Can I make repairs to my building in a conservation area?

If you are planning to make repairs or alterations to a building in a conservation area, the first thing to do is contact the local planning authority (LPA). The LPA will be able to provide information including when the conservation area was created, how far it extends, the reason for its creation and level of legal protection it has in place.

Understanding more about living in a conservation area

Living in a conservation area means some extra planning controls and considerations. These exist to protect the historic and architectural elements which make the place special. They are most likely to affect owners who want to work on the outside of their building or any trees on their property boundary.

Conservation rules regarding repairs

Properties in a conservation area may be affected by special controls (called ‘Article 4 Directions’).

These restrict work that can normally be done without planning permission such as replacing a door or window or altering gutters and downpipes.

These controls are tailored to each area by the local council and are put in place when particular elements of local historical buildings or buildings of architectural importance are to be protected.

Contacting the local authority will identify to whether this statement made under the Town and Country Planning Acts applies to your property and planned repairs. Seeking advice will give a clearer indication of what can and can’t be done within a building in a conservation area.

Permitted development for other buildings

Permitted development (PD) rights are slightly different in conservation areas compared to other areas. This means that you need to make planning applications for some forms of development which would not need such applications outside conservation areas.

For example:

  • Detailed residential changes like two-storey extensions, dormer windows and stone cladding
  • Extensions to retail premises (increases to floorspace; the appearance should match the existing; limitations to click and collect facilities etc.)
  • Industrial and warehouse buildings (increases to floorspace)
  • Controls on materials for buildings on the site of a school, college, university or hospital
  • Limitations on change of use such as retail or agricultural to dwelling house.

This answer is a guide only. Jones Melling has a team of specialists who can advise you on the best course of action regarding your property.

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