The Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 creates special controls for areas designated as conservation areas. Conservation area controls apply in addition to normal planning controls.
Conservation areas can be designated by a local authority, by Historic England (only in London), or by the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport. There are approximately 10,000 conservation areas in England.
When considering the designation of conservation areas, local planning authorities should ensure that an area justifies such status because of its special architectural or historic interest, and that the concept of conservation is not devalued through the designation of areas that lack special interest.
If an area is designated as a conservation area, special planning controls apply:
- Minor changes that might otherwise be considered ‘permitted development’ such as adding an extension, installing dormer windows or satellite dishes may not be permitted. Article 4 directions are used by local authorities to remove the right to permitted development. As article 4 directions are specific to particular local authorities, it is important to contact them directly to establish whether minor changes are allowed within a particular conservation area.
- Cutting down , lopping or topping trees must notified to the local authority 6 weeks in advance so that they can consider whether the tree contributes to the character of the conservation area and whether to impose a tree preservation order.
- Proposed developments must preserve or enhance the special architectural or historic character of the conservation area. This does not specifically exclude innovative proposals but they must be sympathetic to their context.
Following the introduction of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, it is no longer necessary to obtain Conservation Area Consent when demolishing unlisted buildings in conservation areas, planning permission will be required instead. Failure to obtain such permission remains a criminal offence.
Local authorities should develop policies to help preserve and enhance the character and appearance of conservation areas. Developers considering projects in conservation areas should contact the local authority conservation officer to find out what the local policies are and whether conservation area consent may be required. When considering an application, the local authority should consider the contribution the proposals would make to preserving or enhancing the conservation area. Decisions will generally take 8 to 13 weeks, and appeals can be submitted to the Secretary of State within 6 months. Applying for conservation area consent is free.
It is a criminal offence to undertake work in a conservation area without consent, and the local planning authority can insist that the work is reversed.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Archaeological officer.
- Article 4 direction.
- Building an extension.
- Conservation officer.
- Conservation practice survey 2016.
- Definition of tree for planning purposes.
- Designated areas.
- Ecclesiastical exemption.
- Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 and listed buildings.
- Historic England.
- Listed buildings.
- Planning authority duty to provide specialist conservation advice.
- Planning permission.
- National Planning Policy Framework.
- Permitted development.
- Scheduled monuments.
- Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
- Tree preservation order.
- Trees in conservation areas.
- VAT - protected buildings.
Featured articles and news
The IHBC helps UK Civic Trusts to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the introduction of Conservation Areas, with a fund allocation of up to £2500, including a prize of a place at the IHBC’s Annual School on offer for the most effective project.
The IHBC’s commercial conservation services listing, HESPR – the Historic Environment Service Providers Recognition scheme – offers weekly HESPR Bulletins listing tender opportunities. The Director’s top pick for IHBC members this week features Redbridge Borough Council’s search for a ‘consultant to provide additional guidance to support the Council’s evidence base in relation to tall buildings throughout the Borough’, with a contract valued at £60,000.
This year the AGM will be held in Lisburn on 9th November, followed by the joint conference ‘Heritage for the Next Generation, Who Pays?’, organised by the Branch with Lagan Navigation Trust and Heritage Trust Network. Key ministerial and media speakers include Paul Givan MLA, John Sergeant and Joe Mahon.
The IHBC has warmly welcomed Historic Environment Scotland's (HES) new website, a ‘Place to Explore your Built Heritage'.
Bristol may have lost one of its oldest and most historically important churches as St Michael on the Mount Without adds itself to the long line of listed buildings assailed by fire.
A resident has been fined £1,600 after Harlow Council took him to court for failing to demolish an outbuilding he has built in his garden, as Councillor Danny Purton, Portfolio Holder for Environment there, said: ‘… People living in a conservation area take pride in maintaining its special character and this development does more harm than good and does nothing to either preserve or enhance the appearance of the area. There are no public benefits to outweigh the harm this causes.’
On 12 October 2016, the AQA exam board announced that it would not be continuing work to develop new AS and A-levels in Archaeology, Classical Civilisation, History of Art and Statistics, and petitions objecting to these plans have been generating lots of signatures.
Firefighters worked through the night of 13 October to battle a huge blaze at a former north-east hospital, the derelict Glen O’Dee hospital, Banchory as now news reports have emerged that the Category A listed building, which once featured on the BBC ‘Restoration’ programme, has been deliberately destroyed by fire.
An appeal launched relating to housing near the historic battlefield of Edgehill, Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire has been dismissed, with the inspector concluding that the appeal was not in accordance with the development plan and that harm to the character of the surroundings would be likely to occur.
The remembrance poppy sculpture ‘weeping window’ which was initially at the Tower of London now graces another monument, this time in Wales, at Caernarfon Castle.