Conservation Areas

What is a Conservation Area?

Conservation Areas are ‘areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’. Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

Local Authorities are required by law to designate Conservation Areas and to formulate policies and proposals for their preservation and enhancement.

Designating a Conservation Area

The most important factor when designating a conservation area is ‘quality of place’ or ‘local distinctiveness’. In Wrexham County Borough, there is a wealth of architectural history, character and diversity. Conservation Areas include village centres, town centre suburbs, military barracks, canal structures and rural buildings.

Although the character of each area is unique, important factors include:

  • single buildings or building groups;
  • buildings and their relationship with spaces;
  • architectural detailing;
  • building materials;
  • views;
  • colours;
  • landscaping;
  • rivers;
  • street furniture,
  • local environmental conditions; and
  • historical changes.

Council Strategy

The Council is currently undertaking a review of every conservation area to ensure defensible boundaries and to retain their special character.

The purpose is to: -

  • Develop a strategy to balance the interests of conservation and new development.
  • Provide a key point of reference between officers, developers and householders to assist in devising schemes that are in keeping with, or enhance the character of each Conservation Area.
  • Provide Conservation Area Assessments and Enhancement Plans, with detailed policies on its character and its preservation and enhancement. All documents are subject to public consultation.
  • Target funding sources to improve the quality of the environment, to attract business and investment and to reinforce local distinctiveness and civic pride.

Wrexham’s Conservation Areas

There are 23 Conservation Areas in the County Borough:

  1. Bangor On Dee
  2. Bersham
  3. Cefn Mawr
  4. Chirk (Character Assessment Available)
  5. Erbistock
  6. Fairy Road, Wrexham (Character Assessment Available)
  7. Gresford
  8. Grosvenor Road, Wrexham
  9. Hanmer
  10. Hightown Barracks, Wrexham
  11. Holt (Character Assessment Available)
  12. Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog
  13. Marchwiel
  14. Marford
  15. Minera
  16. Overton
  17. Penycae
  18. Rossett
  19. Ruabon
  20. Salisbury Park, Wrexham (Character Assessment Available)
  21. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
  22. Worthenbury
  23. Wrexham Town Centre Conservation Area Assessment and Management Plan

Conservation Area Policies

Conservation Area policies are to be found in the Council’s Local Development Plan, which sets the principle of development and stresses the need for preserving and enhancing the character of Conservation Areas.

The current plan is called the Wrexham Unitary Development Plan. It is a material consideration in determining planning applications as are Conservation Area Character Assessments, which have been adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance.

The Wrexham Local Development Plan 2011 will eventually replace this plan, and is currently on public deposit.

What restrictions are there in a Conservation Area?

Some controls exist that are over and above normal planning permission and you advised to seek advice from the Planning Department. Controls do not intend to be negative, but positive management of change to protect each area’s special character.

  • Planning permission may be required if you alter the walls and roof of a dwelling house
  • Conservation Area Consent may be needed for demolition. This excludes Listed Buildings, which are protected separately.
  • Consent for Work to Trees may be needed for tree pruning and removal. This excludes trees that are protected under a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)

See What Can I Do In A Conservation Area? for further guidance.

Some Conservation Areas have been judged so special that they have additional controls. This is known as an Article 4 (2) Direction. These are:

  • Chirk
  • Fairy Road, Wrexham
  • Holt
  • Salisbury Park, Wrexham
  • Gerald Street, Grosvenor Road
  • Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
  • Bangor-on-Dee
  • Ruabon
  • Grenville Terrace, Ruabon
  • Overton

This means that planning permission will be required for any alterations or developments to the frontages and front curtilages of dwelling houses where they face a road, public footpath, waterway or bridleway, to ensure that the work carried out is in sympathy with the special character of the area.

