Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Listed Building or Conservation Area

A conservation area is generally defined by the town council as an area of particular architectural or historic merit, and are typically the older parts of a town, perhaps the town centre or the area surrounding the village green.

Purchasing or owning a property within a conservation area may not be apparent until you decide to make some alterations to the property. You may find that the permitted development rights currently enjoyed by property owners outside a conservation area are none existent.

Making a simple house planning application for an extension within a conservation area also involves the submission of additional information and documentation. There is likely to be restrictions on the use of materials, such as the use of stone or slate, timber windows or any other restriction peculiar to the area to preserve the character of the area. Simply changing the windows without permission and using a different style may resulting in a visit from the planning enforcement officer and receiving a stop order to cease all work. You may be required to replace the new windows, with a like for like replacement or the original style, conversely the style of the windows previously installed may not have been in keeping with the surrounding area and may have been installed before the council gave the conservation designation.

Having a property in a conservation area doesn’t mean that you cannot make alterations, it just that any application will be looked at carefully by the local authority to ensure the proposal will either enhance or preserve the local character and appearance of the area. Proposals must be sensibly designed and justified within the context of the conservation area and carefully presented to the Planning and Conservation officers.

Listed buildings are categorised for their special architectural or historic interest. The building itself does not need to be located within a conservation area, in fact they could be located within a reasonably recent development area.
You will need to obtain Listed building Consent if you want to alter or extend a listed building which would affect the character of the building.

Repairs and maintenance to a Listed building can generally be carried out on a ‘like for like’ basis, it is recommended strongly to check with the Conservation officer as to what constitutes as like for like repairs.. It is advised before embarking on carrying such repairs, you take a photographic record of the existing condition and a series of photographs during the process to confirm that the materials and details used to carry out the repairs or maintenance as the same as the original construction. For example a sliding sash window originally built around 1800’s would have very fine timber glazing bars only ½ to ¾ inch wide, a more recently built window would have glazing bars at least twice this thickness, which alters the character and appearance of the window and the building quite significantly.

The listing of the building can include the structure and any part of the building, it is commonly the buildings exterior but it may include a particularly fine example of a staircase, fireplace, floor tiles, decorative ceilings, or other historically important man-made object or structure. It is always best to check with the local authority conservation department what is part of the listing.

It is a criminal offence to carry out any work to a Listed Building without obtaining consent and can carry a penalty of up to 2 years in prison, in addition to the cost or restoring the building back to its former state.

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