Conservation areas are rich in the physical evidence of the past, which contributes to our sense of wellbeing. They are living environments that need careful management to ensure their character and appearance is safeguarded and enhanced.
What role do we play in conservation area management?
Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 requires us (as the local planning authority) to give special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing conservation areas - in 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 emphasise 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 considering the design and choice of materials for new work, alterations and repairs to ensure that a scheme preserves or enhances an area’s special interest.
Planning controls within conservation areas
To aid conservation area management stricter planning controls exist, these controls include:
Different Permitted Development rights
These apply to dwelling houses in relation to extensions, alterations and extensions to roofs, installation of roof lights, removal of chimneys, application of cladding and external wall insulation, installation of raised decking, platforms and enclosures, installation of solar and thermal equipment and location of satellite dishes.
Control over demolition
Total demolition of certain buildings within a conservation area requires conservation area consent. This consent is also required for the demolition of any gate, fence or other means of enclosure which is more than 1 metre high next to a highway, waterway or open space, or more than 2 metres anywhere else.
Works to trees
If you are planning the felling and pruning of trees within a conservation area with a stem diameter of 75 mm or above, when measured at 1.5 metres from ground level, you are required to give us (the local planning authority) at least six weeks advance notice. Failure to comply is a criminal offence and may result in significant penalties for those involved following a successful prosecution.
Article 4 (2) directions
This is a legal direction made under The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. It allows us (as the local planning authority) to gain additional control over minor developments and alterations to dwelling houses, by requiring the submission of a formal planning application.
Small-scale and piecemeal change can cause the greatest damage to the character and appearance of a conservation area.
In removing certain permitted development rights, article 4(2) directions afford greater protection to the elements that contribute to the special character of the area by controlling minor development that would otherwise be permitted without specific consent (such development can gradually erode the character if undertaken in an unsympathetic manner).
The purpose of the direction is therefore to ensure that alterations to the elevations of a dwelling which front onto a highway, footway, waterway or area of open space are carried out in sympathy with the special character of the area.
Where an article 4(2) direction is in operation additional planning controls apply. Planning permission is therefore also required for the following alterations where the works would front onto a highway, footway, waterway or area of open space:
- The enlargement of dwelling houses including the erection of structures or laying of hard surfaces within their curtilage
- Change of materials to external walls of dwelling houses including external doors, windows, window frames, rainwater goods and other external items and painting of those items (other than repainting in the same colour)
- Any other alterations to the fenestration and external doors of dwelling houses
- Any other alterations to the roofs including chimneys of dwelling houses (including provision of roof lights)
- Installation of satellite antennae on dwelling houses or within their curtilages
- Alterations to, or the demolition of, boundary walls or other means of enclosure
Article 4(2) directions in Wrexham County Borough
There are currently 12 article 4(2) directions in operation within 11 conservation areas in Wrexham County Borough. These are:
- Bangor on Dee
- Cefn Mawr
- Fairy Road
- Gerald Street (within Grosvenor Road conservation area)
- Grenville Terrace (within Ruabon conservation area)
- Pontcysllte Aqueduct
- Salisbury Park
Making a planning application for works controlled under an article 4(2) direction
We would always advise that you discuss your proposals with our planning department before submitting an application. You may find our pre-application advice service useful, particularly if you require more specialist information before applying for planning permission.
You can make a planning application online via Planning Applications Wales.
There is no fee for applications required solely as a result of the article 4(2) direction.