Living in a Conservation Area

Conservation areas exist to protect the special architectural and historic interest of a place – in other words the features that make it unique and distinctive. They have been protecting some of Britain’s most beautiful areas since 1967 with over 10,000 across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, including battlefields, housing estates and canals. There are 27 conservation areas in Thanet with several in Cliftonville and Margate.

People value conservation areas for their distinctiveness, visual appeal and historic character – this value is often reflected in the price buyers will pay to purchase properties in conservation areas.

However, living in a conservation area means there are extra rules around what you can and cannot do to your home.  These rules are most likely to affect owners who want to work on the outside of their building or any trees on their property.

‘Permitted development rights’ allow for certain changes to a property without the need for planning permission. However, in conservation areas, these are restricted by special controls (called ‘Article 4 Directions’). This means that you need to make planning applications for some forms of development which would not need such applications outside conservation areas such as changing external doors and windows, altering gutters and downpipes, cladding the exterior of a property or installing a satellite dish.

If you want to cut down, top or lop any but the smallest of trees in a conservation area you must notify your local planning authority six weeks before work begins. The authority will then consider the contribution the tree makes to the character of the area and if necessary create a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) to protect it.

If you live in a conservation area and want to demolish your building, you will need Planning Permission. If the building is listed, Listed Building Consent will be required for both internal and exterior works.

Most local authorities have prepared Conservation Area Appraisals for conservation areas in the district. These are usually available online and detail the history of each area and explain what makes them special together with some general guidelines on managing and carrying out development.

Your local planning authority will tell you what you can do to your home if you live in a conservation area, advise on any special controls and explain what permissions will be needed.

More information about historic buildings and their conservation can be found on the following websites

Jeremy Richardson – AssocRICS, MRPSA, DRSV, CPEA, BA Hons – BCR Surveyors

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Courses & Awards

  • BA (Hons) History & Landscape Archaeology
  • Understanding Building Conservation – endorsed by English Heritage
  • Project Management and Supervision: Historic and Traditional Buildings
  • Energy Efficiency Measures for Older and Traditional Buildings
  • Repair and Maintenance of Traditional (pre-1919) Buildings
  • Understanding Heritage Impact Assessments
  • Diploma in Residential Surveying & Valuation

Memberships

  • Member of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
  • Affiliate Member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation
  • Associate Member of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (AssocRICS)
  • Member of the Residential Property Surveyors Association
  • Member of the Weald and Downland Museum
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