Conservation Areas

What is a Conservation Area?

Conservation areas are designated by local planning authorities as areas of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance, and there are now more than 8,000 throughout the country. They may vary in character, form and size from a small group of buildings to a major part of a town, but their designation means that they are all worthy of protection as areas of special merit. They usually contain buildings which are 'listed' but this is not a prerequisite of designation. The legislation relating to conservation areas is set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and government policy is contained within another important document, The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Copies of both of these documents can be viewed at the Planning Department.

Conservation Areas in Chichester District

Chichester District has 85 conservation areas including those within the South Downs National Park. They vary from the urban centre of Chichester, the Market Towns of Midhurst, Petworth and Selsey to small, coastal villages. Each of these areas is unique with its own 'sense of place', providing a variety of open spaces, buildings, trees, and water features which give the area its special character. Policies which seek the protection and enhancement of these conservation areas are included within the Local Plan. These policies are in line with Government policy contained within PPS 5 and seek to ensure that new development preserves or enhances the special character of the conservation area concerned. When considering new development in conservation areas, the council will therefore expect applicants to submit detailed plans and elevations, and they may also be asked to provide additional information to show the likely impact of their proposals on the surrounding area. You can view local conservation areas within the Chichester district  by using our web mapping system.

About Conservation Area Character Appraisals

To identify the special character of its conservation areas, the council has already completed a number of 'Conservation Area Character Appraisals' which consider the historic development of each area and record its most notable features.

Chichester has an approved programme for reviewing and updating our conservation area character appraisals which include a review of the conservation area boundaries. In the current financial year we will be reviewing the appraisals for Chichester City, Selsey and Tangmere further details we be posted shortly.

What does Designation mean?

Conservation area designation automatically increases the council's control over demolition of buildings and over certain alterations to residential properties occupied by a single family which would normally be 'permitted development'.

Article 4 Direction

An Article 4 Direction is a special planning regulation adopted by a Local Planning Authority to provide additional powers of planning control in a particular location. Article 4 directions specific to conservation areas withdraw certain permitted development rights in respect of dwelling houses for specified classes of minor alterations and extensions, such as porches, replacement of windows and doors and painting of the exterior of a building, which are set out in the Direction. They cannot be applied retrospectively to development, which has already been carried out prior to the making of the direction.

They generally only apply to the main elevations of a property facing a highway, footpath or public space. They only apply to houses and not to flats (which do not benefit from the same permitted development rights as houses), or other commercial properties.

Government guidance suggests that the power should be used selectively and in relation only to development, which is likely to threaten the character and appearance of the conservation area.

What are the effects of Article 4 Directions?

The effect of these Article 4 Directions is that planning permission is required for these minor developments that would otherwise not require an application for planning permission. This enables the council to control these minor developments so as to ensure that they accord with its policies to protect the character of a Conservation Area or the visual amenities of other areas and prevent developments that do not accord with those policies.

Once an Article 4 Direction has been made, planning permission becomes necessary for changes. However it does not affect:

  • repairs or maintenance
  • like for like replacement
  • any alterations which have already taken place, and
  • painting or decoration (except of previously unpainted brickwork).

No fee is payable for planning applications made solely on account of an Article 4 Direction.

What can be included?

The details of Article 4(2) Directions varies between different areas but includes all or some of the following:

  • windows
  • doors
  • roofs
  • chimneys
  • architectural details
  • painting of unpainted properties
  • boundary walls, fences, railings
  • porches, and
  • hardstandings.

Article 4 Directions covering Conservation Areas in Chichester

Chichester District Council has introduced a number of Article 4 Directions to protect the character of conservation areas. These have been implemented through the process of preparing character appraisals for these areas where these appraisals have identified the need for additional planning controls. You can view or download copies of the Directions and leaflets explaining the implications of the Directions.