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Briefly, the legal definition of a conservation area is “an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance”. Under Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act, 1990, every Local Planning Authority, including North Norfolk District Council, has a duty to determine which parts of its area fit this description and then designate these as conservation areas. Conservation Areas are primarily concerned with the preservation of groups of buildings and their settings rather than individual buildings which are the preserve of the Listed Building legislation contained in Part I of the Act. They may be large or small, from whole town centres to squares, terraces and smaller groups of buildings. Although most commonly centered around historic buildings, the special interest of conservation areas can also be derived from pleasant groups of other buildings, open spaces, trees, historic street patterns, a village green or features of historic or archaeological interest. Essentially, however, it is the collective character of the area that matters rather than the individual buildings within it.
How do I find out if my property is in a Conservation Area?
The District of North Norfolk is fortunate to have a wealth of attractive areas which have retained much of their traditional character. As a result, there are currently 81 designated conservation areas, ranging from urban market towns such as Fakenham and Stalham, to the smaller villages like Hunworth and Hanworth. In addition, there are 4 large rural conservation areas that include Melton Constable Park and the Glaven Valley. Of these 81 conservation areas the majority are longstanding designations which date back to the 1970s.
You can find out if your property is in a Conservation Area by visiting our Core Strategy Map List page, where conservation areas are shown as shaded grey areas.
What are the additional controls within Conservation Areas?
Conservation area status does give additional planning protection from unsympathetic development which might otherwise spoil an area's special character. From a planning point of view this designation means that there is a duty placed on the Council to preserve or enhance the special character and appearance of each conservation area and its setting. In practice, this means that all development proposals are extremely carefully considered to ensure that every scheme either improves the existing situation, or at least make it no worse. Proposals which would spoil the special character will be resisted. Therefore, the scale of a proposal, the quality of its design, and the suitability of its materials will all be important issues in the consideration of any development scheme. These additional controls, which operate in conjunction with ordinary planning restrictions, are summarised as follows:-
- The demolition of certain buildings, walls, fences and structures within conservation areas requires the submission of a formal application for Conservation Area Consent to the District Council.
- The range of “Permitted Development Rights” (which allow certain works and alterations to properties without the need for Planning Permission) is more limited within Conservation Areas. Hence, planning applications can be required for things like extensions, satellite dishes, dormer windows, and outbuildings where ordinarily they would not be necessary.
- Similarly, applications for Advertisement Consent can also be necessary for signs which might not otherwise need formal approval.
- Planning permission is required to change the exterior of buildings with either stone, artificial stone, timber, plastic or tiles.
- Owners are required to give at least 6 weeks notice in writing to the District Council of any intention to cut down, lop or top any tree with a trunk over 75 mm in diameter (measured at a height of 1.5 m above ground level). A criminal offence would result if such notice is not given.
What are the implications of new development within Conservation Areas?
As every development must either preserve or enhance the appearance and character of a conservation area, the Local Planning Authority will only permit new development that:-
- achieves a high standard of design sympathetic with the character of the area,
- is compatible with the scale, mass and form of adjacent buildings and their settings,
- uses appropriate materials,
- includes appropriate, good quality landscaping that compliments the area,
- does not result in the loss of important open spaces or features of interest, and
- does not impinge upon views, into, out of, and within the conservation area.
Trees in Conservation Areas
Information regarding Protected Trees should be directed to our Conservation, Design and Landscape Team, or visit the Trees and Landscape section, or Tel: (01263) 516142 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The brochure 'General Guide to Conservation areas in North Norfolk' downloadable below, gives further details about what it means to live, work or develop in a conservation area.
NNDC Conservation Area Downloads
- Conservation Areas in North Norfolk- pdf 28kb
Conservation Area Consent forms and related Planning Application validation requirements can be found along with other application forms on our planning application forms and guidance notes page. The Conservation Area consent form is 'number 10 - Application for conservation area consent for demolition in a conservation area'.
For more detailed information on Conservation Areas in North Norfolk please contact North Norfolk District Council’s Conservation and Design Section: Tel: (01263) 516131/516138 or Fax: (01263) 514802 or email: email@example.com