2017 marks the 50th anniversary of England’s first conservation area. Concerned with the threat of accelerated redevelopment, The Civic Amenities Act ensured the legal protection of the conservation area: places of architectural, historic or environmental interest. After half a century, this popular legislative tool has created more than 9000 protected enclaves in England. Few would question the conservation areas’ original objective, but is its application still appropriate today?

My initial interrogation of the conservation area will be specific to ‘the village’. I am surrounded locally by over 100 fragments of villages that the local authority deem worthy of conserving. Rapid urbanisation, technological advances and socio-economic shifts, both challenge the validity of the villages’ existence and question the conservation area as an effective strategy.

To conserve, or not to conserve, the conservation area…

Stacey Barry


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