Conservation Area Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is a Conservation Area?

Conservation Areas are defined as: 'an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character and appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance - Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

 

How many Conservation Areas are there in the district?

There are currently 33 Conservation Areas in the Arun District Council Local Planning Authority Area.

 

Who designates Conservation Areas?  

The council, as local planning authority, has the duty to designate Conservation Areas.

 

Why Designate a Conservation Area?

We have a duty to designate any area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance as a conservation area.

Designation is a means of recognising the importance of the quality of an area as a whole, as well as protecting individual buildings. Conservation Areas are not designated to stop future development. Instead, designation seeks to manage change in order to enhance Conservation Areas and ensure that new development preserves and enhances their character.

 

Is My Property in a Conservation Area?

Please use our online Geographical Information System (GIS) to search for Conservation areas, as well as a selection of other information such as Listed Buildings and Tree Preservation Orders.

  How to use the map

  1. Search for your property by full address or postcode, in the box centred above the map window.
  2. Once you have located your property in this box click on the address.
  3. This will centre the map over your selection and show any information relating to this property in the left hand window (this will display no information on the map itself).
  4. To see this information on the map please open up the drop down menu called “map layers” in the left hand column, and select which layers you would like to be visible by clicking on the eye symbol.
  5. You can also show the legend and a brief description for each layer by clicking the relevant symbols (the middle and right symbols next to the eye) in the left hand window.
  6. You can also change between standard GIS mapping or Aerial imagery, on the right of the map.

Please note that every attempt is made to keep the above listing of Listed Buildings up to date. However, if for any reason you wish to seek confirmation concerning the status of a property please contact Arun District Council’s Conservation Officer on 01903 737785. Alternatively, please email us.

 

Where can I find more information regarding the individual Conservation Areas?

Further information can be found in the Conservation Areas Supplementary Planning Guidance [pdf] 3MB. Further information regarding the Craigweil House Conservation Area can be found in the Craigweil House Conservation Area Statement.

 

What are the benefits of living in a conservation area?

The extra controls that apply to Conservation Areas are designed to protect the special historic and architectural character of each area. They are intended to prevent attractive historic areas from becoming dull and featureless, containing buildings that have suffered from insensitive alterations.

Every application for development within an area the council deals with is then assessed against the need to preserve or enhance that particular local character.

 

What Legislation and Guidance is specific to Conservation Areas?

The current legislation relating to Conservation Areas is contained within the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

The Government’s policies relating to the Historic Environment can be found in section 12 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

 

How are Conservation Areas chosen for designation?

Designation of a conservation area is a matter of judgement of the council, as local planning authority, guided by specialist conservation advice. The approved criteria used by this Council is as follows:

  1. That the area complies with the legal definition that it is of special architectural or historical interest. This suggests that there will normally be a significant number of Listed Buildings in the area.
  2. That there is a need for action to preserve or, if appropriate, to enhance its character or appearance.
  3. That it is a coherent area, not isolated or individual buildings, better dealt with under Listed Building procedures.
  4. Where there is a proposal for the designation of a Conservation Area, the Council will:
    1. give priority to areas under pressure for change;
    2. recognise that designation as a Conservation Area is a means of controlling rather than preventing change; and
    3. draw boundaries with careful regard to the architectural qualities of the buildings, the spaces around them and the overall character of the area.

 

What does the council normally do in Conservation Areas?

The council as local planning authority considers the effect of development proposals on the special architectural and historical character of a conservation area. It also carries out Conservation Area Character Appraisals which identify elements that contribute to the special interest of the area as well as its character and appearance.

Opportunities to preserve or enhance the conservation area are identified and the conservation area's boundaries are reviewed. These character appraisals provide a sound basis for development control decision relating to proposals for development in or adjacent to Conservation Areas.

 

How will Conservation Area status affect the area in which I live or work?

The designation of a conservation area indicates the Council's positive commitment to these areas and its intention to preserve and enhance the quality of the environment. Conservation area legislation is one of the strongest methods available in the planning system to maintain the traditional, special and individual character of a place. However, because of this, a common fear is that conservation area status will fossilise an area and not allow it to evolve to the detriment of those living and working within the area.  

Whilst conservation area status does lead to additional planning constraints and considerations, it should be recognised that the purpose of conservation is not about preventing all change but about managing it. A surprising amount of work can be undertaken to property without the need for planning permission, and consequently the individual and the community play a very important part in maintaining the character of a conservation area.

Consequently, the emphasis is to guide and control development rather than to prevent it. It is important though, that all new development should be sympathetic to the special architectural and aesthetic qualities of the area, particularly in terms of scale, design, materials and space between buildings.

 

Does Conservation Area Status mean that I will never be able to develop my property?

In general the council will require new building work to preserve or enhance the existing character or appearance of the conservation area. Special regard should be given to such matters as scale, height, form, massing, detailed design and quality of materials, in the interests of harmonising the new development with its neighbours. Density of development is an intrinsic part of the character of Conservation Areas.

This applies to both development within a conservation area and also to development outside it but close enough to affect its setting.

 

Can I Alter My Windows?

In respect to non Listed Buildings, owners of properties that are purpose built flats, maisonettes or commercial uses do not have permitted development rights. Therefore, if you are proposing to change your windows you will have to obtain planning permission before altering them.

It is worth remembering that in many cases, perfectly good original windows are removed from buildings as a way of improving energy efficiency and insulation. This is usually an unnecessary alteration that detracts from the character and appearance of a building and can reduce its sale value through the loss of attractive architectural features.

We strongly advise owners of buildings within Conservation Areas to retain and repair their original timber or metal windows, as these give buildings their special architectural character and add value to the appearance of a conservation area. Window frames may appear to be beyond repair, but on closer inspection only need limited repairs and repainting. If a window frame is so badly decayed that it has to be replaced, this should be carried out using materials and designs that identically replicate the originals.

If replacement windows are necessary we recommend the use of authentic materials and detail design to harmonise with the original. Accordingly we do not recommend the use of UPVC replacement windows in Conservation Areas as they are not sustainable and are environmentally damaging.

Discrete purpose made high performance secondary glazing units are the Council's preferred option to providing thermal and acoustic insulation to historic buildings.

Slim double glazing units are now available that are suitable for use in many original window frames without the need for replacements in non-listed buildings only.

 

What about trees and hedges: Do special controls apply?

Trees in Conservation Areas have special protection because of the contribution they make to the character and setting of the area. Tree surgery work on any species of tree, including fruit trees, from simple pruning to crown reduction, thinning or felling, should not proceed unless you have given six weeks' prior notice using the notification form Trees in a Conservation Area.

Permission may also be required to remove a hedge or significantly reduce its height, if it has not been regularly maintained.

Please note that you do not normally need permission to cut down or do work to trees that are less than 75mm in diameter (measured 1.5m above ground). Shrub species are also exempt. However, this should be checked with the Duty Planner first.

Trees in Conservation Areas already protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) are, of course, subject to the normal TPO controls.

 

What are Article 4 Directions, and are there any in Arun District?

Additional controls are applied to minor developments within certain Conservation Areas in the form of Article 4 Directions. These directions can control small-scale change that can gradually erode the character of a conservation area, such as alterations to windows and doors or the creation of car parking space at the front of a property. Where an Article 4 Direction is applied, planning permission would be required for specified developments.

There is currently one area covered by Article 4 Directions: the Craigweil House Conservation Area

 

Are grants available to undertake works of repair or restoration to a property in a Conservation Area?

Unfortunately, the Council does not have the resources available to provide a grant based system.