Milton Conservation Area

Milton conservation area is situated to the west of Southend City Centre between the railway and the London Road, Milton Road and Park Road. It was designated a Conservation Area in 1987. To find out which properties are within Milton Conservation Area please visit our directory.

The history of Milton Conservation Area

Milton as we see it today was developed mainly from about 1870 to 1900 but the name of Milton and its history goes back much further. The area's medieval name of "Middletun" comes from its position midway between Leigh and Southchurch on the banks of the Thames estuary. The Domesday Book of 1086 showed Milton as a small hamlet with 24 families. During the Middle Ages, though, it developed as a fishing port and was famous for its oysters.

Hamlet Mill, a post mill, stood in Milton to the south of the present Methodist Church, on the corner of Avenue Road and Park Road. It can be traced back to 1299 when a "new mill" was built for £15 5s. 10d. The mill was demolished after the estate was sold in 1869. Avenue Road, once called Mill Lane, is one of the oldest roads in the Borough, linking Milton to Prittlewell.

The area between Park Street and Avenue Road saw some of the earliest developments and was known as the Park estate after the private "Southend Park" had been created in the early 1870s. The Park was the home of the town's first cricket, cycle and football clubs. With its lake, playing fields, cycle tracks and special events, it was a popular attraction for the expanding town. The roads close to the Park were the first to be developed in the 1870s. As development grew, the Park was sold for development and houses continued to be built in the area through the turn of the century.

Milton’s special interest

Early estate developments in Southend generally were uniform in character, having a common style and size of building throughout a particular area. The Park and the St Vincents Estates, however, contain a broad range of architectural styles which illustrate the transition in Southend from formal mid-Victorian to freer late Victorian and Edwardian architecture, from small terraces to large semi-detached houses with gardens, and from yellow London stock brick and slate to red brick and clay tiles as the predominant local building materials. Whilst most of the architectural styles can be found elsewhere in the town, the Milton Conservation Area embodies within a small area a cross-section of Southend's typical architecture at the time of its early growth. This helped give the area an attractive and unique character.

In addition to residential properties, the Conservation Area, also has a small parade of shops and two churches. The former Wesleyan Chapel (Park Road Methodist Church) built in 1870 was Southend's first Methodist Church and considered at the time to be one of the town's "greatest architectural ornaments". It is now a Listed Building. Its prominent corner position, materials (Kentish ragstone) and design make it an important townscape feature. In contrast, Avenue Baptist Church facing Milton Road is a typical red brick early twentieth century church which has distinctive flint and stone checkerboard detailing to the parapet, it is now a locally listed building.

Development in the Conservation Area

Minor works to most houses in the conservation area which would normally be classed as permitted development (works that can be undertaken without planning permission) such as changing windows or roofing materials are covered by the Milton Article 4 Direction and a planning application (no fee) must now be made. This enables the Council to control aspects of local character which make an important positive contribution to the conservation area.

All development in the Conservation Area including extensions and 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 review the Milton Article 4 Direction and to check with the Council if planning permission is needed before undertaking any works to the exterior of a property or any works to a listed building in the conservation area.

The updated Milton Conservation Area Appraisal (adopted March 2022), makes a recommendation to update the Article 4 direction for this area, and work is underway to review this, although currently the Milton Article 4 direction is as per the information provided using the link above.

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