Conservatories in Conservation Areas & Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
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Conservation Areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

If you live in one of the many Conservation areas or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), you will usually need Planning Permission before building a conservatory.

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Applying for Conservation Area Consent or for permission to build in a ANOB is a separate issue from applying for Conservatory Planning Permission, so you should speak to someone at your Local Authority, usually a Planning Officer or a Conservation Officer, whose job it is to ensure that the fabric of a conservation area is maintained.

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Conservatories in Conservation Areas

A Conservation Area is an area with some architectural or historic interest or a desirable area that needs to be preserved. First created in 1967 there are over 8000 of them in England alone.

Conservation areas are chosen by a Local Authority whose job it is to maintain maps of the areas covered. Conservation areas are selected for many different reasons and include the centres of historic towns and cities, ancient villages and leafy residential suburbs.

Selection is not made purely on the quality of buildings; the character of their environment is just as important and gardens, street furniture and other local features are taken into consideration.

Conservatories in areas of outstanding natural beauty

Conservatories in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Natural England is concerned with protecting landscapes for now and future generations and it is they that designate AONB.

An AONB is a landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so outstanding that it is in the nation’s interest that it is safeguarded. There are 33 in England, covering about 15% of the English countryside. The smallest is the Isles of Scilly at just 16 sq km, the largest the Cotswolds totalling 2,038 sq km.

If you are unsure whether you live within the boundaries of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, check the map available at Natural England and double check with your Local Authority if you are uncertain. This is particularly important if you live on or close to the boundary of an AONB, because even if you are some way outside it you can still be bound by the planning regulations since there may be view to your property from within it.

You can find out about the five ANOB’s in Wales at the Welsh Government website.

Building or Demolishing a Conservatory in a Conservation Area

Even though this would normally be permitted elsewhere, if you are planning to demolish or build a conservatory in a conservation area, you will probably need to get permission before doing so. It is your responsibility to find out from your Local Authority what conservation area consent you will require and if you go ahead without this, it may result in a fine or imprisonment, or both. Plus the likelihood that the offending structure will have to be demolished.

Conservation Area Consent

As already mentioned, applying for conservation area consent for your conservatory is a separate issue from making a planning application. The Planning or Conservation Officer, liaise with English Heritage about conservation area matters and Listed Buildings. They are usually are happy to discuss plans with you and advise on the steps you should take.

You should also take time to talk to ​one of Richmond Oak's experienced designers who have had to manage the process before. They will have negotiated with Planning Officers previously and will be able to advise you ​should you experience problems with someone being pedantic at the Local Authority.

The design will be important; choose a design that complements your home or is characteristic of the local architecture. It is worth taking the time to look at how other conservatories have been built close to you so that you can get some design ideas from them.

Planning Applications for conservatories in conservation areas usually need to be made in detail and not in outline so that the full impact can considered before a decision is made. Amongst several other requirements, this means providing Location Plans, and Plans & Elevations, typically at a scale of 1:50 or 1:100.

Building Materials in Conservation Areas

Planning Officers and Conservation Officers often find it easier to approve plans for a new or replacement conservatory if the materials used in construction complement those of the building it is attached to, or to those in the surrounding area.

Therefore, you should make sure that the correct brick or natural local stone is used for dwarf walls and that you also specify natural materials for the conservatory construction such as oak rather than man-made materials such as uPVC.

The use of timber in construction is often looked on favourably, although sometimes you may be required to paint the exterior to match window frames and doors on the existing property. Alternatively, the timber may be allowed to weather and gradually blend in with the area. As an indigenous timber, natural oak is usually looked on very favourably and powder coated aluminium roof capping is always acceptable.

PVCu Frames and Polycarbonate roofing will rarely be allowed, so glass should be specified.

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