Sports, leisure and the Arts Rushford Park Conservation Area

Improvement and enhancement

It is envisaged that small-scale development and refurbishment will take place from time to time. The main aim of the designation of a conservation area is to ensure that the character and quality of both the buildings and the spaces between them is retained and even enhanced.

As with all conservation areas, attention must be paid to maintaining harmony with regard to building heights, proportion of walls and their openings for windows and doors, and the type and colour of building materials. Repair of the existing is preferable, but when replacements are necessary owners of properties will be encouraged to replace like-for-like.

Repairs to walls and roofs may inevitably involve some new bricks, slate or tile which should match the existing. Artificial materials such as Upvc for windows or concrete for walls will not be encouraged, and the painting of brick or stone masonry is considered to be inappropriate and also conducive to rapid deterioration behind the paint.

Walls are generally red or orange-red brick with dressings in stone, moulded brick or a contrasting colour of brick. The contrast is subtle, and restraint should be exercised where replacements are to be incorporated.

Roofs are predominantly blue slate on the Victorian houses and plain red tile on the Edwardian properties, and these materials should be used when replacements are needed. Some houses have decorative fins on the ridge tiles and those should be matched if replaced.

When windows are renewed, they should follow the pattern of the originals they replace. Where originals have been replaced by inappropriate substitutions, the opportunity should be taken to research the original design and replace with the appropriate form. The openings are almost always vertical in proportion, usually with the top light, and sometimes the lower one as well, subdivided by vertical glazing bars called mullions.

The frames should be made from moulded timber sections and set in the same plane as the originals. In new development proposals, windows should be set back at least one brick depth from the front face of the wall, to emphasise its three-dimensional quality.

Where boundary treatments are being renovated, walls should be constructed in brick with moulded brick copings, preferably matching the originals, and with recessed panels where appropriate. Some walls, especially those surrounding older properties, are stone and these should be matched with new or second-hand stone where possible.

Advice should be sought from North Area Team to establish whether or not planning permission is required for this work. Existing frontage walls vary considerably in height, especially as some are already replacements of original boundary treatments.

Hedges can increase the effective height of a wall. In some instances, hedges or fences occur without a wall, which may be due to the wall collapsing and not being replaced.

Throughout the conservation area the aim is to maintain walls of a reasonably consistent nature, but not necessarily all identical. Fences, which are rare in Rushford Park, will not be encouraged as they are generally 'patch-up' measures and are not consistent with the character of the area.

In cases where renewal is contemplated, gate piers should be rebuilt in stone, or brick with moulded brick copings to match the walls, rather than being replaced with concrete or timber.

The original street lamps would have been cast iron, and all have been replaced by modern concrete poles. In the unlikely event of funding becoming available, the opportunity might be taken to reinstate street furniture replicating the originals, including seating, street signs and litter bins, in order to re-create some of the former character of the area.

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