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Conservation Areas FAQ

How are conservation areas designated?

Conservation areas are designated by the Council as local planning authority. The Secretary of State can also designate in exceptional circumstances - usually where the area is of more than local interest. The process of designation is prescribed in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and involves careful assessment, public consultation, resolution by a Council committee and notification in a newspaper.  Once designated the conservation area is revealed in a local land charge search.

What is a conservation area character appraisal?

A Conservation Area Character Appraisal describes what makes the area special.  It explains why the area is considered to have special architectural or historic interest which merits designation as a conservation area. It can be used by the Council to help shape future developments and planning policies, as well as giving residents an idea of what enhancements could be made.

What about new development in conservation areas?

Conservation areas are not intended to stop new development.  They are intended as a way of positively managing change to ensure that special architectural or historic interest is preserved or enhanced through new development.  Where the Council considers new development to be appropriate, a high standard of design will be expected. The Council will require new building work to preserve or enhance the existing character or appearance of the Conservation Area. Special regard should be given to such matters as scale, height, form, massing, detailed design and quality of materials in the interests of harmonising the new development within its surroundings. Density and grain of development is an intrinsic part of the character of conservation areas.

Additional advice on conservation areas can be found in the Supplementary Planning Guidance for conservation areas.

What about demolition in conservation areas?

If you live in a conservation area, you will need planning permission for relevant demolition to do the following:

Even if your proposals do not include the work mentioned above you should still check if an application is required.

Find out more about the application process and how to apply online via the Planning Portal.

What are Article 4 Directions?

Article 4 Directions restrict permitted development rights, i.e. development that property owners would normally be able to undertake without planning permission, for example replacing windows. This does not mean that certain changes cannot be made to a property, but that a planning application is required for those changes, if a Direction is in place.

Is your property included in an Article 4 Direction?

Swale Borough Council has made Article 4 and 4(2) Directions in some of its conservation areas to give additional protection to certain features of single dwellings that would not normally be protected by conservation area designation alone, but which the Council considers are key elements of the areas’ special architectural or historic interest. These directions can restrict permitted development rights or your right to carry out certain works without the benefit of planning permission.

What should I do if I notice unauthorised work being carried out in a conservation area?

If you are concerned that unauthorised works are being carried out in a conservation area then you should contact us. For more information please see our Enforcement web page.

If your conservation area query has not been answered from the information contained on this page contact us via Mid Kent Planning Support on 01622 602736.

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