Councils have the power to designate as Conservation Areas, "areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance".

Designation gives control over the demolition of buildings and provides the basis for policies designed to preserve or enhance all the aspects of character or appearance that define an area's special interest.

In addition to the normal planning controls, Conservation Areas have special protection under the law. To check whether a particular property is within a Conservation Area, please use the planning applications database.

Do it online (external site)

What you need to know...

Planning permission is required to demolish a building within a Conservation Area. If you want to completely or substantially demolish a building in a Conservation Area, you need to have planning permission before you start work. You may also need planning permission to demolish fences, gates and other means of enclosure within the Conservation Area.

There is no fee for submitting an application for planning permission for the 'relevant demolition' of certain unlisted buildings in conservation areas.

Demolition of a building in a Conservation Area without prior consent is a criminal offence.

If you wish to completely or substantially demolish a building in a Conservation Area, you need to have planning permission before you start work. You may also need permission to demolish fences, gates and other means of enclosure within the Conservation Area.

Article 4 Direction

Some Conservation Areas are subject to Article 4 Directions, which carry additional planning controls. These additional controls are put in place by the council in order to preserve or enhance the character of appearance of the area. Planning permission is required for any work identified in the Article 4 Direction. For more information go to the Historic England website:

The Article 4 Direction is made in addition to the normal planning controls. The Article 4 Direction will only list what additional controls it imposes; it will not identify all the other planning controls that will normally affect the property.

Next Steps

We aim to determine the majority of applications within eight weeks.