Development in Conservation Areas is more strictly controlled than elsewhere, the intention being not to prevent change but to ensure that the main features of the area are conserved and that new development is sympathetic in character.
Thus, only detailed plans and not outline applications will normally be considered for new development in Conservation Areas.
The Local Planning Authority will require new development in Conservation Areas to have close regard to the scale, traditional building forms, materials and techniques characteristic of the areas.
The designation of Conservation areas is normally a result of special architectural or historic interest of an area, the character or appearance of which should be preserved or enhanced.
The special character of these areas is not just made up of buildings, it is also defined by other
features which contribute to particular views and local characteristics, such as:
the way roads, paths and boundaries are laid out
characteristic building and paving materials
the way buildings are used
public and private spaces, such as gardens, parks and greens
trees and street furniture.
What Requires Conservation Area Consent?
Conservation Area Consent is required for any substantial or the total demolition of an unlisted building in a conservation area.
In a conservation area you do not need consent to demolish a building which does not exceed 115 cubic metres or to take down any wall, gate or fence which is less than 1 metre high where abutting a highway, or less than 2 metres high elsewhere.
The local planning authority administers conservation Area Consent.
Local authorities will normally produce Supplementary Planning Documents for their conservation areas to assist residents and developers.
If Conservation Area Consent is refused you have six months in which you can appeal,
or you can alter your plans, based on the written advice provided, and re-
Applying for Conservation Area Consent is free.
When a Council considers whether to grant or to refuse an application, it must have special regard to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the conservation area, and the features that make it special. Therefore you should also consider these issues when planning proposed changes.
Work Not Requiring Consent
Local authorities also have additional powers under planning legislation (eg Article 4 Directions) to control changes that might normally be permitted elsewhere. For example, this can include certain types of cladding, inserting dormer windows, and putting up satellite dishes that are visible from the street.
Proposals to cut down, top or lop a tree in a conservation area, whether or not it is covered by a Tree Preservation Order, has to give notice to the local authority. The authority can then consider the contribution the tree makes to the character of the area and if necessary make a Tree Preservation Order to protect it.
What Happens If I Carry Out Work Without Consent?
Carrying out work that requires Conservation Area Consent, without having first obtained that Consent, is a criminal offence and could result in prosecution.
Planning Authorities can insist that any work undertaken without Conservation Area Consent is reversed.
Consent can be applied for retrospectively but there is no guarantee that this will be given and prosecution may still take place.
In Greater London only, English Heritage must be notified of applications for the demolition of a building in a conservation area.