Conservation areas can be defined as "Areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance".
The Council is fortunate in having many fine buildings and areas which are distinguished by their architecture, landscape and history, creating an attractive environment that often is the product of several different eras. These areas are important examples of our social, cultural and aesthetic history and must be safeguarded from indiscriminate or ill-considered change. These areas often contain "Listed Buildings". However, it is not always enough to protect these buildings in isolation. Their surroundings and general environment are often of equal importance and conservation areas are intended to protect that environment. We have a responsibility to ensure that the character of these areas is not diminished in our lifetime.
Living in a Conservation Area
The designation of a conservation area indicates the Council's positive commitment to these areas and its intention to preserve and enhance the quality of the environment. However, conservation areas are not open-air museums but living communities which must be allowed to change over time in order to remain vital and prosperous. Consequently the emphasis is to guide and control development rather than to prevent it. It is important, though, that all new development should be sympathetic to the special architectural and aesthetic qualities of the area, particularly in terms of scale, design, materials and space between buildings.
The Council has statutory powers to control changes within conservation areas and these are summarised as follows:
Demolition of Buildings
Conservation Area Consent is required for the demolition in whole or part of most buildings and structures, including walls and outhouses. If demolition is being considered then advice should be sought from the Council.
If you wish to fell, lop or top or uproot trees within a conservation area, you must give the Council six weeks notice in writing. It is an offence to carry out the work within that period without the consent of the Council.
The siting of a satellite dish on the chimney stack or on the roof slope or elevation fronting the road requires consent from the Council.
Design of New Development
The Council has the power to require a very high standard of design which is sympathetic to the existing environment. New development must make a positive contribution to the character of the area. In view of this the Council can require additional information in support of any planning application showing how the proposal will relate to the conservation area. This can mean the submission of elevations of adjacent buildings, full details of the proposal and examples of materials and colours. Usually only a fully detailed planning application will be considered, which should be accompanied by a design statement.
The Council must advertise all planning applications affecting the character of conservation areas both on site and in the local paper.
Alterations to Roofs and Cladding of Buildings
Proposals to change the profile of a roof, for example with the provision of a dormer window, and to clad a building with a different material, such as imitation stone, require consent from the Council.
The Success of the Conservation Areas
The ultimate success of conservation areas will depend upon the care which individual owners take with the maintenance and repair of their properties and in any alterations or extensions they make.
For example original windows and doors should be repaired where possible, or replaced with new ones to match the originals in terms of materials used and details of their design. Cumulatively, even small changes can detract from the special character of an area.
Some conservation areas have additional controls to the ones described here and information on this can be gained from the contact details above.
If you would like to make any changes to your property or require further information please contact Planning Services.
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