The rules and reg­u­la­tions for homes in con­ser­va­tion ar­eas

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Sally Coulthard

IT’S time to dis­pel some myths about con­ser­va­tion ar­eas.

York­shire’s a beau­ti­ful place, we all know that, and many of us in the re­gion are lucky enough to live in a con­ser­va­tion area. But do we re­ally un­der­stand what that means and how it af­fects what we do when it comes to our homes?

You’d be for­given for think­ing that the pur­pose of des­ig­nat­ing some­where a con­ser­va­tion area is to pro­tect the wildlife and flora. But no. Con­ser­va­tion ar­eas are towns, vil­lages and other ar­eas of pop­u­la­tion that have a spe­cial his­tor­i­cal or ar­chi­tec­tural in­ter­est whose char­ac­ter is worth pro­tect­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to the City of York Coun­cil: “Con­ser­va­tion area leg­is­la­tion only pro­tects built up ar­eas. One com­mon and very un­der­stand­able mis­con­cep­tion is that con­ser­va­tion ar­eas can pro­tect ar­eas of nat­u­ral beauty, such as wood­lands, river­banks or mead­ows. Ar­eas of nat­u­ral beauty are only a con­sid­er­a­tion where they con­trib­ute to the set­ting of a vil­lage or town, for ex­am­ple, trees within gar­dens or streets.”

About five per cent of all the hous­ing stock in the UK sits in a con­ser­va­tion area and, by virtue of their na­ture and sur­round­ings, houses in con­ser­va­tion ar­eas can carry a pre­mium of as much as 20 per cent more than homes in sur­round­ing ar­eas. Good news for prop­erty prices.

How­ever, an area des­ig­nated as a con­ser­va­tion area also re­quires plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions to be made for cer­tain types of de­vel­op­ment which else­where wouldn’t even raise a plan­ner’s eye­brow.

As a home­owner it’s there­fore vi­tal that you estab­lish whether your prop­erty is in a con­ser­va­tion area and un­der­stand how that sta­tus af­fects what you’re al­lowed to do. The first bit is easy – just call your lo­cal coun­cil and they’ll be able to tell you.

The sec­ond is a bit more com­pli­cated. Rules vary from coun­cil to coun­cil but here’s a quick list of the types of work which you might be sur­prised to learn may need plan­ning con­sent if you live in a con­ser­va­tion area:

Cladding any part of the ex­te­rior. This in­cludes ren­der, stone, ar­ti­fi­cial stone, tim­ber cladding, plas­tic or tiles.

De­mo­li­tion of a build­ing. This can in­clude par­tial de­mo­li­tion, such as re­mov­ing most of the build­ing but leav­ing the fa­cade. “Build­ings” en­com­passes out­build­ings and barns.

Al­ter­ations to the roof. This in­cludes the chang­ing of the orig­i­nal struc­ture, shape, pitch, cladding and or­na­ment. Also in­cludes roof win­dows such as Velux lights and dorm­ers.

Ex­ten­sions (1) Ex­tend­ing a house by more than 50 cu­bic me­tres or 10 per cent of the to­tal vol­ume of the orig­i­nal house sub­ject to a max­i­mum of 115 cu­bic me­tres. This in­cludes con­ser­va­to­ries.

Ex­ten­sions (2) Ex­tend­ing a house nearer to any high­way.

Re­place­ment win­dows. The type and ma­te­rial of win­dow will be sub­ject to plan­ning re­stric­tions. In the­ory, uPVC is gen­er­ally not al­lowed.

Sheds and green­houses. Put­ting up a struc­ture with a vol­ume of more than 10m³ within the grounds. In­cludes sum­mer­houses and swimming pools.

Satel­lite dishes. In­stalling a satel­lite dish, es­pe­cially on a front wall, chim­ney or roof slope of a prop­erty.

Trees. If you pro­pose to cut down, top or lop any tree in a con­ser­va­tion area (not just trees with Tree Preser­va­tion Or­ders.

Bound­aries. To de­mol­ish any wall, gate, fence or other means of en­clo­sure if it’s greater than 1m (3ft 3in) high where abut­ting a high­way, or 2m (6ft 6in) high in any other case.

With this in mind, if you do live in a con­ser­va­tion area and don’t want to get on the wrong side of plan­ning law, a quick call to your lo­cal coun­cil will soon estab­lish what needs con­sent and what doesn’t.

It’s of­ten said that it’s eas­ier to ask for for­give­ness than per­mis­sion but I’m not sure it’s a risk I’d be will­ing to take...

Sally Coulthard is a writer and au­thor of prop­erty and in­te­ri­ors books in­clud­ing

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