Conservation area plan in West Derby

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Historic buildings such as the West Derby courthouse from the 1600s are part of the conservation area

A local councillor has spoken about the importance of extending the conservation area in one of Liverpool’s oldest villages, to include more historic sites.

At a recent cabinet meeting, Liverpool City Council approved plans to give further protection to the West Derby conservation area which will see the old Norman castle site – dating back to the 11th Century – as well as 17 other listed buildings encompassed within the zone.

Councillor Pam Thomas, who has represented her West Derby ward since May 2010, believes the village is a very important part of the region. She said: “It’s about preserving the historical heritage; it’s a very important village.

“It’s about protecting that and heritage and history is important because it teaches us about why we are doing the things we do today and how our culture developed the way it has. It gives a sense of character and interest and that can be good in terms of visitors.”

Thomas is hopeful of improving the tourism in the area and revealed she and her fellow councillors are hoping to enhance this. She added: “We’re looking at ways of promoting the village for tourism and connect it with tourists’ interests. When you get places like this people want to come and live here, it’s a much sought-after area and the old buildings are part of that.”

Despite original opposition St Mary’s Church has been included in the conservation area

Despite opposition from St Mary’s Church regarding its own rectory being included in the conservation area, Thomas feels it is not of particular concern as there are no definite plans to do anything with the site. She said: “There were some concerns about whether the house was in good condition.

“There’s two points of view: one is it’s not that in good a condition and maybe we should replace it with something better, maybe we could put several houses on there. Then other people are saying ‘no it’s part of West Derby, it is of historical interest and it should stay as it is.’ That’s where the controversy is.”

Thomas is also adamant that more should be done to highlight the historical values of a village which she feels is undervalued by many, adding: “If this was in the Cotswolds you’d have coaches coming to see these old buildings and also the old courthouse and stocks which date back to the 1600s.”

About Joel Richards, JMU Journalism