What is a conservation area?

Conservation areas can be created where a local planning authority identifies an area of special architectural or historic interest, which deserves careful management to protect that character. The first conservation areas were designated in 1967 under the Civic Amenities Act, and there are now nearly 10,000 in England. 

A conservation area as defined by the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as ‘an area of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’.

Since then, Newark and Sherwood District Council has designated 47 conservation areas. We are actively undertaking a review of these conservation areas, and will in due course produce Conservation Area Appraisals. These documents give an overview of the history and development of the conservation areas and define what it is that make them special.

Once a conservation area is designated the district planning authority has a duty to preserve and enhance their character.

Within a conservation area, there are a number of works/alterations which will require planning permission. These include the demolition of buildings and certain types of minor development, such as the rendering/cladding of a building or the installation of satellite dishes. In certain cases, permitted development rights might be further restricted through an Article 4 Direction. 

In addition, protection is afforded to trees within a conservation area.

These controls are intended to assist in the preservation and enhancement of a conservation area. They are not intended to stifle development, but are there to ensure that development and change is managed in a sensitive manner that respects the character of the area.

Relevant demolition

A building in a conservation area is not to be demolished without the consent of the local planning authority. It is a criminal offence to fail to obtain such consent in the form of planning permission.

Planning permission is only required for relevant demolition. What constitutes demolition for these purposes has been decided by the courts in a case known as 'Shimizu'.

The difference between works of alteration and works of demolition is an issue of fact in each case, but demolition must amount to the removal of the whole of the building, not just part of it. That said, the removal of the building except the facade would amount to demolition, as would the removal of the significant part of a front garden wall. 

Removal of architectural details, making holes in walls to create new windows, or demolishing one wall to allow an extension would not necessarily amount to demolition and so would not usually require permission for demolition. Planning permission for alterations and extensions generally may still be required however. 

The Conservation Area (Application of Section 74 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990) Direction 2015 expressly excludes the following from the need for consent for relevant demolition:

(a) any building with a total cubic content not exceeding 115 cubic metres (as ascertained by external measurement) or any part of such a building, other than a pre-1925 tombstone; 

(b) any gate, wall, fence or means of enclosure which is less than one metre high where abutting on a highway (including a public footpath or bridleway), waterway or open space, or less than two metres high in any other case; 

(c) any building erected since 1 January 1914 and in use, or last used, for the purposes of agriculture or forestry. 

Please contact the local planning authority for further advice on the need for planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area. The application form for consent for relevant demolition can be accessed via the Planning Portal. Pre-application advice might be a suitable way of exploring the implications of demolition.

Conservation area appraisals

This section sets out our advice on Conservation Area Appraisals, including how communities and groups can get involved in the on-going review of conservation areas. A good understanding of what makes them special, and active management once they are designated is important in ensuring their ongoing success. 

Identifying areas for designation

The power to designate conservation areas falls under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (the ‘Act’). Section 69 (1) states: “Every local planning authority— (a) shall from time to time determine which parts of their area are areas of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance, and (b) shall designate those areas as conservation areas”.

Regular appraisal of the District’s historic environment is likely to highlight areas which are of special interest. An area may warrant designation if, for example, it has an historic layout of streets, or a grouping of historic buildings that reflect the materials and style of the region. It may also be an area reflective of a particular historical time period, or it could be that the relationships between buildings and spaces create a unique historic environment. There are many different types including the centres of our historic towns and cities, model villages and planned housing estates, 18th and 19th-century suburbs, country houses set in their historic parks and historic transport links and their environs, such as stretches of canal.

In addition, we have a legal duty to review existing conservation areas from time to time in accordance with Section 69(2) of the Act. The special interest of areas designated many years ago may now be so eroded by piecemeal change or by single examples of poorly designed development that parts of the area may no longer have special interest. In such cases, boundary revisions will be needed to exclude them or, in exceptional circumstances, reconsideration of the conservation area designation as a whole. Conversely, the existing boundary may have been drawn too tightly, omitting areas now considered of special interest such as historic rear plots with archaeological potential, later phases of development (such as more recent housing), or parks, cemeteries and historic green spaces. In such cases the existing boundary may need to be extended.

Conservation area appraisals

In undertaking the review of the proposed or existing conservation area, it is usual to publish a Conservation Area Appraisal document in accordance with advice and guidance contained within the Historic England document ‘Conservation Area Designation, Appraisal and Management: Historic England Advice Note 1’.

The benefits of this review process are significant. A character appraisal of an area will demonstrate the area’s special interest, and will provide an explanation to owners, businesses and residents of the reasons for designation. Appraisals are also useful as an educational and informative document created in conjunction with the local community, expressing what the community particularly values about the place they live and work in. In this context, a greater understanding and articulation of an area’s character which can be used to develop a robust policy framework for planning decisions, informing those considering investment in the area in guiding the scale, form and content of new development.

When adopted, a Conservation Area Appraisal it will be material to the determination of planning applications, as well as appeals and to Secretary of State decisions, including those where urgent works are proposed to preserve an unlisted building in a conservation area.

