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Managing Change in Conservation Areas

Conservation Areas are rich in the physical evidence of the past, which contributes to our sense of well-being. They are living environments worth cherishing for their special qualities so careful management of change is essential to ensure their character and appearance is safeguarded and enhanced.

Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 requires the Local Planning Authority to give special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing Conservation Areas in their Local Development Plan policies and when determining planning applications within or adjacent to a Conservation Area. This statutory duty is reiterated within Chapter 6 of Planning Policy Wales and Technical Advice Note 24 ‘The Historic Environment’ where there is general presumption in favour of the preservation and enhancement of the character and appearance of an area. These documents also emphasis a strong presumption against the granting of planning permission for development, including advertisements, which would damage the character or appearance of an area to an unacceptable level. Greater care is therefore necessary in design and choosing materials to ensure that a scheme preserves or enhances an area’s special interest.

In order to protect the special character and appearance of a Conservation Area, stricter planning controls exist. These controls are in addition to normal planning controls and are not intended as a hindrance to change, but as positive management to safeguard the character of the area as a whole.

Planning Controls: Dwelling houses

You need to apply for planning permission from the Local Planning Authority if you intend to:

Planning Controls: Article 4(2) Directions

Small-scale and piecemeal change can cause the greatest damage to the character and appearance of a Conservation Area. The replacement of traditional materials with inappropriate alternatives or the removal of original features may seem to have insignificant effect but cumulatively such changes gradually erode the special character of an area.

In certain Conservation Areas the Council has introduced an Article 4 (2) Direction. An Article 4 (2) Direction is a legal direction made under The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 and allows the Local Planning Authority to gain additional control over minor developments and alterations to dwelling houses by means of requiring the submission of a formal planning application. These minor developments and alterations would normally be permitted development, meaning that they could be carried out without the need for formal planning permission.

Article 4(2) Directions are in effect in the following Conservation Areas:

If an Article 4(2) Direction is in place you will need to apply for planning permission if you intend to:

It is important to note that an Article 4(2) Direction only controls alterations to the elevations of a dwelling house which front onto a highway, waterway or open space.

Planning Controls: Demolition

Conservation Area Consent is required from the Local Planning Authority for the demolition of any building or structure within a Conservation Area where it would affect the following:

Applications for Conservation Area Consent will need to be accompanied by a Heritage Impact Statement which will need to include the following:

Planning Controls: Commercial Buildings

Properties in commercial use do not have permitted development rights under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. Therefore the only works that may be carried out without Planning Permission are works of repair and maintenance and internal alterations, provided the building is not a Listed Building.

Planning Controls: Advertisements

All external advertisements affect the appearance of the building to which they are attached as well as the wider area. Within Conservation Areas businesses are strongly encouraged to display advertisements that make a positive contribution to the appearance of the building and the area. To achieve this, the design and materials are of particular importance.

Within Conservation Areas display signs should be restricted to fascia level and fascia boards and lettering should be of a scale which respects the building as a whole and should not obscure traditional elevational features where they exist. Internally illuminated box fascias and projecting signs should be avoided.
In Conservation Areas Advertisement Consent must be obtained from the Local Planning Authority if:

Planning Controls: New Buildings

New development within Conservation Areas may be acceptable in some instances, such as where they would replace a building of poor design, provided they are of a high quality and would enhance the character and appearance of an area. Pre-application advice with Planning Services is encouraged.