As property finders we are frequently called upon for advice on a wide range of topics, including the complex subject of buying property in Conservation Areas.
There are over 10,000 Conservation Areas in England; every local authority in the country contains at least one. Conservation Areas vastly differ in size and how many buildings are within them, with the largest in England being Swaledale and Arkengarthdale which is located in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Stamford in Lincolnshire was the first conservation area to be designated.
With many of the most desirable period homes being situated
within a Conservation Area we are often asked what it means, will it impact the
purchase or any plans for the property?
What is a conservation area?
A Conservation Area is an area considered to be of architectural and historic interest, features that make it unique. Unlike other heritage assets such as Scheduled Monuments or Listed Buildings, a Conservation Area is defined by the local authority.
In a Conservation Area the protection and enhancement of the
area as a whole is considered rather than just specific buildings.
Considerations over the area will include the historic layouts of roads and
boundaries, what an area might be used for and any other associations.
Conservation Areas can be designated by the local authority
for the area, by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport or in
London by Historic England.
The National Planning Policy Framework states that those designating an area as a Conservation Area should ensure: ‘an area justifies such status because of architectural or historic interest, and that the concept of conservation is not devalued through the designation of areas that lack special interest.’
Conservation Areas tend to be unique and special and have
characterful features of significance and are often a very desirable place to
live within their locality.
Property within a Conservation Area
Conservation Areas do usually come with additional planning
controls and considerations, in order to protect the architectural and historic
elements which make the area special. Overall they are most likely to affect
home owners who wish to alter the outside of a property or any trees within
If you’re considering a property within a Conservation Area it’s important to understand the implications; there might be special controls in place, called ‘Article 4 Directions’. These will restrict work you can carry out without gaining planning permission and can include elements such as gutters, windows and doors.
These controls change according to the local authority
within which the property is situated so it’s best to establish what will be in
place by contacting the local planning authority directly.
Trees are also included within the remit of a Conservation
Area; if you intend to cut down or lop or top even the smallest of trees within
a Conservation Area you must notify your local planning authority at least 6
weeks before the planned works. The local planning authority will then consider
if the tree makes a significant contribution to the character of the area and
if deemed necessary they will create a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) to protect
Permitted Development Rights in Conservation Areas
It is often the case that Permitted Development rights are
different in Conservation Areas and you will need to make planning applications
for some work where you wouldn’t usually have to outside of a Conservation
Most local planning authorities have prepared a Conservation
Area Appraisal which outlines the history and why the area is special, it also
usually includes information about development in the area and general
guidelines. The local planning authority
may also produce Supplementary Planning Documents for their conservation areas
which will show how they intend to manage the area in the future.
If you are considering purchasing a property in a
conservation area or already own a property in a conservation area and are
considering doing works to your property it is worth contacting your local
planning authority to see if these documents exist as they should provide
Living in a Conservation Area
As we’ve highlighted in this article, conservation areas
come with additional rules and require additional permissions in most case when
it comes to undertaking development or building works.
We have found it to overwhelmingly be the case that homes in
conservation areas are in fat more desirable.
Conservation Areas tend to be well maintained and have a
certain look and feel that makes them special. That is of course the reason
that the it was designated a conservation area in the first place.
Professional Property Finders
If you’re looking for a special type of property, a period
home filled with character or considering purchasing a property within a
Conservation Area we would be delighted to provide our expertise to ensure you
find the best possible property and make a well informed purchasing decision.
With many years’ experience sourcing and acquiring property on the behalf of private clients our team area well placed to assist. For a no obligation discussion regarding your property requirements and our services please contact us.