The document will also assist in developing a management plan for the conservation area by providing the analysis of what is positive and negative, and in opportunities for beneficial change and enhancement or the need for additional protection and restraint (including the use of Article 4 Directions). It might additionally provide a better understanding of archaeological potential, perhaps by identifying and mapping archaeologically sensitive areas and thus guiding development towards less sensitive locations.

Community Involvement

The Council is committed to reviewing the District’s conservation areas, and in due course, will be seeking to amend existing areas, as well as designating new areas. As part of this process, Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan documents will be prepared and published. The work will involve extensive community engagement using the approach set out in the Statement of Community Involvement.

Local communities may be involved in many ways with conservation area reviews, including targeted meetings and workshops (perhaps with a Parish or Town Council), organised walks around the affected area and publication of a draft appraisal document on the Council’s website (accompanied by an electronic comments sheet/feedback form).

We recognise that involving the wider community before the appraisal is too far advanced is important. Not only will consultation with property owners and local groups assist in developing support, but also proactive assistance in identifying the general areas that merit conservation area status and defining the boundaries, therefore adding depth and a new perspective to the local authority view.

The final draft of the Conservation Area Appraisal will therefore be accompanied by a report explaining how community involvement and public consultation has been undertaken, how the input from the community was evaluated, and fundamentally how it has influenced the definition of special interest and the recommendations

Under section 70(8) of the Act, in addition to notifying the Secretary of State and Historic England, a local planning authority is required to publicise the intention to designate by a notice placed in the London Gazette and a local newspaper. The local authority must follow the same publicity procedures to vary or cancel a designation as required to designate.

In addition, Section 71 of the Act places on local planning authorities the duty to draw up and publish proposals for the preservation and enhancement of CAs in their districts. Regularly reviewed appraisals identifying threats and opportunities can be developed into a management plan, which can in turn channel development pressure to conserve the special quality of the conservation area. Both areas in relative economic decline and those under pressure for development can benefit from management opportunities that promote beneficial change. In accordance with the requirements of the Act, a public meeting must be held within the affected area regarding the management proposals.

Conservation areas in Newark and Sherwood

There are currently 47 conservation areas in Newark and Sherwood District. Newark was the first designation in 1968, and is amongst the earliest ever designated in England.

We currently have 15 published Conservation Area Appraisals documents, although some of these are now of some age and might only being regarded as background documents (albeit still useful).

Averham (PDF File, 1,315kb) 1992    
Balderton (PDF File, 1,433kb) 1992     
Barnby in the Willows (PDF File, 1,289kb) 1992     
Besthorpe (PDF File, 989kb) 2008   Besthorpe (PDF File, 13,762kb)

Bilsthorpe (PDF File, 1,374kb)

Bleasby (PDF File, 1,567kb) 1988    
Blidworth (PDF File, 1,258kb)  1977    
Boughton (PDF File, 1,139kb)  1993    
Bulcote (PDF File, 1,642kb) 1974  1984, 1994,
Bulcote (PDF File, 1,642kb)
Carlton on Trent (PDF File, 1,427kb) 1992    

Caunton (PDF File, 1,369kb)

Coddington (PDF File, 1,836kb) 1992  2002, 2006   
Collingham (PDF File, 1,863kb) 1973  1989, 2006  Collingham (PDF File, 10,776kb)
Eakring (PDF File, 2,332kb) 1974  1988  Eakring (PDF File, 2,232kb)
East Stoke (PDF File, 1,168kb) 1992     
Edwinstowe (PDF File, 1,585kb) 1970  1989,2019 Edwinstowe (PDF File, 12,880kb)
Egmanton (PDF File, 1,230kb) 1994    Egmanton (PDF File, 2,495kb)
Elston (PDF File, 1,435kb) 1992     
Epperstone (PDF File, 1,582kb) 1972 2006  Epperstone (PDF File, 3,726kb)
Farndon (PDF File, 2,072kb) 1992     
Farnsfield (PDF File, 2,257kb) 1977  2000  Farnsfield (PDF File, 2,560kb)
Fiskerton (PDF File, 1,485kb) 2002    Fiskerton (PDF File, 433kb)
Girton (PDF File, 1,044kb) 2008    Girton (PDF File, 11,958kb)
Halloughton (PDF File, 1,008kb) 1972     
Hoveringham (PDF File, 1,381kb) 1990     
Kelham (PDF File, 1,192kb) 1992     
Kersall (PDF File, 922kb) 1992     
Kirklington (PDF File, 1,249kb) 1973  1994   
Kirton (PDF File, 1,113kb) 1978     
Kneesall (PDF File, 1,010kb) 1992     
Laxton (PDF File, 1,261kb) 1970     
Lowdham (PDF File, 1,921kb) 1994    
Maplebeck (PDF File, 928kb) 1982     
Morton (PDF File, 1,369kb) 2003    Morton (PDF File, 448kb)
Newark (PDF File, 2,946kb) 1968  1974, 1979,
1987, 1992,
Norwell C.A (PDF File, 680kb) 1972     
Ollerton (PDF File, 2,176kb) 1977     

Oxton (PDF File, 1,376kb)

