How are conservation areas protected?
In addition to the important overriding policy requirement that all new development should pay special regard to the character or appearance of the conservation area, additional controls also exist to protect existing buildings and features from adverse change.
The most important of these is the need to obtain conservation area consent for the demolition of all but very small structures. In addition there are stricter controls on permitted development (that is minor works that are normally automatically permitted) and notice has to be given to the council before works to trees are carried out. In conservation areas, special consideration is given to maintaining the qualities which give the area its particular character by:
- carefully considering new development proposals
- permitting the demolition of buildings or the removal of trees only in fully justified circumstances and where appropriate redevelopment is proposed
- advising owners, occupiers and other interested individuals and organisations on the care and maintenance of trees and property (including alterations to doors, windows, providing advice on the siting of satellite dishes and other antennae apparatus, boundary and other walls, as well as gateways), however minor in nature
- where appropriate, preparing proposals for enhancement of the conservation area
- co-operating with other authorities and conservation organisations in activities designed to promote conservation generally or to assist conservation projects within the borough, for example through exhibitions, town schemes or facelift proposals
- respecting the aims of conservation within the local authority's own activities and development projects
- through monitoring change and developments assess how best to retain the special character of conservation areas for the future
Although the types of permitted development are more restricted in conservation areas, these powers on their own are often not enough to halt the erosion of the character of an area through the gradual loss of building details such original timber windows and doors on old buildings.
To address this, we have the powers to take away permitted rights on selected properties by serving what is known as an Article 4 Direction after first consulting the residents affected.