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Conservation areas are designated by local planning authorities. They are chosen as ‘areas of special architectural or historic interest’. If you live in a conservation area, it is best to check with the local council before starting work which wouldn't normally need planning permission otherwise you may end up facing enforcement action. If the property for which you are seeking planning permission is a listed building or lies within a conservation area, your proposal is likely to be subject to stricter planning controls. This guide should help to contextualise your plans to comply with current building and planning regulations.

Outline planning permission is not normally accepted in conservation areas as it is difficult for councils to evaluate the impact of a proposal without seeing the full details. Living in a designated conservation area has the following effects on planning permission:

  • Application for planning permission are advertised in the local press and on the site itself

  • ‘Permitted’ development which does not require planning permission is more restricted than usual

  • New developments must preserve or enhance the area’s character or appearance. Unlisted buildings cannot be demolished without planning permission unless they are very minor

  • Satellite dishes cannot be installed on chimney stacks or roof slopes facing the road without consent

Trees In Conservation Areas

If a tree is rooted in a conservation area, it is still protected even if it is not subject to a TPO. For this reason, you must notify the local council six weeks before you intend to carry out certain works on the tree. It is recommended that you do this so you can establish whether your work is exempt from the rules. If the local council gives you consent to work on the tree, you may start work within the six weeks. This notice period gives the authority time to consider whether a TPO is needed.

Bats And The Law

In conservation areas all bat species and their roosts are legally protected however conservation areas tend to have a higher proportion of bat roosts. You will be committing a criminal offence if you:

  • Deliberately capture, injure or kill a bat

  • Intentionally or recklessly disturb bats in its roost or deliberately disturb a group

  • Damage or destroy a bat roosting place (even if bats are not occupying the roost at the time

  • Possess or advertise/sell/exchange a bat (dead or alive) or any part of a bat

  • Intentionally or recklessly obstruct access to a bat roost.

Bats Found During Building Works

If bats are discovered during work, then the work must stop immediately until the relevant conservation organisation has been contacted and advice given. If work needs to be done to any building that is known or may contain a bat roost, the relevant statutory nature conservation organisation (SNCO) must be contacted in advance for advice.

What to do

It is recommended to have an informal discussion with conservation specialists at your local council before drawing up detailed plans to alter a listed building or build within a conservation area. Applications for consent to alter a listed building must include scaled drawings for intended changes alongside a dedicated application form. The process of sending an application is free, and you have the right to appeal to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if your application is refused.

How can Arkhi help?

At Arkhi, we have experience in dealing with Listed Building applications in and around conservation areas in the residential and hospitality sectors. If you would like to find out more or discuss your project with one of the Arkhi team, get in touch on 01260 540170 or drop us an email at

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