is now the responsibility of the Parish Council. Please see the enclosed map.

Page 41  11.2 Additional Planning Controls. Line 3

Ref: This is particularly the case where unlisted buildings that make an important contribution to character suffer from unsympathetic and uncontrolled alterations carried out as permitted development.

This assertion is not supported by a statistical analysis of the building audit table once the known errors are corrected, as there are as many entries in the table associated with council approved work as there are permitted development work.

Page 42 Line 12

Ref: It may be necessary to introduce additional planning controls if solar panels and/or wind turbines threaten to undermine the special character.

We suggest solar panels and wind turbines be included before they become a problem.

Page 42,  ref para. 11.3

We entirely agree with all of this paragraph, however it is the Planning Department that seems not to have an understanding of these points and have failed to take on board the reasoned arguments and objections of the residents to new developments to date.

Page 42  11.4.1 Line 4

Ref: …with stone kerbs or cobbles where required, would soften the appearance of the streets.

Only if the stones were handmade and therefore irregular would it make any difference, but this would be an expensive choice.

Page 43 11.4.4.

Above ground cables and associated poles create an element of clutter …their relocation

below ground should be encouraged.

We completely agree, and this point should be put more strongly. The poles are intrusive, unsightly, out of character within the conservation area. The pole in The Square, close to the village pump, is a particularly bad example.

Page 43 12 Conclusion Para 2

Ref: Generally the historic buildings in the conservation area are well maintained. However new development over the last 40 years or so has undermined the traditional built character of the conservation area through unsympathetic design and materials.

All “new development” has required planning consent over all of this period, and the powers to control the problem have been in place.

Page 44 Para 2

Ref: Of particular importance is the maintenance of a low key and informal public realm, with traditional boundary treatments…

This phrase requires explanation.

Page 52 Para 3

Ref: …helps to show how the appearance of these buildings and their contribution to the character and appearance of the conservation area might be improved if more sympathetic details and materials were introduced.  and …It may be possible to introduce some more sympathetic features to these properties, for example through boundary treatments, joinery details or roofing materials, so that they are more respectful of the special character of the area.

These sentences indicate that the proposals are made regardless of date of original implementation, or whether planning consent was needed or obtained at the time. The majority of the concrete tiled roofs referred to have been there for 30-50 years and are now covered with lichen and moss giving a varied and not unattractive appearance. New roofs on, or connected to, these buildings would be even more out of keeping.

Page 52 Para 3. Line 6

Ref…This table also demonstrates how removal of some permitted development rights could help to preserve the character and appearance of the conservation area.

As many of the entries in the table relate to work that required and were given planning consent it does not appear to us to demonstrate this.  There are also many errors in the table so any conclusion is invalid at this stage.

Appendix 2:

Many of the entries in Appendix 2 appear to be a subjective assessment of what looks “attractive” or “unattractive”.

The recommendations indicate a clear preference for materials appropriate to ancient and listed buildings. However these materials seem inappropriate for many of the buildings currently included in the area which are less than 50 years old and have been constructed with materials of their time.

Many entries under the “Rainwater Goods” column appear to be incorrect. Including the listed buildings, only a handful of properties still have all-metal rainwater goods. Most have plastic or part plastic, including the Church.

Some “stained timber” windows & doors have been classified in error, and are in fact UPVC.

Some of the most negative comments refer to the newest and recent approved buildings.


Goldhanger  History Group

December 2007



top                       Descriptions of Goldhanger                    home