Conservation areas are defined in the Town and Country Planning Acts as "areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance". They are a unique form of conservation because they not only protect listed buildings. They include unlisted buildings, open spaces, trees and special features that make an area locally distinctive.
Local planning authorities are required to designate conservation areas where it is considered appropriate within the areas that they cover. They all have their own individual Conservation Area Appraisals, which define their special architectural and historic character. Each appraisal has been adopted by the council as a supplementary planning document and is intended to be used a guide for residents and those wanting to make a planning application for a site within a conservation area. The appraisals have a useful summary map at the back which is worth referring to for a quick guide.
Our conservation areas are reviewed from time to time to look at their boundaries and to update and improve their appraisals. We also consider the designation of new conservation areas following requests to do so by parish councils or through neighbourhood plans.
You can use our Geographic Information System to view online maps of conservation areas.
The principal consequences of conservation area designation are:
Summary of permitted development rights in a conservation area
|Type of Work||Planning application?|
|Demolition of building whose total volume is less than 115 cubic metres as ascertained by external measurement)||Not needed|
|Demolition of any gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure less than 1 metre high where fronting a highway (including a public footpath or bridleway), waterway or open space; or less than 2 metres high in any other case.||Not needed|
|Demolition of any building erected since 1 January 1914 and in use, or last used, for the purposes of agriculture or forestry||Not needed|
|Demolition works required or permitted under certain legislation||Not needed|
|Demolition of entire building of more than 115 cubic metres in volume||Always needed|
|Demolition of entire building except façade prior to redevelopment||Probably needed|
|Other partial demolition||Needed if the works amount to a building operation|
|External alteration or extension of building (not “permitted development”)||Always needed|
|External alteration or extension building (permitted development)||Not needed except where required by an Article 4 direction or a condition on a previous permission|
|Non-material minor external alteration to building (not “development”)||Not needed|
|Alteration to interior of building||Not needed|
|Erection of new building||Almost always needed|