Living in a conservation area

This guide explains what form of development requires planning permission in a Conservation Area.

The purpose

Conservation Areas are designated by the Borough Council to protect those parts of our towns and villages which have special architectural or historic character. The purpose of Conservation Areas is to help prevent the erosion of those special architectural and historic qualities by controlling unsympathetic alterations and development, or loss from demolition.

The primary aim is to preserve and enhance the character of an area as a whole rather than by simply protecting individual buildings. The designation of a Conservation Area is not intended to prevent subsequent development, as sensitively designed new buildings can often enhance the character of a Conservation Area.

High standards of design will be expected for new buildings in Conservation Areas to ensure that the character of the area is maintained or enhanced.

The Council's duty

The Borough Council has a duty to designate as Conservation Areas any "areas of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance". Assessment of whether an area is worthy of Conservation Area status is based on guidelines issued by the Government and English Heritage.

Assessment is made with regard to traditional materials and features, particularly those in a local style or buildings which form part of a scheme of architectural or town planning significance. Archaeology, landscape and setting, landmarks, vistas and the pattern of development are also important considerations.

Permitted development

Most householders are able to carry out certain alterations to their properties without the need to obtain planning permission. These are known as "permitted development rights". In Conservation Areas some of these rights are removed and planning permission is required for such development.

Demolition or part demolition of buildings in Conservation Areas almost always requires Conservation Area Consent. The advice of staff within the Planning Division should always be sought before considering any demolition works.

Additional protection

Some unlisted buildings of particular character within Conservation Areas may be considered worthy or further protection from unsympathetic alterations and development. This may be done by removing further permitted development rights by making Article 4 directions. These apply to individual properties and the permitted development rights removed will depend on the particular circumstances of each affected property.

The Borough Council may wish in future, to make Article 4 directions in Conservation Areas to strengthen the character and appearance of existing Conservation Areas. When Article 4 directions are to be proposed the Borough Council will first consult fully with all affected property owners.

Planning permission will be required for any external alterations for which permitted development rights have been removed via an Article 4 direction. No fees are payable for applications made necessary solely on account of Article 4 directions.

Remember this guide only applies to single family dwelling houses and does not apply to flats, apartments and boarding houses. Before carrying out any work please speak to staff in the Planning Division.

Please Note: Conservation Area Consent is required for the demolition of buildings or structures which are likely to have an effect on the character and appearance of the conservation area including any gate, wall etc., which exceeds 1 metres in height where it abuts a highway or 2 metres elsewhere.

In the case of a listed building, anyone wishing to demolish it or to alter it in any way which affects its interior or exterior character must first obtain Listed Building Consent in addition to
any need to obtain planning permission.

TV aerial

  • Standard TV equipment does not normally require permission

  • But specialised masts, poles (or flag) advertisements may need permission

Satellite antenna

Does not require permission, provided:

  • It does not exceed 70 centimetres measured in any direction

  • No part of the antenna exceeds in height the highest part of the roof

  • There is no other antenna on the house or within its curtilage

  • The antenna is not to be installed on a chimney

  • The building does not exceed 15 metres in height

  • The antenna is not on a wall or roof slope which fronts a highway

Cladding

  • permission is required to clad any part of the exterior with stone, artificial stone, timber, plastic or tiles.

Domestic outbuildings
(Including sheds, greenhouses and pets enclosures)

Permission not required, provided:

  • It does not consist of the provision, alteration or improvement of a building with a cubic content greater than 10 cubic metres (detached outbuildings which have a cubic content greater than 10 cubic metres are treated as enlargements to the house)

  • The outbuilding is no nearer to any highway which bounds the curtilage than the original dwelling or 20m, whichever is nearest

  • The height of the building or enclosure does not exceed 4 m in the case of a building with a ridged roof; 3 m in any other case.

Planting hedges and trees

Do not require permission:

  • but it is advisable to have regard to the eventual size and growth habit of the
    species selected.

Extensions, including outbuildings

Permission not required, provided:

  • the works do not result in the volume of the original house being increased by more than 50 cubic metres, or 10% in volume (to a max of 115 cubic metres)

  • the height of the roof to the original house is not exceeded

  • no part of the extension is nearer to any adjacent highway than any part of the original house or 20m, whichever is nearest

  • the extension does not exceed 4m in height over any part within 2 metres of a boundary or

  • the total area of ground covered by buildings within the curtilage (excluding the original dwelling house) does not exceed 50% of the total area of land within the curtilage.

Fences, walls and gates

Do not require permission, provided:

  • they do not exceed 1 metre in height where they are adjacent to a highway used by vehicular traffic or 2 metres elsewhere

  • the property is not a Listed Building

Formation of window or door opening

Does not require permission provided:

  • the building is not listed

Access

Does not require permission, provided:

  • the highway is neither a trunk road or a classified road

Hardstanding

Does not require permission, provided:

  • it is used solely for domestic purposes

Trees

  • All trees within a Conservation Area are protected by legislation. Any person intending to carry out work on trees with a stem diameter greater than 75mm (felling, lopping or pruning) must give six weeks notice to the Borough Council in writing.

  • The Borough Council will assess the work and either give consent or place a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on the tree. If the six week period passes without a response from the Local Authority then the work may proceed.

  • Some trees are also protected by TPO's. Permission is required from the Borough Council before any works are carried out to these trees whatever their size.

  • Tree works to Conservation Area trees or trees subject to a TPO do not require formal permission if the tree is dead, dying or dangerous. However, any person wanting to cut down or destroy a tree under this exemption still has to give the Borough Council five days notice of their intentions, unless it is an emergency. Even then it is strongly recommended that advice is sought from the Borough Council's Landscape Practice Manager before proceeding. 

Porches

Do not require permission, provided:

  • the externally measured floor area does not exceed 3 square metres

  • the height does not exceed 3 metres above ground level

  • no part is closer to a highway than 2 metres

  • the property is not a Listed Building

Roof alterations

The enlargement of a dwelling house consisting of an addition or alteration to its roof requires permission. Repairs may not do so, provided this does not materially alter the shape of the dwelling house (e.g. dormer windows). Any alteration which would result in an extension of the plane of any existing roof slope fronting a highway requires planning permission (This may include velux windows and roof lights).

Contact for Conservation