Celebrating Conservation Areas at 50

The recently refurbished Wesley Church in St John Street provided an appropriate setting for a major conference on conservation and development on Wednesday. Organised by Chester Civic Trust and sponsored by Donald Insall Associates, the conference brought together nearly a hundred delegates from civic societies, local authorities, architects, developers and professional organisations. It celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Civic Amenities Act, which set up the first conservation areas, and looked forward to how conservation and development could work together over the next 50 years.

The conference was opened by Joan Humble, Chair of Civic Voice, the national organisation for civic societies, who outlined the positive role that voluntary organisations play in conserving the character of Britain’s historic towns and cities.

Catherine Dewar, Regional Director for Historic England, emphasised that change in towns and cities like Chester is continual and inevitable and that the aim of conservation bodies must be to manage that change so as to enhance, rather than damage, the quality of places.

Sir Donald Insall, a doyen of the conservation movement, whose pioneering conservation planning in Chester in the 60s and 70s led to him being awarded the Freedom of the City, talked with Cyril Morris, the City Council officer who helped put his plans into effect, about the lessons they had learned from their long experience.

Delegates then toured the site of the proposed Northgate Development before hearing from Catherine Hennesey, from ACME, the main architects for the development. She explained the evolving designs and how they aim to create modern architecture that will respect the historic context of the site and create an exciting new quarter for the city.

Picture: Sir Donald Insall (right) in discussion with Stephen Langtree MBE, (centre) and Cyril Morris (left), both Vice-Presidents of Chester Civic Ttrust
Click on Picture to enlarge

For further information contact: Nick Clarke


The Celebrating Conservation Areas at 50 Conference
was held on the 15th November 2017

Here are some photographs of the event.











Fifty years ago, in 1967, the Government introduced legislation which enabled local authorities to designate conservation areas. Chester was already at the forefront, having been chosen as one of four English cities to have ‘A Study in Conservation’ (“the Insall Report”). Our first conservation area, covering the historic city centre, followed in January 1969.

Our borough, Cheshire West and Chester, now has 96 conservation areas – more than any other local authority in the North of England. To acknowledge this position and to celebrate the anniversary of the Civic Amenities Act 1967 we have a number of projects in hand – one of which is this exhibition! There are, in fact, two exhibitions running side by side:

 A touring exhibition of ‘pop up’ banners which tell the story of Chester’s very first conservation area and the hugely beneficial effect it has had on our historic city centre.

 A bespoke photographic exhibition presented by members of the Chester Photographic Society to illustrate the diversity and distinctiveness of conservation areas throughout the borough.

We are indebted to the banner designers, the photographers and to the Wesley Church Centre for hosting these exhibitions. If you would like to know more about our conservation areas and how you could help to preserve and enhance their special character please contact Chester Civic Trust or Cheshire West and Chester Council (see below).