Powys Built Heritage
Powys Built Heritage

Conservation Areas

What are they?

Conservation Areas are parts of towns, villages and associated open spaces which have a special status and protection. Within these areas certain types of development not normally requiring planning permission need consent along with works of demolition. Trees also have a special status in Conservation Areas.

Why have Conservation areas?

Knighton Narrows

The special character of many areas depend on buildings which individually are not worthy of listed building protection but which form an essential part of a fine overall environment. If a valuable part of our heritage and living environments is not to be lost, there is a need to provide a 'blanket' protection for whole areas and not just bits and pieces here and there.

Within Powys (outside the Brecon Beacons National Park) there are currently 55 Conservation Areas. Designation of a Conservation Area is not intended to prevent development, but rather to provide a mechanism for managing change to the physical environment in a positive way that helps to protect an area’s special quality of place and to promote positive enhancement and design.

Local authorities have a duty to pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of the Conservation Area when determining applications for planning permission within it.

Planning Requirements in Conservation Areas

Conservation Area Consent (for demolitions) and Planning Permission (for development) work hand in hand to ensure that proposals conserve and enhance the particular interest of each conservation area.

The need for Conservation Area Consent relates to  the demolition of buildings and some other structures such as walls, within the boundaries of a Conservation Area. The rules are complicated and it is best to check with the local authority first. In Conservation Areas, permitted development rights are restricted so that Planning Authorities have more control over the development that takes place within them. In addition, in some Conservation Areas the permitted development rights for minor alterations such as the replacement of windows to dwelling houses, are taken away by Article 4 Directions, meaning that Planning Permission will be required for this change.

As a rule, internal works to buildings within a Conservation area are not controlled unless the building is listed, whilst demolition is also exempt where it embraces a structure under 115 cubic metres in volume. Generally speaking, however, permission to demolish a building within a Conservation area is required and it will almost certainly be refused where the creation of a gap or unsuitable replacement will neither 'preserve' nor 'enhance' the locality.

The designation of conservation areas also allows planning authorities to protect trees that are more than 3 inches in diameter, and so designation has been used to protect landscape.

It is best to contact planning services in advance of any works taking place.

Further information can be obtained from Guidance leaflet 'Conservation Area Consent', which has been produced by the Built Heritage Team.

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Archive images are courtesy of the Radnorshire Museum and Mr Pete Jenkins

Case Study ...

Wynnstay, Spa Road

Wynnstay before and after restoration
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