Shorefields Conservation Area

Shorefields was designated a Conservation Area in 1981 and spans the area to the east of the Cliffs Pavilion.

The Appraisal for Shorefields Conservation Area (2021) can be viewed on our democracy webpages.

Historical background

Shorefields is associated with the start of Southend's rapid growth as a seaside resort and residential centre between 1870 and 1900. During these decades, there was a national rise of holidays and day trip excursions and Southend's easy access from London by rail, and later by boat, made it increasingly popular as a resort and a residential centre. By the early twentieth century it had become the second largest resort in England.

The Conservation Area contains the resort's oldest surviving hotel - the Westcliff Hotel built in 1890. Demand for accommodation also encouraged residents to open their homes to visitors. Some of the housing development in Shorefields was designed for this dual purpose.

Shorefield's special interest

The Shorefields estate was sold for piecemeal development as the resort expanded westwards from the earlier Cliff Town estate, along the top of the West Cliff. The Conservation Area has a fine setting overlooking the Cliffs and Estuary and contains a variety of late Victorian architecture and materials. This results from the estates' subdivision into small development plots for speculative building and occupation by owners, and from the changing architectural fashions towards the end of the nineteenth century.

There are two landmark building in the conservation area; the Westcliff Hotel is the largest building in the conservation area and has a classical symmetrical frontage with alternating decoration above window openings and 27 Westcliff Parade, on the corner of Trinity Avenue, was originally a substantial house in an Italianate design. Built in the 1880s, this type of design was fashionable throughout the nineteenth century but rarely used in Southend.

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 Shorefields Article 4 Direction and a planning application 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 Conservation Areas Do's and Don'ts Leaflet and the Design and Townscape Guide in particular Section 9 Historic Buildings. It is always advisable to review the Shorefields Article 4 Direction and to check with the Council if planning permission is needed before undertaking any works to the exterior of a property in the conservation area.

Further Information

Shorefields Conservation Area Article 4 Direction

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