Planning Permission in a Conservation Area

Below are answers to some of the most common questions we get asked about designing building extensions, remodelling, or new builds in a conservation area. If you have a property in a conservation area and would like to know more about how we can help you, please get in touch.

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What is a Conservation Area and How is it Designated?

Conservation areas are places designated as areas of special historical and/or architectural significance, managed to protect their unique character. These areas began being identified in the 1960s and are now managed under Section 69 of The 1990 Planning Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Act.

Quick facts on conservation areas:

  • London has approximately 1,000 conservation areas, with some areas like Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, and the City of London almost entirely within conservation areas.
  • Every local planning authority in England has conservation areas, totalling about 10,000.
  • 2.2% of England (2,938 square kilometres) are conservation areas
  • Wiltshire has the most conservation areas with 246, followed by Cornwall with 146, and the Cotswold district with 145.

How Can I Find Information on My Conservation Area?

Historic England offers useful advice on finding information about your conservation area:

  • Conservation Area Appraisals: Check your local authority’s website for appraisals that describe the area’s unique character.
  • Listed Buildings: Look up listed buildings on the National Heritage List for England
  • Local History Groups and National Amenity Societies: Engage with local history groups or national amenity societies.

Can I Build a New House or House Extension in a Conservation Area?

Yes, but it involves designing appropriately for the specific conservation area. We have obtained permission for both traditional and modern designs.

A planning application in a conservation area is similar to other planning applications but will be reviewed more thoroughly by a planning case officer and a conservation officer. They aim to protect the area's special character, which is likely to be the reason you invested in a property there.

Steps for a successful application:

  • Engage with the case officer and conservation officer early.
  • Consult the conservation area appraisal document for detailed descriptions of the local authority’s opinions.
  • Reference the appraisal document in your application and demonstrate how your design responds to the area’s history and character.
  • Provide thorough drawings and detailed design access and heritage statements.

Can I Build an Extension Under Permitted Development in a Conservation Area?
Permitted development rights are often restricted in conservation areas through the implementation of an Article 4 direction by the local authority.

Should I Submit a Pre-Application in a Conservation Area?

Early engagement with your local planning authority can demonstrate that your design is being carefully considered. Feedback from pre-application discussions can often smooth the planning application process. Most planning departments offer various levels of service from phone calls to written feedback and face-to-face meetings with planning officers. However, pre-application feedback is non-binding, and opinions may change at the full planning submission stage.

Can PLOT Help Get Planning Permission for My House in a Conservation Area?

Yes, PLOT has successfully obtained planning permissions for both listed and non-listed properties in conservation areas. Contact us via email or phone to organize a no-obligation discussion about your project.