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Conservation Areas – Frequently Asked Questions

What is protected by a conservation area?

All conservation areas provide protection against the demolition of buildings and the cutting down of trees. However, other things may be protected, such as doors and windows, depending on whether there is an Article 4 Direction. To find out what is protected in any particular conservation area you can look at the Local Conservation Areas page of this web site or contact the City Council. Contact details are here.


Can I replace my windows?

For houses in conservation areas, all windows in all properties can be repaired on a like-for-like basis. Where repair is not possible, windows can be replaced on a like-for-like basis.

If you want to replace your windows with a different design, you will need to check whether windows are protected by an Article 4 Direction. You can check this through the Local Conservation Areas page of this web site or by contacting the City Council here.

Unless your house is a listed building, you can install internal secondary glazing without any need for consent. If your house is listed, it may still be possible to install secondary glazing, but you may need to obtain listed building consent.


What about changing the interior of my property?

The interiors of properties in conservation areas are not protected and most alterations do not require planning permission. An exception to this would be internal works comprising substantial demolition of building fabric.

Things like painting and decorating, installing new kitchens and bathrooms and replacing internal doors would not need consent (unless your building is also a listed building). However, you may wish to consider whether replacing original features harms the character and future saleability of the property.


Does being in a conservation area affect the value of my property?

Being located in a conservation area can be a selling point for houses and is often mentioned in sales particulars. Also, there is some evidence to suggest that well-preserved period properties can attract premium prices. There is little or no evidence of conservation areas lowering house prices.


Can I paint or clad my House?

Painting of woodwork does not normally need consent (unless you live in a listed building, in which case you should talk to the City Council). However, you should check to make sure that there is not an Article 4 Direction covering painting.

Quite a few conservation areas have an Article 4 Direction covering the painting, rendering or cladding of walls. You can check this on the Local Conservation Areas page of this web site or by contacting the City Council here.


Do I need permission for routine maintenance?

Routine works of maintenance carried out using authentic materials and craft techniques on a like-for-like basis do not need consent.

The use of a builder with skills and experience of working with historic buildings is strongly advised. Inappropriate maintenance works can actually cause damage to the fabric of your building.

For example, a common mistake is to use hard mortars rather than lime-based mortars for repointing. Similarly, hard render is sometimes used rather than breathable, layered lime-based renders. Both of these examples can result in damp problems and damage to the brickwork.

For more advice on maintenance works, you should speak to one of the Council’s conservation officers. 


How do I find out if I need planning permission for alterations?

The City Council can advise you on whether or not your proposed alterations need consent. You can contact the Council here.


What if my property is also a listed building?

Different protection exists for listed buildings. Listing protects both the exterior and interior of a building, regardless of the grade of the listing (there are three grades, Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II).

Listed building consent may be required for alterations or extensions to a listed building, depending on how they would affect the buildings historic character. You should speak to one of the Council’s conservation officers for advice on what needs consent. You can make contact here.


When do I need to apply for conservation area consent?

You would only need to apply for conservation area consent if you propose to demolish a building in a conservation area (unless the building is listed, in which case you would need to apply for listed building consent).

You do not need conservation area consent for alterations or extensions to buildings in conservation areas, but you may need planning permission.