Building within a conservation area

Matthew Charlton's avatar

Matthew Charlton | 13/06/18

With over eight thousand conservation areas in the United Kingdom, most of them in urban areas, it wouldn’t be a surprise to find out that you live in one.  So for anyone undertaking a home building, renovation or extension project, one of the first questions to ask: is my home within a conservation area? Answer yes to this question and there will need to be a heightened sensitivity to local heritage and historical architectural when planning your build.

How do I find out if my home is in a conservation area?

To begin, undertake a conservation area search on your local council’s website, most council websites have a map of the area clearly stating the conservation areas. (If you are unsure which council you are in go to: www.gov.uk/find-local-council.)

Gaining planning permission in a conservation area.

Early engagement is critical.  At Upright, we would recommend getting pre-application advice.  With your property being within a conservation area the whole project (during the planning and build phases) will be scrutinised a lot more than a general application and as such it’s important to show that you have taken early engagement.  Appointing a good architect with local knowledge that can work with you to come up with a design that is sympathetic to the area and provides you with the home you’re looking for is key.

Permitted Development in conservation areas.

Permitted Development (PD) rights still exist in conservation areas but are reduced in some instances.

Extensions: In a conservation area, you will need to apply for planning permission for any extension other than a single storey rear extension of no more than 3m (or 4m if the house is detached).

Side extensions and two storey extensions – are all excluded from PD rights in a conservation area.

in some cases, permitted development rights may be completely removed if there is an Article 4 direction associated with your conservation area.  An article 4 direction is made by the local planning authority to remove or restrict permitted development rights. It can be for a particular area (e.g. a whole conservation area), individual site or type of development.

An Article 4 direction does not mean the proposal would be forbidden – it simply means that a planning application and consent will be required.

Finding the right builder for your project.

Once you have approved planning for your project, whether it be an extension, renovation or complete new build property it is important that the plans are then translated into reality as per the approved design, right down to the finer detail.  This is why finding a great builder is so important to the success of your project.

What you should be looking for in your appointed builder:

  • Local knowledge and examples of similar work (all good builders will happily put you in touch with previous clients and jobs to review).
  • Understanding of the conservation area restraints and willingness to work alongside the local conservation officer.
  • Your builder should be more than happy to work in partnership with your appointed architect.

Here at Upright Construction we specialise in house extensions, home renovations, loft conversions and new build properties and have undertaken a vast range of different types of builds within conservation areas for our clients. For more information on some of the build projects we have recently completed click here to review our work.  Should you wish to discuss your project with us please contact us.

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