This consultation by Colchester Borough Council ran from 8 February 2021 and closed on 8 March 2021.
Conservation Areas are areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. Local Authorities are required to review, from time to time, those parts of their area that are of special interest and to designate such areas as conservation areas. When making decisions in respect of buildings or land within a conservation area, a local authority must pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of that area.
The Garrison Conservation Area was designated as a conservation area in May 2004. The conservation area covers the historic core of the old garrison and was established following the preparation and adoption of the Colchester Garrison Masterplan. The Garrison Conservation Area lies immediately south of St Johns Abbey Gatehouse and encompasses the greater part of the St Johns Abbey Scheduled Ancient Monument. It is bounded on the west by Butt Road and the Garrison boundary wall. The southern boundary follows Circular Road South and, to the south east, the edge of Abbey Fields as far as Mersea Road. Alan Stones prepared an appraisal of the Garrison Conservation Area in 2004.
The Council has recently been informed that the MOD propose to sell the former vehicle workshop site known as ABRO (now renamed DSG) for redevelopment. The ABRO site and Roman Circus House, which are located to the north of Le Cateau Road, fall outside the Garrison Conservation Area. It is proposed to extend the conservation area to include these sites together with the adjacent area of open space and Artillery Folley.
The area of land that is proposed for inclusion within the Garrison Conservation Area historically formed part of the Royal Artillery Barracks (1874-5) and is the only part of the former Artillery Barracks site that is excluded from the conservation area. (The barracks were later renamed Le Cateau Barracks to commemorate the actions of British II Corps at Le Cateau, north-eastern France). Within the ABRO site, the Infirmary Stables and the boundary wall are the only surviving buildings from the first phase of the Royal Artillery Barrack’s development.
The stables are of a Neo-Georgian design and mirror the surviving buildings within the main area of the Le Cateau Barracks to the south. The stables appear to be in relatively good condition and retain some interesting architectural detailing. It is understood that there are only two other examples of military Infirmary Stables (Plymouth and Aldershot) both of which are listed grade II. The wall and Artillery Folley that runs adjacent to it, are included on the Council’s Local List. Other buildings within the ABRO site that are of potential interest include: the Carpenters & Telecommunications Shop, the Store and the Dining Room and Cook House.
In addition to the above, the area proposed for inclusion with the Garrison Conservation Area includes part of the remains of Colchester’s Roman Circus. The Roman Circus was discovered during garrison redevelopment and was designated as a scheduled ancient monument on 13 November 2007. The Circus is one of only six proven locations for Circus’ within the north-western provinces of the Roman Empire. As a result, the Circus is of high significance as an important monument both nationally and internationally.