Planning Permission in Conservation Areas

Building a new house or making a renovations could be a difficult process for you. To ease the process, you need to follow a good plan and put things in the correct order. However, if your property is located in a conservation area, obtaining a planning permission could be more difficult!


To obtain planning permission for performing external works to your dwelling house, converting a property or building a new property in the conversation area, you must create a persuasive application. The most popular questions about obtaining planning permission in conservation area are below;

● Restrictions in conservation areas

● Requirements for planning permission in a conservation area

● Is extension possible in a conservation area?

● Is planning permission required for changing windows in a conservation area?

● What could be built in a conservation area?

● Is it possible to convert a house into flats in a conservation area?

●How the chance of approval for a development in a conservation area could be increased?

You’ll find all information about the best ways to get planning permission for new build projects, for extension or conversion projects.

Which Areas Are Included in Conservation Areas?

Conservation areas were defined in the 1960’s first. The purpose of this practice is to protect the specific character of local areas. If we need to give a specific definition, we can say that conservation areas are areas which have certain architectural or historical characteristics that needed to be preserved or enhanced under Section 69 of The 1990 Planning Act.


Why Are Conservation Areas Special?

Some regions in the UK have certain characteristics which make them special, and the local authorities do not want these characteristics to be lost due to developments or changes in existing buildings. So, we can say that the purpose of conservation areas is to control the new projects to protect the certain characteristics of an area, and minimise the loss of historical buildings and natural beauties.

Today, there are approximately 10.000 conservation areas in the UK, and conservation officers manage them to make sure that they preserve their character. Below, you can see some examples of conservation areas.

● Old city centres

● Important Landmarks

● Old suburbs located in cities or some large towns

● Towns or villages that have a historical value

● Country estates

Conservation areas targets to preserve the characteristics of those areas. It is generally difficult to assess and measure these aspects, however they are indicators which developers have to minimise their possible development effect in a compatible way with the planning considerations of conservation areas.

Maps of Conservation Areas

Permitted Development Rights in Conservation Areas

Perhaps you already know that some developments such as small extensions are included in the General Permitted Development Order. The reasons for this practice is that small developments generally do not have negative impacts on the area which are unacceptable for the local authorities.

However, you should know that Permitted Development Rights do not work in the same way in conservation areas when compared to other areas. It is still possible carrying out some specific developments for the buildings in conservation areas without getting a planning permission. However, the condition of the buildings that are included in the Article 4 Direction is different.


You need to obtain Planning Permission for some developments that normally do not need planning permission outside conservation areas. Moreover, you will also need to apply for Listed Building Consent if your building is listed.

In brief: Conservation areas could restrict the Permitted Development Rights. For some types of developments, you may need Planning Permission while you would not need it if your building is outside conservation areas. Even for some small developments which are certainly covered by the Permitted Development Rights could need Planning Permission in conservation areas.

Most of the local councils cancel Permitted Development Rights for the development projects which affect the outer appearance of buildings by putting Article 4 Directions in practice.

Studio 20 Architects secured Planning Permission for a property in a conservation Area in Greenwich.

Is Planning Permission Required to Carry Out Developments to a House in A Conservation Area ?

For some specific external developments to a dwelling house which is located in a conservation area, you will need to get Planning Permission.

You should know that you cannot demolish a property in a conservation area if you do not have the permission of the local council. It is illegal to carrying out such a project without getting consent for it in the form of Planning Permission.


Now, it is time to show you which projects require Planning Permission in Conservation Areas.

Below; you can see some examples of developments that you need to obtain Planning Permission. Keep in mind that it is not a very detailed list.

● Any type of extension that extends beyond the rear wall of the building in a Conservation Area

● Total or partial demolition of a building which is located in Conservation Area

● Any type of roof extension or roof enlargement projects. For example, a dormer window addition in a Conservation Area.

● All types of two-storey extension in a Conservation Area

● Any type of extension or alteration to any property within the grounds of a building, if the project is planned for the side of the house in a Conservation Area.

● Cladding any outside part of a property with stone, plastic, tile or artificial stone in a Conversation Area.

