Conservation Areas

The Royal Borough is characterised by a rich historic built environment with nearly three quarters of the borough protected by 38 separate Conservation Areas.

Being in a conservation area does not mean that change cannot happen. For planning applications in a conservation area the 'key test' in managing change is that the development proposal should preserve or enhance the historic or architectural character or appearance of the conservation area. 

Certain uses such as dwelling houses also benefit from permitted development rights. However, more restrictive conditions apply in conservation areas than they do in other areas. 'Permitted development rights' are set nationally and the best way to find out if you can carry out permitted development works is to check using the Government's Planning Portal. You can also look at the Consolidated General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) 2015 which is the definitive legal order setting out permitted development rights. Conservation Areas are termed as Article 2(3) land in the GPDO.

Some houses have had permitted development rights removed so that changes which may harm the character of the conservation area now require planning permission. You should check our Article 4 Directions before carrying out any works.

The Council has documented the special character and/or appearance of conservation areas. These documents help determine planning applications in relation to the 'key test' stated above. Previously these documents were called Conservation Area Proposal Statements. Now the Council has embarked on a programme of producing new Conservation Area Appraisals to replace them. On the left hand menu on this page you will find both types of documents with the new Conservation Area Appraisals replacing the old ones as they become available.

Last updated: 23 February 2023