What is a conservation area?

Conservation areas exist to protect the special architectural and historic interest of a place, including the features that make it unique and distinctive.

There are extra planning controls in conservation areas, covering the external appearance of buildings and works to trees. These controls are intended to protect the architectural and natural features that make the place special. 

Extra controls in conservation areas

Article 4 Directions are tailored by the council to control particular types of work within conservation areas. They help to protect the character and appearance of the area by safeguarding features that make a positive contribution. 

Not all conservation areas have an Article 4 Direction, but where they do exist you will need to get planning permission before you carry out the works they control. This might relate to replacement windows, the demolition of front garden walls, roof extensions, or other alterations.

Works to buildings or trees in conservation areas

Use our self-assessment forms to quickly establish if your development proposal needs permission. 

For works to trees visit tree preservation.

Changing windows or roofing materials in a conservation area

Historic windows should be retained and repaired wherever possible. If repair is beyond the skills of a good craftsperson, a like-for-like copy should be made. 

If your house is in a conservation area with an Article 4 Direction you may need planning permission to alter the windows or to change the roofing materials.

If your property is a flat or a building in non-residential use within a conservation area, you are likely to require planning permission to alter the windows or to change the roofing materials.

If your building is listed, you will also need listed building consent.

Like-for-like repairs do not usually require any consent. 

The council has produced detailed advice about alterations to historic windows and altering historic roofs.

Painting Regency buildings in the Leamington Spa Conservation Area

The council has produced specific guidance on painting Regency buildings in the Royal Leamington Spa Conservation Area.

Demolition in a conservation area

If you want to demolish a building in a conservation area, you will first need to get planning permission. If the building is listed you will also need listed building consent

Promoting good design

The council encourages all applicants to submit a concise design and access statement to demonstrate how an understanding of the character of the site, its surroundings, and relevant policy, has informed the design of your proposed scheme. These statements are often mandatory. We believe they speed up the decision-making process and improve design quality in all cases, both inside and outside of conservation areas.

Conservation area appraisals

The council has prepared conservation area appraisals for most of the district’s conservation areas. These outline the history of a specific conservation area and explain what makes it special. It also provides guidelines on the design of development within the conservation area.

Further advice and enquiries

If you need advice about altering your property in a conservation area, or to alter a listed building, you are advised to appoint an architect or appropriately qualified person with experience of working with heritage assets.

The council has produced a residential design guide to assist you and your professional adviser in satisfying the council’s design and conservation policies. (This design guide may be relevant for proposals both within and outside of conservation areas).

The council’s planning officers will be your first point of contact for further advice on planning controls, including sites within conservation areas. A free session is available for pre-application planning advice on specific proposals on Wednesdays between 2.30 and 4.30 pm. An appointment can be made with any of the planning officers.

The council employs a conservation manager to advise planning officers on the design of development affecting conservation areas and listed buildings.

Further detailed advice on conservation areas, listed buildings, scheduled monuments, registered parks and gardens, ecclesiastical exemption, and other heritage consents, is available from the website of Historic England

Guidance leaflets