Work is under way to ensure a key area of Middlesbrough retains its historic character.
Linthorpe Conservation Area – one of eight in the borough – is protected by planning regulations designed to safeguard it.
Legislation gives the Council extra control over external alterations to houses within the conservation area – and those overstepping the mark can face costly legal action.
Over recent weeks officers have been undertaking a re-survey of the area to update records and remind residents who are planning extensions and other development that the rules are still in force.
Conservation Officer Heather Nelson said: “We know that Linthorpe Conservation Area is a valued area and a major factor in this is its retained historic form, layout and features.
“It’s not just about the age or design of individual buildings, but the contribution of the whole area.
“The re-survey enables us to better deal with enquiries and planning applications, as well as giving us evidence to take enforcement action should harmful development take place without planning permission.
“If historic characteristics are not preserved on a scheme-by-scheme basis, then over time the unique characteristics of an area can become diluted, and this is something we seek to avoid.
“We are always grateful to residents who seek our advice before applying for planning permission – unauthorised development can be time-consuming and costly to rectify.”
Middlesbrough Council has recently won appeals against retrospective inappropriate development in the Conservation Area, as well as requiring Tesco to undo unauthorised development and restore historic elements at the former Pybus building.
Park Ward member Councillor Margaret Walters said: “The aim is to help protect what local residents value about their area, including the buildings and their features and materials, gardens, boundary walls and trees.
“The legislation gives us a greater ability to manage change in the area, and we’re always happy to discuss schemes early on to avoid problems further down the line.
“This is something we take very seriously, and I’m grateful to our conservation and planning officers for their hard work which will stand Linthorpe and the other conservation areas in good stead for many years to come.”
Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s Historic Environment Champion, added: “Despite its relative youth, Middlesbrough has a rich heritage which we must preserve for future generations.
“Particular areas have their own character and significant buildings, and Conservation Areas are an important way of preserving as much of that as possible for future generations.
“Collectively, property owners and the Council are the custodians of Middlesbrough’s conservation areas - something that everyone should be proud and committed to be associated with.”
Middlesbrough’s other conservation areas include Acklam Hall, Nunthorpe, Stainton and Thornton, Marton and The Grove, part of the Ormesby Hall Conservation Area and the historic area around the town’s Railway Station.
Planning Services provide free pre-application advice to guide development and change.