I live in a Conservation Area, is this a problem for obtaining Planning Permission?
In short, not normally! – but there are factors which must be considered.
Let’s start with what a Conservation Area is… it is an area designated by the local planning authority to protect the architectural and historic features which make it unique.
If you live in a Conservation Area, this usually means that there are some controls (called Article 4 directions) on what you can do without permission, such as replacing windows, or cutting down trees. You may have also heard of “Permitted Development” – in Conservation Areas you may need to make a Planning Application for some projects where such permission isn’t normally needed.
Don’t worry though, the fact that your home is in a Conservation Area doesn’t mean you can’t change or extend it! Your architect will need to prepare a design that considers any restrictions (which vary from borough to borough). These often relate to materials. Planners are usually more focussed on the front of the property and the effect of proposals on the street scene, usually with less impetus often placed on the back of the property.
Sometimes, people in a Conservation Area ask “must my new design look like the rest of the property?” Thankfully, this does not always need to be the case, and modern designs are not prohibited. A good architect will allow the original building to shine through, creating a new design that compliments the original building, complying with any restrictions imposed. They will also prepare all the necessary drawings and design statements to accompany what’s known as a “Conservation Area” Planning application.
In summary then; if you do live in a Conservation Area, and you want to alter or extend your property this shouldn’t be a problem, but there are planning restrictions that need to be addressed as part of the design. Once permission is granted, there may also be further details to provide, such as how the window details will look, for example.
You will need to engage an architect who is experienced in this kind of work, and it is one of the things that RHJB specialise in. Living in a Conservation Area is to be seen as an opportunity, not a problem!