Katesgrove includes parts of three of Reading’ s Conservation Areas. The Christchurch Conservation Area is closest to the Whitley Pump, the Kendrick Conservation Area is further down Kendrick Road towards London Road, and the Market Place / London Street Conservation Area is almost in the centre of Reading.
Additional planning restrictions apply to buildings within conservation areas and six weeks notice is required to the council for work on trees. Conservation areas are an important aspect of preserving the heritage of Reading, but it’s not all about buildings. Historic England say:
Conservation areas can be created where a local planning authority identifies an area of special architectural or historic interest which deserves careful management to protect that character.
Nationally, there are a wide variety of reasons for the designation of conservation areas:
- areas with a high number of nationally designated heritage assets and a variety of architectural styles and historic association,
- those linked to a particular industry or individual with a particular local interest,
- where an earlier, historically significant, layout is visible in the modern street pattern,
- where a particular style of architecture or traditional building materials predominate,
- areas designated because of the quality of the public realm or a spatial element, such as a design form or settlement pattern, green spaces which are an essential component of a wider historic area, and historic parks and gardens and other designed landscapes, including those included on the Historic England Register of parks and gardens of special historic interest.
An appraisal is produced as part of the designation of a conservation area. This includes a ‘summary of special interest’ setting out the reasons for designation.
Christchurch Conservation Area
This conservation area is compact and mostly within Katesgrove ward. It was first designated in 1987. Most of the properties in the area are residential, but some are associated with Christchurch and Abbey Junior School. The Hillingdon Prince Hotel is also within this conservation area.
The summary of special interest for this conservation area states:
The Christchurch Conservation Area comprises a tightly drawn, essentially Victorian/Edwardian suburb of Reading, loosely centered on Christchurch itself, a Grade II* listed building. It has street frontages to Christchurch Road which runs east-west to the north of the area, and the north side of the parallel Christchurch Gardens to the south of the area, together with the north-south frontages of Vicarage Road, Glebe Road and the east side of Basingstoke Road which link them. Small portions of Sutherlands Avenue and the southern end of Kendrick Road on the north side of Christchurch Road also fall within the area.
Christchurch is Grade II* listed and was built in the 1860s. There are other Grade II listed buildings in the area including Whitley Villa Surgery, on the corner of Highgrove Street and Christchurch Road, and the other buildings along the north side of the road up to the junction with Kendrick Road. Whitley Villa and 3-25 Christchurch Road were built before 1840 and 27-33 around 1840, so these are some of the oldest buildings in this part of Reading.