Solihull's first two conservation areas celebrate 50 year anniversaries - The Solihull Observer

Solihull's first two conservation areas celebrate 50 year anniversaries

Solihull Editorial 29th Jun, 2018 Updated: 29th Jun, 2018   0

SOLIHULL’S first two conservation areas are celebrating their 50 year anniversaries this week.

The two protected areas in the centres of Solihull and Knowle were created on June 28, 1958, to maintain heritage sites, green spaces and important aspects of the area’s communities.

A council spokesperson said they are designed to preserve Solihull’s unique character as a ‘town in the country’.

Conservation areas were introduced nationally to protect not just individual buildings and sites but the character and historicity of entire areas.

The areas can encompass listed buildings or ancient monuments such as Solihull’s Manor House on High Street, Solihull, or Tudor Grange House on Blossomfield Road – both grade II* listed by conservation body, Historic England.

Tracey Williams – a heritage and local studies librarian for Solihull Life – gave an insight into the history of the two iconic areas.

She said: “The historical focus of the town was the Church of St Alphege, and the medieval market place, now known as The Square – although it is, in fact a triangular enclosure.

“The church is flanked by the historic George Hotel (parts of which date back to the 17th century) and a partly 16th century row of red brick buildings with timber framing, known as the “end houses”.”

Solihull Life is a blog run by the Heritage and Local Studies Service at The Core Library on Homer Road.

Describing the Knowle area, she said: “The High Street still retains the character of an old village street, with buildings set fairly close to the road and having an irregular line, low height, a mixture of varied architectural styles and the mellowness of traditional materials.

“Of particular note in the High Street is the 16th-century Chester House, now housing Knowle Library.

“The historic focus of the village is at the junction of the High Street and Kenilworth Road, with the ancient parish and the Guild House, set back obliquely on the street.”

Conservation organisation The Knowle Society will be celebrating the anniversary on Friday, July 21 from 11.30am to 4pm with a day of exhibitions, historical walks and afternoon tea – which will be attended by Solihull mayor Flo Nash.

A Solihull Council spokesperson said: “The council seeks to preserve or enhance heritage assets in proportion to their importance, conserve local character and distinctiveness and create and sustain a sense of place.

“Conservation areas are a tangible part of the story of the development of the borough through time and are valued for their contribution to local character and place making alongside and in the context of the developments and investment secured by positive managed growth policies today.”

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