South Leigh

Conservation area...

Shall we apply for a conservation area for the whole Parish?

We will have a public meeting in the New Year to see what people think.

Attached are some notes that demystify conservation areas and, with a bit of luck, lay to rest potential concerns but I realise that there are pros and cons and we want to consult as widely as possible before final decisions are made.

It will be for you to decide whether the restrictions on what you can do with your property or the need to seek permission that you would not normally need to seek is worth it. Let me have your views: dpea4cs@aol.com

If we decided to seek conservation status it is perhaps a chance to develop an overall plan in relation to nature conservation and other issues such as:

  1. Furthering biodiversity.
  2. Tree planting across the village and perhaps a permanent Christmas tree.
  3. Nesting boxes for birds and bats.
  4. Traffic speed reduction / calming.
  5. Planting and encouragement of wild flowers.
  6. Sorting out the ditches and hedgerows and ensuring rights of way are cleared.
  7. Painting the bridge by pub and perhaps encouraging the pub to replace the phone box with a red one and finding a purpose for it beyond a phone box.
That is a matter we need to discuss over the next few months.

Notes

A conservation area is 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).

Permitted development (PD) rights are slightly different in conservation areas compared to other areas. This means that you need to make planning applications for some forms of development which would not need such applications outside conservation areas. For example:

  1. Detailed residential changes like two-storey extensions, dormer windows, and stone cladding.
  2. Extensions to retail premises (smaller floorspace increases; appearance should match the existing; limitations to click and collect facilities).
  3. Industrial and warehouse buildings (smaller floorspace increases).
  4. Controls on materials for buildings on the site of a school, college, university or hospital.
  5. Limitations on change of use such as retail or agricultural to dwelling house.
Further details of Permitted Development in Conservation Areas.

Permitted Development (PD) rights still exist in Conservation Areas but are curtailed in some instances (but probably not by as much as you might think). Here is a summary of the key rules:

Extensions: In a Conservation Area, you will need to apply for planning permission for any extension other than a single storey rear extension of no more than 3m (or 4m if the house is detached).

Side extensions and two storey extensions some of which are permissible under PD rights in other areas are all excluded from PD rights in a Conservation Area.

Recladding: If you live in a Conservation Area you will need to apply for planning permission before cladding the outside of your house with stone, artificial stone, pebble dash, render, timber, plastic or tiles.

Windows: This is a bit of a grey area, but unless your Conservation Area home is subject to an Article 4 Direction removing Permitted Development rights, you can in theory replace your existing windows with the insertion of new windows and doors that are of a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the house. Simply put, the rules in a Conservation Area are the same as those in a regular non-designated area, so you will still need permission for a radically different window scheme (including new openings).

Outbuildings: Conservation Area homeowners have the same PD rights as those of regular homeowners with the exception of the ability to erect an outbuilding to the side of the house. Other regular PD rights prohibit outbuildings to the front of the property, height restrictions particularly near boundaries, and that they shouldnt cover more than half of the area of land around the house.

Solar panels: A highly controversial area of late, but the latest is that if you're in a Conservation Area you wont need planning approval for a solar panel unless the solar panel is wall-mounted (i.e. not on your roof) on a wall facing the highway. So, if you've got a south-facing house in a Conservation Area, you can pop panels on your roof providing certain limitations are met.

Trees in a Conservation Area

Under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 all trees in a Conservation Area with a trunk diameter of 75mm or more (measured at 1.5m above natural ground level) are protected (subject to some exemptions). It is an offence to prune, fell or otherwise damage a tree without first giving notice to the Council.