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If you’ve recently planned or researched extending your home or converting certain parts of it, you’ve probably come across the term ‘Conservation Area’. This guide will help you deal with the complications that may follow if your property is located within a conservation area, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your planning dreams, and we are here to help.
Let’s have a look….
Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 defines a conservation area as an ‘area of special architectural or historical interest’. The concept of these unique areas was introduced in England, Scotland and Wales by the Civic Amenities Act 1967. There are now almost 10,000 in the UK and planning within these areas is usually handled and designated by local authorities. The Act was created to protect and enhance features that make the place unique. Here are few facts about Conservation Areas in England:
● 2.2% of England (2,938 square kilometres) is a conservation area;
● They include the centres of older cities, towns, and villages - 59% of conservation areas are rural and 41% are in urban areas;
● The largest conservation area is Swaledale and Arkengarthdale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park;
● Wiltshire in South West England has the most conservation areas - 246 in the county.
● Some local authorities have special conservation officers who will automatically be designated as the case officer for all applications in Conservation Areas ;
● There is still a lot of open space in conservation areas.
Being in a conservation area might mean that your house is affected by special controls (called 'Article 4 Directions'). In addition to the normal planning controls, permission is required for certain other minor external works to a house within a conservation area:
· changes to external features like doors and windows
· the building of extensions
· building new structures
· demolishing buildings
· alterations to roofs
· the demolition of garden walls
· satellite dishes
· work on trees…
Also, keep in mind the biodiversity value of conservation areas. Protected species and habitats need to be labeled when reviewing buildings, sites, and planning works.
You can contact your Local Planning Authority since there is no national database. They can also tell you why the area has been declared a conservation area, and the level of legal protection it has in place. Also, they should be able to tell you what changes you can make to your home and what permissions you need.
Your Local Planning Authority could prepare a Conservation Area Appraisal and there may sometimes be a Supplementary Planning Document for their conservation areas (these show how the authority intends to manage the area in the long term).
Some local authority planning departments publish interactive maps on their websites which allow you to search for all planning legislation relevant to your property and some even allow you to search by a postcode.
Generally buying a home within a conservation area will cost more but your home will appreciate more than properties in other areas.
Being in a conservation area means that your planning proposal will need to be more sensitive to the local heritage and historical architectural language than a standard planning proposal. That said, it doesn't mean that you need to come up with a carbon copy of the Edwardian town house next door. At STACC we have a good architectural team that can work with you to come up with a good design that is sympathetic to your area. In fact, the local conservation area officer may well prefer this. Your application will be scrutinised by said local conservation area officer. They will be looking for high quality design that enhances and preserves aspects of the local area. A good tip is to call your local planning department and get as much information as you can before you and your chosen team start the design phase.
The STAAC team has carried out many successful applications in Conservation Areas and understands all the requirements well.
Permitted Development rights still exist in conservation areas but the rights are slightly different. They are reduced but not as much as you might expect.
These are some forms of development for which PD rules differ from other areas.:
1. You will need to apply for any extension other than a single storey rear extension of no more than 3m.
2. Planning Permission will be required for cladding the outside of your house (with stone, tiles, artificial stone, plastic, timber, render, or pebbledash).
3. For works on windows you will need permission for a radically different window scheme, but not for those with a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the house.
4. Planning approval will be required for solar panels only if they are wall-mounted.
5. You want to be able to erect an outbuilding to the side of the house under the PD rights.
For more information please contact us; professionals from the STAAC team can help you deal with all possible obstacles and will handle applications on your behalf smoothly and efficiently.