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Conservation area consent

The consent of the Local Planning Authority is required for the demolition of most buildings in a conservation area. The total or substantial demolition of any building with a cubic content exceeding 115m³ (about the size of a double garage) will require the written consent of the Local Planning Authority.

Planning and historic environment

Local Planning Authorities will need detailed plans and drawings of proposed new development in a conservation area, and special regard should be had for matters as scale, height, form, massing, respect for the traditional pattern of frontages, vertical or horizontal emphasis, the scale and spacing of window openings and the nature and quality of materials.

A description of how the conservation area will be affected is also required. The level of detail within the description should be sufficient to understand the potential impact of the proposal on the conservation area. This description should be entitled as a ‘Heritage Statement’ and should be submitted for all developments in a conservation area.

Walls and boundary features

Conservation area consent is required for the demolition of any gate, wall, fence or railing which exceeds one metre in height adjoining a highway, waterway or public open space, or exceeds two metres in height in any other case.

There is a general presumption in favour of retaining buildings that make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of a conservation area. Conversely, the demolition of a building that makes a negative contribution to the area may be welcomed where it offers the opportunity to enhance the character of the area.

Works to trees

Anyone intending to cut down, top, lop or uproot any tree in a conservation area must give us six weeks notice in writing of their intention to do so.

This gives us the opportunity to consider making a Tree Preservation Order where appropriate. This requirement does not apply to trees that have a trunk diameter of less than 75mm (3”) when measured 1.5 metres above ground level.

Planning permission

In most cases, the need to apply for planning permission is unaffected by conservation area designation. However, any application will be decided with reference to the historic environment, to ensure that new development is sympathetic in its scale, form, materials and detailing.

In addition to existing planning controls, the following works will require planning permission where they are carried out in a conservation area:

Extending beyond a wall forming a front or side elevation.

Would have more than one storey and extend beyond the rear wall.

Enlarging a dwelling via an addition or alteration to the shape of its roof. Roof lights do not usually require permission.

Cladding any part of the exterior of the dwelling house with stone, artificial stone, pebble dash, render, timber, plastic or tiles.

Development is not permitted if any part of the building, enclosure, pool or container would be situated on land between a wall forming a front or side elevation of the dwelling house and the boundary of the curtilage of the dwelling house.

Mounting a satellite dish on a chimney, on a building more than 15m in height, or on a wall or roof slope fronting onto a highway.

On a wall which fronts a highway, if for domestic premises.
On a wall or roof slope which fronts a highway – if for non-domestic premises.

Any stand alone solar that is nearer to any highway which bounds the curtilage than the part of the dwelling house or block of flats which is nearest to that highway.

Fronts a highway, and forms either the principal elevation or a side elevation of the dwelling house.

Building regulations

Under Approved Document L1B: Conservation of Fuel and Power in Existing Buildings 2010 (as amended), historic buildings in conservation areas enjoy flexibility within the regulations 'where compliance with the energy efficiency requirement would unacceptably alter their character or appearance'.

This flexibility may be particularly pertinent where works to improve the thermal efficiency of a property might involve the removal of original single glazed windows.

Under Approved document M: Access to and use of buildings 2015 (as amended) Volumes 1 and 2, historic buildings in conservation areas enjoy flexibility within the regulations, to improve access 'provided that the work does not prejudice the character of the historic building'.

The Equalities Act 2010 requires all businesses providing services to the public to make reasonable adjustments to their premises to make them both accessible and usable by disabled people.

Planning permission for these ‘adjustments’ may not be given for buildings in a conservation area, where the works would detract from the special character of the area. In such cases it may not be considered ‘reasonable’ for such adjustments to be made.

Article 4 Directions

Where there is proven public support, we may remove certain 'permitted development rights' from dwellings in a conservation area. This is done by making a Direction under Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995.

An Article 4 Direction can be applied across all or part of a conservation area. It can address any form of ‘permitted development’ that might harm the character of such an area, such as the replacement of windows or roof surfaces, or the painting of bare brick or stone facades.

Please note that flats and commercial premises have NO Permitted Development Rights.

Urgent works

We have powers to preserve buildings that make a particularly positive contribution to a conservation area. Where such a building is unoccupied, and where works appear urgently necessary to preserve the character of the conservation area, the Secretary of State may direct that the Local Authority may undertake urgent works to the building under Section 54 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.