Conservation status for part of ‘special’ Sutton town centre

ANCIENT -- St Mary's Church in Sutton, which dates back to medieval times.
ANCIENT -- St Mary's Church in Sutton, which dates back to medieval times.

Part of Sutton town centre is expected to be designated an “area of special architectural or historic interest”.

Ashfield District Council’s Cabinet will be asked to rubberstamp the move at its meeting next Thursday night.

It will see conservation-area status bestowed on land and buildings at Market Place, extending to the ancient St Mary Magdalene Church on Church Avenue and Sutton Cemetery.

The move is all part of a five-year plan that aims to regenerate the town centre but also to protect it from unsuitable development.

Says a council spokesman: “The law defines conservation areas as places of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which is desirable to preserve or enhance.

“Designation of this part of Sutton will provide the planning authority with control over the demolition of buildings and structures, and the the design of new buildings, structures and extensions. It will also confer a level of protection for trees not currently protected.”

The council first came up with the idea after a survey of Sutton was carried out by its conservation officer. It has pressed ahead with the move after consulting local people last December. Of those who responded to a questionnaire or popped in to a drop-in session at Sutton Library, 92% were in favour of creating the conservation area.

“Failure to designate carries a risk that the architectural and historic character of the area would be eroded, and signficant buildings and mature trees would be vulnerable to demoilition or removal,” adds the council spokesman.

“Not designating could undermine the distinct heritage and environmental quality of the area.”

HISTORY buffs would be in their element walking through Sutton town centre. For not only does it boast a church that dates back to medieval times, but also Victorian and Edwardian places of interest.

St Mary’s Church is a grade two listed building. It was rebuilt in 1854 and 1867, but contains a rare 12th century pillar and also part of the font from the original Norman church. The nearby cemetery was first laid out in 1892.

The proposed conservation area also includes the town’s only National School of 1845 and a variety of Victorian houses along Church Street, Church Lane and Titchfield Avenue.

The commercial area of Market Place, a large open space that was originally created by the local council 110 years ago, and Brook Street is denoted by several architecturally fine Edwardian buildings.