● Solar panel, flue, soil or chimney installation and vent pipe if it overlooks the road and is on the front or side of a property in a Conversation Area.


Places that You Need to Tread in A Careful Way

The planning authorities will examine your plans in detail. Conversation officers know their area well and they know what makes the Conservation Area unique. However, you can take advantage of it. Planning authorities and conservation officers give importance to their area, and if you know how to preserve, or even enhance the look of the area, the process would be easier for you.

There are some very important features in every area. Thus, we advise you to have a walk in the area, think about the outcomes of your plans and evaluate the reception of your development based on your research.

At this point, you will need a professional and successful team of licensed architects and planning consultants. They would help you to navigate this difficult process. The chance of getting planning permission will drastically rise. Studio 20 Architects’ staff have extensive knowledge about Planning Permission in the Conservation Area.

Working with architects and planning consultants means saving money, time and effort for you. They will design your project, and explain it to Planning Authorities and Conservation officers in the best way. We advise you do not risk the possibility of getting a planning permission in a Conversation Area by neglecting professional support.

Should My Design Look Old?

Building Plans

This question is one of the most popular questions among our clients. The answer may be surprising for you but contemporary design is not a problem to get permission. You won’t need to find hundreds years old windows or the original bricks of the property. You do not need to build the original building in the same way.

The most important thing you should pay attention to is that your development must preserve and enhance the current area. The key thing is, when building a new structure from git-go, you should give importance to fulfil ‘’enhancing’’ aim. However, adaptation works on existing properties should focus on ‘’preserving’’ features.

How To Get a Permission For a Controversial Design Successfully?

First, you need to make sure that you work with a RIBA licensed architect who has planning experience in conservation area projects. With the assistance of the professionals, the chance of getting approval will rise. Moreover, getting pre-application advice from your local council is a really important issue.

Thanks to our expert staff, the council will have the chance of looking at perfect OS maps and they would have the chance of looking at your building and property area in detail. The support of professional, expert architects and planning consultants will be also required in the stage of preliminary planning drawings, and Design & Heritage Statements. A professional assistance will be also beneficial for you in presenting the case in a convincing and compelling way.


As you can understand, professional assistance in your project is the most important thing for you in all development works or new buildings. According to recommendations of your council, our expert planning consultants and architects develop the project. As a result, planning officers will support your project.

You should refrain from working with planning consultants and architects who are not experienced in projects that take place in conservation areas. Because they do not know specific conditions of the conservation area, it is very possible that their drawings or Design & Heritage Statement would not fulfil the requirements of the area. The worst outcome of this kind of scenario is that, when the authorities reject your initial project because it is not appropriate for the character of the area, they could have a bias against your work. Therefore, you should be very careful.

Lastly, when you submit your application, your designs should have the top quality. Perhaps it is possible to get approval with a standard application which has basic floor plans and elevation designs. However, it is not the same with the conservation areas. Your plan should include 3D designs, coloured elevations and perspective drawings. In this way, it would be easier for the officer to understand your plan. As a result, the chance of getting approval from the planning officer will be higher.

If the application of your project goes to the planning committee, a user-friendly design would be beneficial for you because the members of the planning committee generally do not have a design background. They can understand user-friendly designs easier than complicated ones.

What Are The Potential Obstacles In Obtaining Planning Permission in a Conservation Area?


As we’ve already said, conservation officers give great importance to their area, and you need to keep them on your side along the process. This is the most important issue to get permission. Although they give great importance to their area, planning officers are generally helpful people. So, it would be a good idea to get in touch with them and take advice as long as possible. If you learn what they think about your project at the beginning of the project, you won’t need to change the project for many times.

There is another issue that you should pay attention to...

You must show that your project is beneficial for the local area and preserves the nature of it in your application. How you present your application is critically important to obtain planning permission in the conservation area. If architects you work present a good work, the chance of getting permission will increase. Do not forget that the standards of conservation areas are not easy to fulfil, and your architects or planning consultants should be ready for the challenge.

You can send us an email or call us on 07414189698. We can have a chat about your projects, and find a way to get successful results from the planning applications.