FAQs for Keswick Conservation Area Consultation

What is a Conservation Area?

A Conservation Area has special architectural and/or historical interest, and where we want to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the area.

What is the purpose of the Keswick Conservation Area?

The purpose of the Keswick Conservation Area is to promote and support development that is in keeping with, or enhances the special character of Keswick. It is not intended to stifle change within the proposed boundary, it is intended to help positively manage change.

Who decides where Conservation Areas are or that a Conservation Area should be changed?

We are responsible for the designation and review of Conservation Areas. This is a statutory requirement under Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and we are the planning authority for the Lake District National Park.

Why has my property inside the amended boundary?

The Conservation Area boundary has been amended to include areas of the town which are considered to contribute to the special character and appearance of Keswick. The character of Keswick is inextricably linked to its history and historical development and the proposed boundary takes account of this.

The boundary also covers important areas of open space and groups of trees which add to the setting of many buildings and views into and out of the Conservation Area. These areas also provide a visual link to the surrounding countryside, which is a significant part of the character of Keswick. 

The proposed extensions to the conservation area include Crow Park, Hope Park, Upper Fitz Park, the network of Victorian Terraced Streets to the east of the Market Place, and Manor Park, a 20th century residential street. These areas all contribute to the special interest of Keswick and have high architectural, historical or landscape interest.

Since it became a conservation area in 1981, our understanding and appreciation of the historic environment has developed so that later periods in Keswick’s history and development are now thought to be of special interest. Likewise, areas of open space are highly valued for their contribution to the setting of the town and associations with the conservation movement.

The Victorian Terraces were identified as being of high architectural and group value in the 1990s and needed some greater protection.

The Conservation Area Appraisal sets out the reasons for the proposed boundary changes by analysing the historic interest and character of each area.

How will living in a conservation area affect me?

Some extra controls and considerations apply in conservation areas. Alterations and development within a conservation area should conserve or enhance the special character of that area. Planning applications should include a heritage statement which sets out how the proposed work conserves or enhances the conservation area. If you want to demolish a building in a conservation area you will need Planning Permission.

Permitted development rights are slightly different in conservation areas compared to other areas. This means that you may need to make planning applications for some forms of development which would not need an application outside conservation areas. Permitted Development Rights which are considered to have the potential to cause harm to the historic character of conservation areas can be controlled through Article 4 Directions.

Work to trees is also controlled in a conservation area and in cases involving all but the smallest of trees you must notify the authority six weeks before work begins, this allows us to consider whether a Tree Preservation Order should be made on the tree, or if work can continue. Undertaking unauthorised tree works in a conservation area is an offence and risks prosecution.

What is an Article 4 Direction?

An Article 4 Direction is a legal direction made under The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 to allow Planning Authorities, to gain additional control over minor developments and alterations to non-listed buildings, by requiring a formal planning application. These minor developments and alterations would normally be permitted development in that they could be carried out without a planning application.

Why is the LDNPA considering the amending the Article 4 Direction in Keswick?

There is an existing Article 4 Direction covering dwellings within parts of Keswick. This Article 4 Direction has been successful in helping to retain original features and ensure that replacement windows and doors do not harm the historic character of the area. 

Since the existing Article 4 Direction came into force the scale of permitted development rights has increased which means that many original and traditional features which are locally distinctive are not covered by the current direction.

We have seen an increase in small-scale, piecemeal change and the replacement of original features can cause the greatest damage to the character and appearance of a Conservation Area. The replacement of traditional materials with inappropriate alternatives or the removal of original features may seem to have insignificant effect but it is the cumulative effect of these small alterations that gradually erodes the special character of an area. 

Following a detailed assessment of the area we are considering extending the Article 4 Direction to cover the whole of the revised Conservation Area and increasing the number of permitted development rights brought within control.

For residential properties this would include:

  • Windows and doors (covered by the existing direction)
  • Extensions (covered by the existing direction)
  • Boundary walls/fences (covered by the existing direction)
  • Roofs 
  • Chimney, flues, pipes 
  • Buildings incidental to a dwelling house (outbuildings) 
  • Hard surfaces/hard standings 
  • External Painting 
  • Renewable energy, microgeneration solar PV or solar thermal equipment and wind turbines

For commercial properties this would include:

  • The erection of, or alteration to any wall, gate, fence or other means of enclosure 
  • The installation, alteration or replacement of solar photo-voltaic or solar thermal equipment and wind turbines 
  • The painting or repainting of any exterior stone, brickwork or render