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. They vary from the urban centre of Chichester, the Market Towns of Midhurst, Petworth and Selsey to small, downland village. 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.
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.
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'.