11 Sep 2018

Everything you need to know about demolition in a conservation area

Here, Planning Portal discusses the key things to consider when planning a demolition in a conservation area.

If you live in a conservation area, you will need planning permission for relevant demolition to carry out the following works:

• Demolish a building with a volume of more than 115m3. There are a few exceptions to this – you can get further information from the relevant council.
• To demolish a gate, fence, wall or railing more than 1m high next to a highway (including a public footpath or bridleway) or public open space; or more than 2m high elsewhere.

Applications for planning permission

The application for planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area form (Application for planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area Town and Country Planning Act 1990) should be used for proposals which involve substantial demolition of any unlisted building or structure in a conservation area if permission is required.

Please note that in a conservation area you do not need permission to demolish a building which does not exceed 115m3 or to take down any wall, gate or fence which is less than 1m high where abutting a highway, or less than 2m high elsewhere.

What is a conservation area?

Local authorities have the power (under Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 to designate as conservation areas, any area of special architectural or historic interest. This means the planning authority has extra powers to control works and demolition of buildings to protect or improve the character or appearance of the area.

How are conservation areas chosen for designation?

Conservation areas are usually chosen as places of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which should be preserved or enhanced.

The special character of these areas is not just made up of buildings, it is also defined by other features which contribute to particular views and the familiar local scene.

For example:

• The way roads, paths and boundaries are laid out
• Characteristic building and paving materials
• The way buildings are used
• Public and private spaces, such as gardens, parks and greens
• Trees and street furniture.

Conservation areas give protection across a broader area of land than listing individual buildings and all features within the area, listed or otherwise, may be recognised as part of its character.

Please note, this permission does not apply to listed buildings, or the demolition of an ecclesiastical building in ecclesiastical use, for example, a church; the demolition of a scheduled monument and the demolition of any building in other certain categories.

The demolition of an unlisted building in a conservation area, without the permission of the local planning authority is a criminal offence. It is often helpful to discuss your proposal with your local authority before you send in your application – this is known as ‘pre-application advice’. Your local authority will normally have details of how to go about this on its website.

Further information....

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