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Boost for heritage assets across the borough

Local List update includes dwellings, barns, pillboxes and signposts

Date issued: 25 August 2020

The number of heritage assets in the borough granted protection has risen substantially, after Colchester Borough Council’s Local Plan Committee met last night (24 August 2020) to update the Local List.

The Local List records and safeguards heritage assets which, although not suitable for designation nationally as a Listed Building or Scheduled Monument, are considered historically or architecturally important at a local level. These can include a range of historic assets – from individual buildings and whole streetscapes to single features such as railings, lamp posts or post boxes – which are valued by the local community and make a significant contribution to the character and setting of Colchester and the surrounding villages.

Of the 68 nominated buildings and assets, 64 were adopted – many in locations outside Colchester and Wivenhoe, following last year’s decision to extend the local area to cover the whole borough.

Of these, 17 are within Colchester; 15 are in Marks Tey; four in Fingringhoe and Great Tey; three in Boxted and West Mersea; two in Dedham, Eight Ash Green and Fordham, and one each in Abberton, Copford, East Mersea, Great Horkesley, Langham, Layer-de-la-Haye, Messing, Mount Bures, Peldon, Rowhedge, Wakes Colne and West Bergholt.

Committee members agreed to adopt a wide range of heritage assets, as well as buried archaeological remains, most notably:
  • 197 ceramic street names in Colchester, dating from the 1890s and into the early 20th, which are attached to the sides of buildings or freestanding walls. Some show the old street name with ‘Street’ often shortened to ‘St’) in smaller tiles below.
  • 389 cast iron lamp posts, manufactured for the council by Colchester foundries and others in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
  • The Water Tower in Upland Road, West Mersea, built in 1924 in the campanile style with the tower in multi-colour bricks and with a blue brick plinth.
  • West Bergholt Methodist Chapel constructed c.1879 and featuring fine cast iron entrance gates.

Six of the latest adopted assets were recommended by Colchester Civic Society and 15 by a local volunteer in Marks Tey. Any person or group can nominate a building or asset for inclusion or removal on the Local List by contacting the council for further advice. All new candidates will be assessed by officers with expertise in the historic environment, and where necessary supported by external expertise, before a recommendation based on sound evidence is made to the council. To make a representation, please email: local.plan@colchester.gov.uk 

Cllr Julie Young, Portfolio Holder for Business & Culture and Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “I would like to thank everyone who has helped shape the new Local List. Their attentiveness and passion for the past will ensure many more heritage assets get the protection they richly deserve.

“With over 2,000 years of unique and fascinating history to draw upon, the heritage list provides an extra tool to champion the local historic environment for the benefit of current and future generations.

“The Local List is a work in progress – an opportunity to tell us what treasures of the past matter most to you – so I would urge the public to step forward with suggestions for heritage gems to include in future lists and help us make a Better Colchester.”

The Local List can be read online, with the latest assets uploaded in the coming weeks.

And in a further move to safeguard local heritage – a group of Bronze Age burial mounds, or barrows, was awarded Scheduled Monument status this week, after being nominated by the council for inclusion on the National Heritage List for England.

The prehistoric remains, which lie close to Annan Road, Colchester, have been recognised by Historic England as a rare example of a Bronze Age barrow cemetery in the east of England, unusual for having survived in a river flood plain location and with important archaeological potential in the form of earthwork and buried deposits.

Further information about the barrows can be found here.

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