This includes:

  • Extending the house
  • Building structures or laying hard surfaces within its curtilage
  • Changing building materials such as external frames, doors, windows and rainwater goods, timber framing, render etc.
  • Painting the house or a building or enclosure within the curtilage of a dwelling house (but not re-painting in the same colour)
  • Any other alterations to windows and external doors
  • Any alterations to its roof including rooflights
  • Erection, alteration or removal of a chimney on the house or on a building within its curtilage
  • Installing a satellite antennae
  • Erection, demolition or changes to a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure within its curtilage

See Conservation Area Assessments for further information.

Guidance on Design and Materials

When building a new property or adding to your property within a Conservation Area, design and materials are crucial features in preserving and enhancing the area's special character.

Give consideration to:

  • siting and massing
  • development type – e.g. terrace, detached, single or storeyed
  • roof shape and rainwater goods
  • windows, doors, porches
  • building materials
  • shop front design and advertisement signs

New design does not necessarily mean an exact copy of existing styles, or a standard building type, but a modern style that fits into the street or area by contributing positively to the character of the Conservation Area. A design statement may be requested as part of a planning application.

Sources of Funding

We are actively involved in schemes with a variety of funding partners to ensure that funding is targeted at enhancing the character of conservation areas, including:

  • tourism section,
  • economic development department,
  • regeneration bodies,
  • waterway bodies,
  • housing department and
  • transport department as part of a wider and more comprehensive scheme.

These include:

  • Ruabon Townscheme with CADW (Welsh Historic Monuments),
  • WDA’s Small Towns and Villages Initiative (STVI) in Chirk and the Ceiriog Valley,
  • Town Improvement Grant (TIG) in Wrexham Town Centre,
  • Leader + in the Maelor (plus Gresford and Marford), and
  • Urban II in West Wrexham.

Funding may also be available from CADW for enhancement of unlisted and listed older buildings within the Conservation Area. This contributes towards the repair and restoration of ‘outstanding’ buildings and enhancement schemes within Conservation Areas.

Other sources of funding may be available from Wales Tourist Board and the Council’s various housing grants, such as the

Please see Grants Available for further information.

Guidance for Repairing Older Buildings

All buildings require routine maintenance to prevent damage and decay. Lack of maintenance creates many problems, and there is usually pressure to change building materials to modern types such as PVC, cement or concrete. However, such materials are generally unacceptable in Conservation Areas as they rarely match the original in style, depth, appearance and character. More help can be found in the Planning Department's Local Planning Guidance Notes.

Roofs

  • Repair or reinstate in original material on a like for like basis.
  • Invisible ventilation, such as under eaves ventilation, not roof vents
  • Flat roofs have on average a lifespan of twenty years and with the exception of modernist buildings rarely look acceptable on historic buildings.

Chimneys

  • Reinstate where lost

Guttering

  • Lead and cast iron to be reinstated.

Renders

  • Lime based to older properties, allowing the building to breathe.
  • Cement renders can cause lasting damage to stone, as they are too hard and waterproof for many historic building materials. This can create moisture within original building material that may result in damp. A building that appears to have original render may mean that the brick or stonework behind it was always to be covered.

Pointing

  • Should not protrude face of stone
  • Strap or ribbon pointing unacceptable, as draws attention away from main wall material
  • Historic mortars typically lime based, allowing natural movement and evaporation between joints. Cement mortar causes extensive damage to stone, usually because it is stronger than it, causing moisture to 'leak' out of stone, causing spalling and flaking.

Windows and Doors

  • Staining and uPVC not appropriate in Listed Buildings / Conservation Areas.
  • Style and proportion vitally affect the character and appearance of elevations.
  • Consider thickness and moulding of glazing bars, size and arrangement of panes and other details such as panelling and pediments.

Contact: Planning Environment, Planning Department, Lambpit Street, Wrexham, LL11 1WL. Tel: 01978 292019.
Fax: 01978 292502. E-mail: planning@wrexham.gov.uk


Conservation Information Sheets

What Can I Do In A Conservation Area?

Listed Building Consent

Planning Environment

Planning index

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