My property is in a Conservation area – what does this mean?

5th March 2024

A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of the area is considered desirable to preserve or enhance[1].

The current legislation in England and Wales is “the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (sections 69 and 70)”, which defines the quality of a conservation area as being: "the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance". The current Scottish legislation is “the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997”. In Northern Ireland it is “the Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011”.

If you are looking to purchase a property and it is noted in a conservation area, this does not necessarily mean this is something to worry about however, there are some things that you may need to take into consideration.

If you are purchasing a property in which you are wanting to carry out works to for example, you are wanting to extend the property, you may need to seek additional consent from the local authority to carry out works which involve any demolition or addition of buildings, gates, fences, walls or railings. The purpose of this is to ensure the works being carried out will still protect the historic interest of the area in which the property is located.

Therefore, if you are looking to purchase a property with the intention of carrying our works, please ensure you have carried out the necessary research around the area as the last thing you would want would be to purchase a property with the intention to extend/carry out specific works and it turns out your plans would be rejected.

Fun facts:

  • 2.2% of England (2,938 square kilometres) is a conservation area
  • 59% of conservation areas are rural and 41% are in urban areas
  • 2.27% of England is built on, so there is a lot of open space in conservation areas
  • Wiltshire has the most conservation areas with 246 across the county. Followed by Cornwall, with 146, and the Cotswold district, with 145
  • The largest conservation area is Swaledale and Arkengarthdale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It covers 71 square kilometres and is a stunning upland landscape where the conservation area protects around 1,000 traditional farm buildings and the dry-stone walls that criss-cross the landscape. Only slightly smaller than Guernsey, there are 30 countries smaller than this conservation area. It surrounds several villages which are conservation areas in their own right.[2]

In order to find out whether a property is in a conservation area you can contact your local planning authority or a simple google search of the conservation boundaries of the area in which the property is located should bring this information up.




Sara Khan Sara Khan

Chartered Legal Executive Lawyer

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