Conservation area designation gives the local planning authority some general control over maintaining the area, including regulating the demolition of unlisted buildings and the erection of new building within the conservation area and proposing policies designed to preserve or enhance the special characteristics of an area. There are now more than 8,000 conservation areas in England.
Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 requires local planning authorities to define as conservation areas any 'areas of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance'.
In all conservation areas, special planning permission (conservation area consent) is required for the following alterations:
In addition, local authorities can impose Article 4 Directions, which give additional controls to restrict certain works that would normally be allowed as 'permitted development', for example to prevent people from installing plastic-framed windows, adding porches or paving over front gardens to make hardstandings for cars.
Local planning authorities are under no statutory obligation to consult the Victorian Society over applications for alterations of demolitions of unlisted buildings within conservation areas. Some do, however, choose to consult us. When resources are stretched, we have to give priority to Listed Building Consent consultations, but when resources permit and it is appropriate, we will provide an opinion on Conservation Area Consent proposals.