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Should I Buy a Home in a Conservation Area?

22 March 2021

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If you’re looking to buy a home within a conservation area there are certain things that you should be aware of, for example making certain home adaptations may be prohibited.

What is a conservation area?

A conservation area is a designated place of historic and architectural interest. Within the conservation area there are legal restrictions on what changes can be made to the buildings, greenery and street furniture, in order to maintain the unique character of the place.

Conservation areas were introduced in the 1960s and there are now over 10,000 in the UK, they are found in all local authority areas and can make up entire villages.

They are typically in the older parts of cities, towns and villages, but can also include country estates, parks and stretches of canal.

Homes within a conservation area are subjected to additional rules on their development, and homeowners may be restricted on how they can adapt their homes, from everything from window frames, street railings and even the colour you are permitted to paint your front door.

What building restrictions and limitations are in place?

There are stringent restrictions and limitations on the alterations you are permitted to make to your home, built within a conservation area.

‘Article 4 Directions’ are extra restrictions on properties within conservation areas put in place by local authorities. These are extra limitations on the changes you can make to your property, which you would normally be able to make should your home not be in a conservation area. Restrictions typically cover the following:

You cannot demolish the following without permission:

  • A building that is greater than 115 cubic metres.
  • A gate, wall or fence that is over 1 metre in height, should this border a road. Or higher than 2 metres if it doesn’t border a road.

You need to seek permission to make the following alterations to your home:

  • Extensions bigger than one storey.
  • Side extensions.
  • Roof extensions or alterations to the existing roof.
  • Cladding in any material.
  • A single storey extension that extend more than 3m from the back wall of the house, or 4m if the property is detached.
  • The construction of outbuildings, sheds or swimming pools.
  • Installing a satellite dish or antennae that faces the road.
  • Installing a chimney, flue or vent that faces the road.
  • Fitting solar panels to the roof

The local authority responsible for the conservation area may also have specific rules in placed which may stop you from:

  • Replacing the original windows and doors i.e. no uPVC fittings.
  • Changing the guttering or pipes.
  • Removing trees or shrubs.
  • Painting the outside of the house or changing the colour of window frames and doors.

How can I check if a property is in a conservation area?

There is no formal search facility to check if the property that you are planning on buying is built within a conservation area. It is however likely that the seller or estate agent will be able to tell you this information. It is typically a selling point if a home is within a conservation area.

If you are still unsure, it is advisable to check with the associated local authority. You will be able to find out where the conservation areas are located within the council’s boundaries.

Conveyancing solicitor

Whether buying or selling in a conservation area you will require the services of a conveyancing solicitor. True Solicitors offer fixed fee, no completion, no fee residential conveyancing services throughout England and Wales. Use our no-obligation conveyancing fee calculator for an estimate of our fees.

Conveyancing Fee Calculator

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