RESIDENTS in Ashwell and Whitwell are being encouraged to have their say about how best to protect the appearance of their village.
Rutland County Council is seeking views on possible changes to the conservation areas which are already in place throughout both villages.
The purpose of a conservation area is not to prevent development but to make sure that any changes made do not have a negative impact on the local character of the area.
A draft conservation area appraisal has been produced for both villages, which provides more detailed guidance on their special character and appearance. These aim to specify what is important about a conservation area and what further measures could be taken to protect it.
Deputy leader of Rutland County Council Councillor Terry King (Con) said: “There are already 34 conservation areas in Rutland and they work extremely well to protect the heritage and rural nature of our villages.
“It’s important that we revisit them from time-to-time to make sure they are still relevant and whether any changes need to be made.”
Coun King added: “Those living in Ashwell and Whitwell should see this as a chance to comment on whether any proposed changes are appropriate.
“It’s important they have their say as once agreed, the detail of each conservation area is taken into account when planning applications are considered. We want as many people as possible to comment from both areas and look forward to receiving their views.”
In Ashwell, it is recommended that houses still have to apply for planning permission to make any external changes to their property, but residents are specifically asked whether this should include solar panels on the front roof slope of houses.
In Whitwell, residents are being asked whether they want to introduce a rule about applying for planning permission, free of charge, when making changes to the front of properties, and whether or not the existing conservation area should be extended to cover land to the rear of buildings on the north side of the main road.
The full consultation documents for both Ashwell and Whitwell can be viewed at the Rutland County Council offices in Oakham, at all Rutland libraries or on the council website at www.rutland.gov.uk/conservationareaappraisals