Residents are very proud of their individual villages, the wonderful countryside and the historic architectural heritage of their former agricultural communities. While only a small number of villagers are now engaged in agricultural work, most residents have chosen to live in Micheldever to enjoy a rural life-style and to be at one with the countryside. As detailed earlier in this VDS the heritage of Micheldever can be traced to Roman and Anglo Saxon roots. Almost a quarter of the 469 houses in the parish are listed buildings, some of which date from the 15th century, and there are many more buildings of great visual merit.
Architectural changes have occurred over the centuries and the future will, inevitably, bring more changes, but at Micheldever a parish character has been created that has evolved into a thriving community with a rural heritage in the heart of Hampshire. Working together, the residents, Micheldever Parish Council and Winchester City Council can ensure the conservation of this magnificent heritage for the enjoyment of future generations.
In the years ahead Winchester City Council and Micheldever Parish Council will need to work in close partnership when considering building plans and proposals, and be alert to any adverse impact on the landscape that could arise from a planning application. The principal objective to be borne in mind is to ensure any proposed changes will be managed in a way that preserves the rural nature and special architectural and landscape character of Micheldever for the enjoyment of future generations.
Current residents, during their relatively short period of residency in a property, are merely stewards. It has become apparent, during the twelve months it has taken villagers to prepare this VDS, that they willingly accept a responsibility to maintain and enhance the wonderful architectural, landscape and historical features they inherit as a consequence of residing in the parish. Collectively and individually they wish to ensure its conservation.
It is important to emphasise to residents and property owners who are considering altering or extending their homes, or undertaking a new building project, that good design does not necessarily involve greater long-term cost. Employing an architect and using better materials may initially cost a little more, but a well designed and well constructed new building or extension/alterations to an existing building, is likely to cost less to maintain and will, almost certainly, increase its value.
In the Micheldever Parish Appraisal 2000 Report, published in March 2001, it was recorded that small-scale development of affordable housing within the environs of the villages is particularly needed at the current time, and will generally be welcomed by residents.
This Village Design Statement has, among many other issues, explored the landscape characteristics of the area and draws the conclusion that any large-scale development on the agricultural land surrounding the villages would impact adversely on the character of the parish and its natural landscape. This coincides with another finding of the Parish Appraisal 2000 Report where it was recorded that 87% of the respondents expressed opposition to any large-scale development at Micheldever Station.
The Design Statement Team therefore concludes that conservation of the character of Micheldever parish will be best achieved by the retention of the existing landscape and open areas and by the use of traditional materials in its buildings, such as brick and flint, with roofs of thatch, slate or clay tiles. Local architectural features and details should be incorporated where possible to enhance the design of new buildings. In this way the villages will retain their individual characters and will avoid being slowly converted into clones of many other Hampshire villages that have become, architecturally, both mediocre and uninspiring.
The VDS is a guide to assist all current and future residents, the Parish Council, Winchester City Council, planners, property owners, designers, architects and developers to understand what is so special about the local natural and "built" environments of the parish.
The longer-term objective is for it to become a valuable reference book and a source of ideas to ensure that existing local building design and landscape traditions will be continued into the future.
It is hoped that the Micheldever Village Design Statement 2002 will play a significant part in helping to retain the special and unique character of Micheldever parish throughout the 21st century.