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What if your property located in a conservation area?

Some areas are classified as conservation area by the Council. These areas are sites which will have a historical or environmental relevance and they will have some sort of peculiarity which should be protected and preserved. The conserved areas will include many locations like:

  • Historic cities or towns
  • Mining or fishing villages
  • Suburbs of 18th and 19th century
  • Historic parks and country houses situated within the parks
  • Historic transport links and routes
  • Stretches of canal or such streams with historic relevance etc.

Why is this designated as Conservation area?

Many places are given the status of a conservation area by the local planning authority of the Council.  These areas are designated as the conservation area due to many reasons like the buildings, architecture or spots in that area like museums, gardens or lakes. Designating an area under the conservation area covers each and every thing within the boundary of that area. Starting form a tree to the street furniture, everything will be given protection, even if they are not mentioned by name or listed otherwise.

Alterations

If you own a property in the conservation area, you have to follow many regulations. You are not allowed make any alterations to the property without the permission of the Council.  Alterations may vary from inserting a window to replacing a door or even fitting a satellite dish outside the building which is visible from the street. Extending a building or paving stone in the garden is also not permissible. However, as per the article 4 Direction, the council has the authority to liberalise or tighten the regulations. Hence it would be advisable to contact the Council before you initiate any improvements to your home.

Cutting trees

Cutting down a tree within the conservation area, entirely or even partly, need permission from the Council. Regardless of whether there is a tree preservation act or not, you have to give the Council a notice about the same. The Council will consider the significance of the tree in the conservation area and either pass a tree preservation act or give you permission to cut the tree.

Demolition of buildings

Demolition of the building is the most serious concern in a conservation area. You cannot demolish a building unless and until it is an absolute necessity. You will have to notify the council about your intention. In general it is not easy to get the permission to demolish the building. However, you have the right to appeal on the decision of the Council.

Check the council’s website

Before selecting a property, you can get the details of conservation areas from the council’s official website.  The council also explains the definition of the area and its plans on developing and protecting that area. They will also reveal the importance of protecting the specified area. As per a study conducted by the London School of Economics, despite all these regulations, people largely prefer in living in conservation areas.  The consistent increase in the prices of the property rates in these areas indicates this.

Photo courtesy: Richard Hsu

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