The Civic Amenities Act 1969 gave local councils the power to designate as Conservation Areas,
"areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance".
Designation gives control over the demolition of buildings and provides the basis for policies and schemes designed to preserve or enhance those aspects of character or appearance that define an area's special interest.
They are designated usually because of their buildings but they can also be designated because of their history, architecture, layout or private spaces, such as gardens and parks; trees or street furniture.
Conservation areas give broader protection than listing individual buildings and all features within the area, listed or otherwise, are recognised as part of its character.
Within a conservation area the Council has extra controls over the following:
To fully demolish a building, or even parts of it, needs conservation area consent. Both guidance and application forms can be obtained by the Council. Generally we view an application from the standpoint of trying to retain buildings, which are part of the local character so a strong case needs to be made for demolition. There are no fees for this application and there is a right of appeal against refusal.
In a conservation area, you sometimes need planning permission for changes to buildings, which would normally be permitted elsewhere. The special character of the area necessitates more careful control to prevent thoughtless alterations, which erode the character of local areas. In some conservation areas special extra controls are put in place by Article 4 Directions or areas of special control of advertisements. The detailed narrative of these controls make it advisable to contact the department before starting work if your property is within a conservation area.
Anyone proposing to cut down, top or lop a tree in a conservation area, whether or not it is covered by a tree preservation order, has to give notice to the Council. The Council considers the contribution the tree makes to the character of the conservation area and if necessary it will make a tree preservation order to protect it. Applications to fell are accessed by the council.