Development Management Document - Adopted July 2015

Appendix 11: Seafront Buildings

In relation to Policy DM6 (3) and Policy Table 1: Seafront Character Zones, the following provides a summary of existing buildings along the seafront (outside the Central Area, which is covered by the Southend Central Area Action Plan, and Shoeburyness, which will be addressed by area specific policy) that form a cohesive frontage, have historic context, are recognised as key landmarks, and/or contribute to a distinctive sense of place.

  • Marine Parade, Leigh-on-Sea

Marine Parade forms a long, linear residential street that runs east-west at the top the cliffs. Its character is resolutely residential to the north, with public gardens to the south. Although there is some variety between plots, properties form a cohesive frontage with a generally consistent domestic scale and palette of materials. The Chapmanslord Conservation Area, which includes 81-82 Marine Parade as well as properties on Canvey Road, Ray Close and Ray Walk, is a noteworthy example of early 20th century Garden City planning and has a distinctive housing layout and street design characterised by a consistent architectural style and an abundance of landscaping within the street and within private gardens (Seafront Character Zone 1);

  • Leigh Old Town Conservation Area

A compact settlement at the base of steep cliffs, segregated from the rest of Leigh on Sea by the railway line that runs along the northern boundary of the conservation area. It retains an industrial character in places, having for much of its history been a fishing port, with the cockle-sheds comprising an important part of this. The Old Town also includes a number of listed and locally listed buildings, such as the Grade II listed Crooked Billet and 62 High Street, and the locally listed 2 and 3 Plumbs Yard, 74-74a High Street (The Custom House) and 39a High Street (Wharf Cottage). It has a strong relationship with the waterfront with simple, modestly scaled buildings generally arranged along one long, narrow street with glimpses through to the estuary (Seafront Character Zone 2);

  • Leigh Conservation Area

The defining feature of the Leigh Conservation Area is the cliff, which rises steeply above New Road, with residential streets and a network of paths winding down it. The road layout is consequently irregular in places, and the cliff means that there are south facing views out to the estuary and a need to consider scale to ensure consistency with local character. Leigh Hill, which runs east-west and north-south through the conservation area is notable for its historic mix of residential and some non-residential uses, although these are in the minority, and contains a number of listed and locally listed buildings which contribute to local character and distinctiveness, including the Grade II listed 28 Leigh Hill, The Old Bank House, Prospect House and Herschell House, and the locally listed 59, 60-62, 82, and 98 Leigh Hill. Leigh Hill provides access to residential properties at The Gardens which have estuary views and contribute to the sense of space providing a cohesive frontage, despite the relatively built up nature of the conservation area. There is a general uniformity in terms of scale, with the majority of residential dwellings being 2 storey, and the area has suffered from larger, bulky development in the past (Seafront Character Zone 3);

  • Leigh Cliff Conservation Area

Cliff Parade within the Leigh Cliff Conservation Area benefits from estuary views, being located directly above Cliff Gardens, which provide the area with undeveloped green space. While displaying more variety in architectural style than other streets in the conservation area, it contributes to a distinctive sense of place which would suffer from larger, bulkier development (Seafront Character Zone 3).

  • Grand Parade, Undercliff Gardens and The Ridgeway

Grand Parade is situated in an elevated position, running in parallel to the seafront. It continues the residential character, grain and scale of Cliff Parade but forms a cohesive frontage with Undercliff Gardens, set at the base of the cliff, when viewed from the foreshore. Along Grand Parade itself the extensive views of the estuary from the footpath across the top of properties in Undercliff Gardens, is an important aspect of local character and should remain open in outlook. As Grand Parade runs east, the level of the road drops and turns into the The Ridgeway, which is in a less elevated position. A small area of The Ridgeway falls in Seafront Character Zone 3 and has a distinct residential character to the north, with 2/3 storey dwellings, well-spaced. There is often pressure in this area, particularly in more elevated positions such as Grand Parade and on larger plots on The Ridgeway, for bulkier and taller buildings that would result in further loss of the finer urban grain (Seafront Character Zone 3);

  • Crowstone Conservation Area

The Crowstone Conservation Area is located on the north side of The Leas, which runs along the foreshore, and there are expansive views of the estuary from it. Although relatively small, the Conservation Area importantly provides the setting to the locally listed Crowstone House which, together with other properties in the Conservation Area, dates from the initial development of this part of the seafront and as such form an important part of local historic character, which has elsewhere on the seafront been lost to modern, bulky development. Any future redevelopment within the Conservation Area should seek to preserve the existing urban grain and setting of Crowstone House. Crowstone House is a local landmark and a defining feature of this Conservation Area which should be preserved. Crowstone Conservation Area is a contemporary of The Leas Conservation Area, to the east, which has a similar, although not identical character (Seafront Character Zone 4);

  • The Leas Conservation Area

The Leas Conservation Area is located in a slightly elevated position on low cliffs, with properties along The Leas, Clifton Drive and Shorefield Road itself overlooking the estuary and consists largely of terraced and semi-detached residential properties with traditional seaside decoration and character. The loss of some distinctive heritage buildings in the past led to the construction of more recent replacement buildings, including tower blocks, which have damaged the character of the area in terms of their design, scale and materials. The Conservation Area includes a number of locally listed buildings to the northern side of the seafront promenade, such as the Sun Shelter, 21 The Leas, Argyll House, and Palmeira Mansions (Seafront Character Zone 4);

  • 183-195 Eastern Esplanade

This short run of properties on Eastern Esplanade displays consistency in terms of architectural style, scale, and palette of materials. All benefit from balconies, particularly noteworthy to the first floors of 187 – 192 which together form a cohesive frontage. This area is largely comprised of small guest houses which present a traditional seaside character that would be eroded through loss of the fine urban grain, seaside decoration and character (Seafront Character Zone 5);

  • Thorpe Esplanade and Thorpe Bay Gardens,

This area is notable for its large, detached houses with pitched roofs, consistent scale and consistent palette of materials, in the case of Thorpe Bay Gardens set back from the beach behind tennis courts, bowling club, yacht club and gardens. The area would be sensitive to redevelopment of houses to flatted development, and any redevelopment should respect the scale, use and palette of materials found in this area (Seafront Character Zone 6).

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