HISTORIC concrete cottages have been turned into a conservation area to pave the way for their restoration.

Woodfield Cottages, in Heybridge, were built in 1873 and are a pioneering example of mass concrete construction.

But Maldon District Council says some of the 41 buildings have been altered in ways which detract from their traditional character and others are in a poor state of repair.

The council launched a public consultation last year over proposals to improve the appearance of Woodfield Cottages.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: An artist's impression of what the cottages could look likeAn artist's impression of what the cottages could look like

Its first step was to turn the cottages into a conservation area which would pave the way for Historic England grants so owners can carry out work to enhance the historic buildings.

This was voted on by district councillors last Thursday, who approved the move to create a conservation area for the cottages.

A listed building order has also been adopted which would grant automatic consent for selected “enhancement opportunities” on the homes.

A specialist conservation officer said at the meeting: “What we are doing here is quite pioneering.

“Very few other local authorities in the country have adopted local listed building consent orders and this would be the first of its type in East Anglia.”