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Am I in a Conservation Area?

Home improvements in conservation areas must follow some guidelines. Wondering if you’re in a conservation area? Here’s everything you need to know.

3 min read

Before we let you know how to find out whether you live in a Conservation Area, it seems appropriate to clarify what a Conservation Area is. Essentially, it’s an area of unique importance that is given special protections to conserve its architectural or historical integrity. These can range from country estates to old city suburbs or historical landmarks and more. These special protections can impact whether you get planning permission for certain projects as well as the type of work you can carry out. So, if you’re looking to extend or renovate your home, it’s vital that you know whether you live in a conservation area.

Am I in a Conservation Area?

If you’ve found yourself asking, ‘Is my house in a Conservation Area?’, you’ll be relieved to know that there are a number of ways to confirm whether or not your property is in a Conservation Area. One option is to get in touch with your local council to confirm whether you fall into one. You can find your local council here and follow on to find their contact details.

Your council will have an SPD (supplementary planning document) which states what is acceptable in their constituency, as well as this, each Conservation Area should have a Design Appraisal for that Conservation Area, which is even more specific. If you’re looking to extend, look into your SPD and your area’s (general guidance for the whole borough) and go even further and look into what your Conservation Area's Design Appraisal states.

Another way to find out whether you live in a Conservation Area is to contact your local planning authority. Follow this link to find yours and get in touch. If you’re still unsure where to start or if you have any questions about your property and Conservation Area rules, feel free to book a free consultation with one of our experts who will be able to offer you friendly, helpful advice.

A glimpse into Conservation Areas…

When it comes to Conservation Areas, some may be surprised to know that they can be found all over the UK – not just in unspoilt rural areas but in big cities such as London as well. In fact, according to data used by the government obtained by Historic England, each and every local authority in England has at least one Conservation Area and there are around 10,000 in England alone. According to government data, London has a total of 27 Conservation Areas. Use this interactive map to search your local London neighbourhood and find out whether or not your home is in a Conservation Area.

Living in a Conservation Area

Why it’s important to know if you live in a Conservation Area

Because the purpose of having Conservation Areas is to protect or enhance the historic, aesthetic or architectural character of an area, it can impose some restrictions on the type of work you can carry out on a building. For example, if your property falls within a Conservation Area, you’re not eligible for permitted development which means that you’ll need to obtain planning permission. So, if you’re looking to undergo some home improvements, it’s really important that you’re informed about what you can and can’t do.

According to our Resi colleague, Dan, ‘In most cases, the design will need to be sympathetic to the existing building and surrounding areas so a customer may need to use materials that match the existing building/avoid features that wouldn’t clash with the original home.’ And our colleague, Benedita, explains, ‘It can also become more expensive to build in Conservation Areas as the materials for the façade need to be of higher quality (no uPVC windows, for example).’

Considering the specificity of some of the building rules that come with Conservation Areas, it pays to do your research. To find out more about the range of works you’re unable to carry out in Conservation Areas without permission, explore this guide by Urbanist Architecture.

If you have a specific project in mind, use our Quick Quote Calculator to see how much it could cost you and book a free call with one of our advisors to find out whether any Conservation Area rules could interrupt your plans.

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