Seaford Register of buildings of local historical, architectural or social interest
A public perspective
At the last count, Seaford and its environs had about 65 Listed Buildings and
Monuments, but such a list can provide only a brief glimpse of the majority of
the range of buildings and other structures which give the town its character
Very often locally significant buildings are taken for granted, not noticed
until they are threatened in some way: by redevelopment; by demolition; by
alteration beyond recognition, or by dereliction and abandonment. But once
these buildings have gone or been changed, a part of the character of the town
is lost, never to be regained.
But this is not to argue that nothing must change or that the townscape must be
preserved at all costs. Change can bring new life, and like most places Seaford
has its fair share of the dreadful and nondescript buildings we could all live
without. The skill is identifying what’s worth keeping!
The Seaford Register:
Is a voluntary record of buildings which have been identified by local people as
having some special meaning to the town. It has no legal status and offers no
special protection to the buildings recorded, but it is hoped that being on the
Register might cause developers and town planners to think more carefully before
agreeing to changes. However, it should not be seen as a “NIMBY Charter”, but
as a contribution to the ongoing debate about the shape of the town and striking
the right balance between preserving the past and encouraging the future.
Lewes District Council Planning Department
are in the process
of developing “Local Lists” for the individual communities in the District, and
it’s hoped the Seaford Register will contribute to the local consultation which
informs that process in the town.
What’s to be included on the Register?
The use of the word “building” is in itself an issue. It should be seen as
shorthand for any structure, (or group of structures), or place which seems
suitable for nomination, so it could include buildings, monuments, walls, open
spaces, in effect anything of a permanent nature which influences the town. But
the character of a town isn’t just determined by its buildings, but by the
people who have lived, worked and visited the town, and by the events which have
taken place over the years. So, as well as being of architectural significance,
the Register could include entries which are regarded by local people as being
important, either because they have visual significance or because they have
some association with people or events which have a part to play in the history
or life of the town.
How does the Register work?
The Register is supported and maintained by the Heritage Group of the Seaford
Museum and Heritage Society. The role of the Group is to receive nominations
for registration and to collate information on the nominated buildings from its
own extensive records and other sources where available.
The Group may undertake new research on some of the nominated buildings,
including archive research and making photographic records. As with other
Museum records, the Register is available for public inspection but it may be
necessary to withhold access to sensitive information on occasions according to
agreed guidelines. Buildings will normally be added to the Register on
nomination provided it appears to the Group that the nomination has been made in
good faith and basic information has been provided.
What about the property owners?
The owners and custodians of the nominated buildings are a potentially valuable
source of information, for example from original property deeds and other
information they hold. It’s hoped that owners will self-nominate, or be prepared
to co-operate in the compilation of the Register entry for their property.
However, as it seems likely that the majority of the nominated buildings will be
in private ownership, care will be taken to ensure the owners do not feel their
privacy or security is being invaded and it is for this reason that the Group
will reserve the right to withhold some information.
The Group will also undertake to inform owners that their building has been
nominated for inclusion on the Register.
Are the boundaries for nomination too loose?
It’s important to recognise that the purpose of the Register is to contribute to
our knowledge and understanding of Seaford as it is now, has been in the past
and will be in the future. It’s not intended to be a part of the local town
planning process and for that reason will run as an independent initiative
alongside any Local List to be developed and maintained by Lewes District
Council Planning Department.
Nor is the Register intended to be a statement of “good taste” about our local
built environment: Seafordians are far too independent to be lectured on such
matters of taste!
Who can nominate a building?
A simple nomination form provides the means by which any member of the public
can nominate a building. The nomination form seeks both the reasons for
nomination and any background information supporting the nomination. You can
get a copy of the form from the Museum and it should be returned to: The
Heritage Group, Seaford Museum, Martello Tower 74, PO Box 2132, The Esplanade,
Seaford, BN25 9BH, or handed in at the Museum during normal opening hours.
copy can be downloaded here.
(Please note there isn’t a letterbox at the Tower).
The Register is being compiled as a voluntary initiative to record buildings and
structures which add to the character of Seaford. Entry on the Register will not
offer any special protection to the buildings recorded. The information will be
available for public enquiry alongside the other archival material held by the
Museum. Whilst the Heritage Group and the Museum will take all reasonable steps
to check the validity of the information it receives, it cannot be responsible
for the accuracy of the material submitted and held: it reserves the right to
refuse to record any information it believes might be inappropriate.