How to get planning permission within a conservation area

How do you get planning permission within a conversation area? Can it be tricky? Yes. Dont worry, once you have read this, you will know all of the tricks of the trade.

This article will give you design and planning permission secrets if you are looking to alter, extend, convert or even build in a conservation area. It will explain in detail what is a conservation area, how to check if you are in one, some nitty gritty stuff and everything you will need for your planning application to be successful.

What is a conservation area? What defines it?

So what defines a conservation area? In most places it is common sense. But in others areas, you would be forgiven if assumed that a property wasn’t in a conservation area, as the building may not have nice features or any architectural merit, but it could fall within a boundary of a conservation area!

The government defines a conservation area as an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance (Section 69 of The 1990 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act).

Generally, conservation areas are defined by a specific boundary where the buildings within that boundary are of high architectural merit with prominent features. These can take the form of a particular vernacular (style and era) of Gothic, Edwardian, Victorian or classical features of interest which are true to the principles of there particular style.

For example, Victorian buildings usually have high ceilings, large footprints, mullioned bay windows, steep pitched roofs, detailed brick work and solider coursing and so on. It usually comes down to detail. You may have a good idea already if your property is in a conservation area.

If you are looking at applying for planning permission, it is worth double checking to see if your property is within a conservation area. You could have delays with your application if you apply without checking first!

How to check if your property is within a conservation area.

Checking to see if your property falls within a conservation area is very straight forward.

You can check by clicking here ( ) or searching in google. Just put in your postcode and it will inform you of what particular conservation you are in – if you are in one at all.

Alternatively, if you wanted to do some further checks – which we would advise doing –check your council’s existing planning applications and constraints on them.

To check this, click here ( to find your local council by putting in your postcode. This will take you to your specific local councils website. Navigate the site through to the planning section and then go to the ‘view and comment on planning applications’.

Once you have made it here put in your postcode or street name. This should bring up all of the previous and existing applications in your area. Click on an application and go to the constraints section at the top. This will inform you of any article directions or restrictions in place which restrict development. But what are these article directions?

The Nitty Gritty – Article 2(3) Directions

Article directions are put in place by your local council to restrict certain types of development and what can be applied for in terms of planning permission.  They also classify certain types of land. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development Order) defines Article 2(3) Land as:

1. Land within—

(a) an area designated as a conservation area under section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (designation of conservation areas);

(b) an area of outstanding natural beauty;

(c) an area specified by the Secretary of State for the purposes of section 41(3) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (enhancement and protection of the natural beauty and amenity of the countryside)(a);

(d) the Broads;

(e) a National Park; and

(f) a World Heritage Site.

To keep this section short and sweet, it means you have to apply for full planning permission for any forms of alterations, extensions or general building work.

What you will need within your planning application.

Now you have a decent understanding of the make up of a conservation area and what restricts it, we can dive into what it is your going to need to apply for a successful planning application.

The first thing you will need is to hire an architect. Your architect should be able to provide you with all the drawings and documents which you may require.

  • Existing Floor Plans
  • Existing Section Drawings
  • Existing Elevations (As detailed as possible with annotations of materiality and prominent features)
  • Location & Site Plan
  • Proposed Floor Plans
  • Proposed Sections
  • Proposed Elevations (All changes to be clearly noted and with reference to planning policy)
  • Design and Access Statement
  • Heritage statement (A really important document – comprehensive report of the conservation area and all of the context)

In short, you will need all of the documents required for a full planning application but with the additional heritage statement.

Your architect will be able to give you further information on this but dependant on the architect, they may ask you to go externally to a consultant to write the report. In most cases the architect should be able to write one for you. Make sure you check this before hiring them!

What if you only have a small change to make to your property? Will you require planning permission. It all depends on the location of the change. If the change is internal, no. If the change is external (down to new boundary fencing) the council will need to know. The best thing to do is get expert advice.


Let’s summarise.

To put it simply, if you have done your research you will be able to get your planning permission without a hitch. Having read this article what you need to do to get your planning permission.

Conservation areas are defined by spaces and building of special interest and architectural merit. Go online to check if your property is within one, understand that it is only external factors which effect planning permission and hire an architect. Your architect will provide you with all of the drawings you need including a heritage statement. Submit this with your application checking that there are not further restrictions on your property. It could be a listed building which has further implications to planning. If not your now all set and should have the knowledge you need to move forward with your development.

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