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Since the Civic Amenities Act 1967, over 9,000 conservation areas have been designated as areas of special architectural or historic interest in England alone. Planning law and local requirements apply wherever you live, but if you live in a conservation area, additional conservation area consent may be required if you are planning any building work. Any substantial work on a listed building requires separate permission.
You can find out details of conservation areas in your locality by contacting your planning authority, usually your local council. Many local authorities have separate conservation departments and, if you know the planned works fall within a conservation area, it would be best to contact the relevant conservation department for advice and any published guidance. Your local authority website is a good place to start.
Demolition of buildings and structures within a conservation area generally requires conservation area consent. In a conservation area, you also need permission to demolish a gate, fence, wall or railing over one metre high if it is next to any highway (including a public footpath or bridleway) or a public open space. Listed building consent is required for the following:
Trees are also protected in a conservation area or if there is a separate tree preservation order. In either case, you need permission to remove a tree or to carry out tree surgery. Turnaround is much quicker than with planning permission and your tree surgeon will probably be able to apply for permission on your behalf.
If your application for conservation area consent is refused, or if it is granted with conditions or not decided within eight weeks of validation, you have the right of appeal to the Secretary of State. Failure to get proper permissions before starting works can result in you having to demolish the work or restore the building to its pre-development state, and can sometimes lead to prosecution. If you are in any doubt, it is best to seek qualified professional advice.
Top tips for planning your project are:
We can advise you on any planning issue.