The designation of a conservation area does not mean every building will be preserved and no changes allowed. Change is inevitable and may be necessary for the day-to-day life, prosperity and enhancement of an area. But designation helps ensure changes respect the area’s character and appearance. The additional planning controls within conservation areas give more control over new development to ensure it is of good quality and protection for important features or buildings.
Applications for consent to totally or substantially demolish any building within a conservation area must be made to us. Procedures are essentially the same as for listed building consent applications. Generally buildings which make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of the conservation area should be retained. Our how to apply web page has more details.
Trees make an important contribution to the local environment. Anyone proposing to cut down, top or lop a tree above a certain size in a conservation area, whether or not it is covered by a tree preservation order, has to give us notice. We can then consider the contribution the tree makes to the character of the area and if necessary make a tree preservation order to protect it. Read our Trees and hedgerows page for more information.
Within the National Park, areas both within or outside a conservation area have the same ‘permitted development rights’. These rights permit development such as small extensions and alteration, to be carried out without planning permission. These rights, prescribed through legislation, are more limited than those which apply outside the National Park and are unaffected by conservation area designation.
Where planning permission is required, new development and alterations to existing buildings need to be well designed and employ good quality materials so that they preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the area.
We can introduce more sensitive controls through an ‘Article 4 Direction’, to manage alterations to houses. Such Directions prevent the loss of important historic features and details which contribute to the area's character such as original roof slates, doors, windows, boundary walls and other architectural details. But reasonable alterations which are of good quality are permitted. Such controls currently exist in the Keswick Conservation Area. We have to have good reason to introduce an Article 4 Direction and must take account of public views before doing so.