There are nearly 10,000 Conservation Areas across England and just 502 of these (about 5%) are considered "At Risk" by Historic England. Unfortunately both of Sneinton's Conservation Areas fall in to this category- meaning that the heritage value is in danger of being lost due to neglect, decay or inappropriate development.
Above: Sneinton Market and Old Sneinton Conservation Areas- both "At Risk"
Why should we care?
The benefits of living in a Conservation Area include the quality of the environment, which is generally better maintained due to stricter controls over what can be built. Particularly in large and long-established Conservation Areas, house prices tend to be higher which reflects the attraction of an improved quality of the environment and the likelihood that the area remain stable over time. Generally, Conservation Areas tend to match peoples' strong positive values associated with green, peaceful residential areas. This can create a good sense of community, and a distinctive sense of place which can be good for community cohesion. These positive effects can spread to areas adjacent to a conservation area as well.
On the other hand, living in a Conservation Area can come with some restrictions- basically peoples' property rights are taken away by stricter planning controls, so they have less choice when it comes to altering their property or building new developments. This can make new development less viable, potentially limiting business opportunities and the provision of services and housing.
The benefits of an "At Risk" Conservation Area are more likely to be outweighed by the disadvantages- the restrictions remain whilst the positive aspects are reduced by neglect, decay or inappropriate development. The good news is that the Sneinton Market Conservation Area is said to be "improving significantly" whilst Old Sneinton is "improving". This is a turn around from the 2015 At Risk Register- when both areas were designated as "deteriorating".
What can be done?
It is important that we try to move Sneinton's Conservation Areas out of this limbo state. Removal of the "At Risk" status requires there to be significant positive changes AND a plan by the Local Authority created to manage the area and implement improvements. If these changes are not forthcoming then at some point we need to ask the question- are our Conservation Areas worth having?