The Leas Conservation Area is located on Westcliff seafront. It was first designated a conservation area in 1981. The area was extended in 2010 following the publication of the Conservation Area appraisals for the area in 2009. This appraisal has been reviewedand updated, and a minor extension to the boundary was agreed in March 2022. View The Leas Conservation Area appraisal (adopted March 2022).
The History of The Leas Conservation Area
As Southend expanded westwards, Westcliff was developed as a new residential seaside resort. Westcliff-on-Sea Station was subsidised by local developers and opened in 1895. Over the next twenty years the area between the railway and the seafront was developed, mainly with new houses and visitor accommodation. The Leas Conservation Area includes the most prominent part of this development facing and close to the seafront. Despite some subsequent redevelopment and alterations, the area retains much of the character of the original residential resort.
The Leas special interest
The area has a range of seaside architecture typical of the period which makes an attractive and visually lively setting for the seafront. Corner turrets and balconies are key features. Notable buildings include:
- Palmeira Mansions (originally part of a pair) and the other buildings in Palmeira Avenue, built in 1901-2.
- Argyle House 1937, an imposing block of flats in the International Style.
- The sun shelter below Clifton Drive, a typical design for the 1920s seaside resort.
Development in the Conservation Area
All development in the Conservation Area including alterations such as changing windows and roofing materials should follow guidance set out in the Design and Townscape Guide in particular Section 9 Historic Buildings. It is always advisable to check with the Council if planning permission is needed before undertaking any works to the exterior of a property in the conservation area.
The Leas Conservation Area Map (see page 4)