EVEN more of Leek's historic core and heritage will now be protected thanks to an extension of the town's conservation area boundary.
For more than 40 years the town centre has been designated as a conservation area, but its character is still at risk from harmful alterations to some of its buildings.
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council agreed to extend the boundary and adopt the Conservation Area Character Appraisal document, which sets out what is important about the area and what it aims to protect.
The council has also withdrawn some permitted development rights which mainly affect domestic properties, and mean that a number of minor alterations including changes to windows and doors or installation of satellite dishes or solar panels will now require planning permission if they are visible on the front of properties.
Councillor Edwin Wain, cabinet member for planning, development and property, said: "We've introduced these changes following extensive public consultation in the summer. The whole aim is to protect what is so special about the town centre's architectural and historic character.
"That's why it's important that we have introduced the need for planning permission for significant changes to properties as any alterations not in keeping with the historic appearance can be harmful to the character of the whole town centre. It's this character which gives Leek such unique appeal, and that's what we want to preserve for this and future generations."
Leaflets are now being distributed to every address in the Leek conservation area detailing the proposals and what they mean for affected buildings.
Details on all the changes are available on the Council's website www.staffsmoorlands.gov.uk. Anyone wishing to discuss the changes can contact the conservation section on 0345 605 3013 or email email@example.com.