What is a conservation area?
What is a Conservation Area?
The statutory definition of a Conservation Area is, 'an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.' The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Conservation Areas in Wyre Forest range from historic town centres to rural hamlets.
Who designates Conservation Areas?
The Local Planning Authority has a duty to assess those areas which are considered to fall within the above definition and to designate them as Conservation Areas. While we are ultimately responsible for deciding whether an area should be given Conservation Area status, the decision is only taken after extensive research and consultation with people living and owning property in the area.
How are Conservation Areas chosen for Designation?
There are no standard criteria upon which an area is designated. The 'special' interest of an area can be derived from groups of buildings, historic street patterns, historic uses, layout, parks, gardens and trees. "When considering the designation of Conservation areas, Local planning authorities should ensure that an area justifies such status because of its special architectural or historic interest, and that the concept of conservation is not devalued through the designation of areas that lack special interest." National Planning Policy Framework 2019 paragraph 186.
What does designation mean?
In exercising Conservation Area controls, local planning authorities are required to pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of the Conservation Area. Therefore within a Conservation Area we have extra controls over the following:
Planning permission is needed for "relevant demolition". The application forms and guidance can be found on-line under Planning Application Forms. Generally we view an application from the stand point of trying to retain the building so a strong case needs to be made for its demolition.
In a Conservation Area, you need planning permission for changes to buildings which would normally be permitted. Changes requiring consent include:
- cladding a building
- inserting dormer windows
- putting up a satellite dish visible from the street.
Anyone proposing to cut down, top or lop a tree in a conservation area, whether or not it is covered by a tree preservation order has to give six weeks notice to us. We will consider the contribution the tree makes to the character of the conservation area and if necessary it will make a tree preservation order to protect it.
What policies are used to control development?
Our main conservation policy is Policy SAL.UP6 of the Site Allocations and Policies Local Plan.
The policy generally presumes against the loss of features which add to the special interest of conservation areas and is used in the determination of planning applications in these areas. We also take National Planning Policy Framework into account when determining these applications.
What does the Council normally do in Conservation Areas?
We consult widely on proposals affecting a conservation area. This might include periodic enhancement schemes including proposals to:
- control advertisements and shop signs;
- ensure that new buildings harmonise with their neighbours;
- prepare development briefs for sites in conservation areas;
- encourage environmental improvements whenever possible;
- ensure that traffic control measures harmonise with the character of the area.
- make grants available for the repair of buildings whenever possible.
How do I find out more about a Conservation Area?
There are seventeen Conservation Areas within the Wyre Forest District.
To find out if your property falls within a Conservation Area you can contact us.