Across the Borough we
are lucky enough to boast a number of Conservation Areas. Some of these include
Clifftown, Crowstone, Leigh Cliff, Milton and Shoebury Garrison along with
several more. These specially designated parts of the Borough are protected to
ensure historic character is preserved across the town. If you live in a
Conservation Area, there are a number of guidelines and restrictions that you
should be aware of if you are planning to make any changes or developments.
Before making any changes to a
Conservation property the number one rule is to obtain permission. Take a look
at the relevant planning policy and guidance documents, including the Conservation
Area Appraisal, to see if your project is feasible. Once you have consulted the
relevant documentation the only way to obtain legal permission is to contact
the Council. The type of permission will depend on the nature of your proposal.
For a development that affects the appearance or use of the building or land,
you will require Planning Permission. If you plan to remove all or a
substantial part of a Conservation property, you will require Conservation Area
Consent. Listed Building Consent is required for external and internal works
which affect the character of a Listed Building.
Garages, Extensions & Conservatories
To obtain permission for the addition
of a garage, design and material must be carefully considered. Timber doors are
usually the favoured material, with plastic or aluminium unlikely to be
accepted. If considering an extension, be sure to take influence from the
current features and the proportion of the property. The more reflective you
can be in the design and materials, the more likely you will be to secure
permission. Similarly, conservatory design should mirror the period of the
property as well as the materials.
Restoration and repair should be the
priority when it comes to original windows. If the original cannot be repaired,
ensure that the replacement is a very close match with material and design
carefully considered – avoid replacing historic timber with aluminium or uPVC. Use
a specialist to ensure the correct paint as well as material is used.
Doors and Porches
As with windows, restoration and repair
should also be the priority for doors. uPVC should not be used and doors should
be made of timber – ideally painted avoiding garish colours. It is advised that
you avoid enclosing porches and original decorative glass and glazing panels
should be preserved wherever possible. Glazed panels can be slotted into double
glazing by specialists and again with all paintwork, the approved paint must be
In Conservation Areas, satellite dishes
are not permitted in positions that interrupt the period features of a property,
such as chimneys. It is advised that they are installed in areas out of sight
including on walls facing away from the street.
Roofs and Chimneys
The roofing of a Conservation Area
property should be maintained and repaired with original or existing slates
wherever possible. Chimneys and pots should also be preserved particularly as the
intricate detailing found on many chimneys adds irreplaceable character.
Contributing to an area’s appearance
and style, any tree located in a Conservation Area is protected under the Tree
Preservation Order (TPO). Notice must be given to the Council for any proposed
work to trees from pruning to felling. It is an offence to make any changes to
the condition of a protected tree without permission.
A local case study
renovating an early 19th century property located in the Leigh
Conservation Area came under fire for undergoing renovations without the
necessary planning permission.
Much of the internal and external work had received planning permission, however, many other developments were already underway before any permission had even been applied for. Some of the infringements included:
- The removal of trees
- Substantial changes to design and materials from original plans
- The removal of original internal features including doors and fireplaces
extensions built without permission
Work was halted immediately and the homeowners have
been instructed to reverse the changes and restore the property to the original
state along with new trees. Planning officers work hard to protect local Conservation
Areas and will take legal action where necessary in the pursuit of heritage
By Anita Hair