What is a conservation area?

The statutory definition of a Conservation Area is an area of:

"special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance".

There is no standard specification for what constitutes a Conservation Area. Consequently they range in size from whole villages or town centres to small groups of buildings. Listed buildings may form part of a Conservation Area, but are not essential. Other attractive building groups, landscapes, historic street patterns, walls, trees and archaeological sites and monuments may also form the basis of a Conservation Area. It is the character of an area defined by its architectural and/or historical quality and interest that the legislation seeks to protect rather than simply individual buildings within the area.

Designation of a Conservation Area does not preclude new development or alterations to existing buildings but the Council does have a duty to ensure that any new development enhances or, at the very least, does not harm the character or appearance of the area. It is therefore important that the qualities and character of the area which resulted in the designation of the conservation area are identified and recognised.