Conservation Areas - The Borough’s Past

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.

Windows

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 used.

Satellite Dishes

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. 

Trees

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

Where?

Recently, homeowners renovating an early 19th century property located in the Leigh Conservation Area came under fire for undergoing renovations without the necessary planning permission. 

What happened?

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

-          Half completed extensions built without permission

Outcome

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 preservation. 

By Anita Hair


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