Southwell (PDF File, 865kb) 1970  1972, 1976,
1993, 2005 
Southwell (PDF File, 7,935kb)
South Clifton (PDF File, 1,053kb) 1994     
South Scarle (PDF File, 949kb) 1994     
Sutton on Trent (PDF File, 1,831kb) 1992     
Thurgarton (PDF File, 1,439kb) 1983  2008  Thurgarton (PDF File, 10,528kb)
Upton (PDF File, 1,349kb) 1971  1999  Upton (PDF File, 1,355kb)
Walesby (PDF File, 1,544kb) 1993     
Wellow (PDF File, 1,440kb) 1978  1993   
Winthorpe (PDF File, 1,853kb) 1974  2007  Winthorpe (PDF File, 9,013kb)

The priorities for the current conservation area review have been agreed with the Council’s Economic Development Committee. The priorities for the period 2018-2020 are: Newark, Ollerton, Edwinstowe, Southwell and Laxton. These priorities have been agreed for a number of reasons, including relative development pressure and identification as a Conservation Area at Risk.

Designation Statements are also being prepared to assist in the identification of future priorities, and to provide interim advice for stakeholders and decision-makers on the special interest of particular areas.

For further information and advice, please contact our conservation team.

Conservation areas at risk

Since 1967, around 10,000 conservation areas have been designated in England. They are a link to the past that can give us a sense of continuity and stability and they have the reassurance of the familiar which can provide a point of reference in a rapidly changing world.

The way building traditions and settlement patterns are superimposed and survive over time will be unique to each area. This local distinctiveness can provide a catalyst for regeneration and inspire well designed new development which brings economic and social benefits valued by both local planning authorities and local communities.

Change is inevitable, and often beneficial. In this context, conservation area designation offers a positive means to manage change in a way that conserves and enhances historic areas. However, 512 conservation areas were recorded as ‘at risk’ by local planning authorities in Historic England’s national survey in 2017 through pressure for inappropriate new development, vacancy, decay or damage. Nevertheless, the reasons why conservation areas become at risk are complex and varied, depending on their situation.

In Newark and Sherwood District, there are currently three conservation areas at risk: Newark, Ollerton and Upton. Critical reasons why these areas are at risk relate to the level of vacancy and neglect.

As part of our review of the district’s conservation areas, management proposals for tackling heritage at risk will be produced within relevant Conservation Area Appraisals.

In addition, free pre-application advice will be given to projects concerning relevant heritage at risk as identified in either an appraisal document, or on the national Heritage at Risk Register or local Buildings at Register.

Article 4 Directions

Certain works that would normally require planning permission are permitted by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.

This is because the works are of a scale or type considered not likely to result in an unacceptable impact. The Order sets out classes of development for which a grant of planning permission is automatically given.

An Article 4 Direction is made by the local planning authority. It restricts the scope of permitted development rights either in relation to a particular area or site, or a particular type of development anywhere in the authority’s area. Where an Article 4 Direction is in effect, a planning application may be required for development that would otherwise have been permitted development. Article 4 Directions might be used to control works that could threaten the character of an area of acknowledged importance, such as a conservation area.

Article 4 Directions can increase the public protection of designated and non-designated heritage assets and their settings. They are not necessary for works to listed buildings and scheduled monuments as listed building consent and scheduled monument consent would cover all potentially harmful works that would otherwise be permitted development under the planning regime. However, Article 4 Directions might assist in the protection of all other heritage assets (particularly conservation areas) and help the protection of the setting of all heritage assets, including listed buildings.

When an Article 4 Direction has been issued, it does not affect any alterations which have already taken place. In addition, 'like for like’ exact replacement and repairs are unlikely to require permission. In conservation areas, Article 4 Directions are typically aimed at controlling works to the main elevations of a property facing a highway or public space. They also only apply to houses and not to flats (which do not benefit from the same permitted development rights as houses), or other commercial properties.

Article 4 Directions may be used to require planning permission for the demolition of a non-designated heritage asset (such as a locally listed building outside of a conservation area), by removing the demolition rights under part 11 of the Order.

The Government has issued guidance on when and how to make an Article 4 Direction through national Planning Practice Guidance. This advice reminds local authorities that they should consider making article 4 directions only in those exceptional circumstances where the exercise of permitted development rights would harm local amenity, the historic environment or the proper planning of the area.

Existing Article 4 Directions

There are a number or properties within Newark which have had their permitted development rights restricted. These include a number of 18th and 19th century properties on Balderton Gate, King Street, Parliament Street and Victoria Street:

  • Balderton Gate 107 to 115
  • Balderton Gate 123 to 133
  • King Street 1 to 5
  • King Street 2 to 14
  • King Street 9 to 49
  • Parliament Street 28 to 42
  • Victoria Street 12 to 52
  • Whitfield Street 57
  • William Street 72

As part of the district wide Conservation Area Appraisal review process, Article 4 Directions within existing areas will be reassessed. New Article 4 Directions might also be considered where these meet the test for protecting local amenity and the historic environment.

This will be set out in the relevant management plan of each Appraisal document. Article 4 Directions might also be critical in tackling Conservation Areas at risk.

For further details on Article 4 Directions, please contact our conservation team.

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