Conservation Areas are protected by the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (the Act). Under section 69 of the Act, every Local Planning Authority has a duty to designate any areas of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance, as conservation areas.
To be clear, conservation areas are designated and managed by Sedgemoor District Council.
"Conservation areas were introduced by the 1967 Civic Amenities Act as 'areas of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance'. Their designation is about recognising the significance of an area - what gives it its special character - and then about managing its future. Designation is not intended to prevent change or adaptation but simply to make sure that their effects on what people value about a place are properly considered." (Historic England, 'Conservation Areas At Risk', 2009)
There are currently 14 Conservation Areas designated within Sedgemoor. These include:
- Bridgwater Central & Docks
- Bridgwater Northfield
- Bridgwater St John's
- Nether Stowey
- Stone Allerton
Conservation areas can cover large or small areas and are defined by the special character within them. This is different to listed buildings, which protect individual buildings or structures; more information can be found under the listed buildings section of this page. If your property is located within a conservation area, it should be identified as part of a Land Charges search and highlighted at the point of purchase. However, you can use the Interactive Mapping Tool to identify whether your property sits within a conservation area. Further details on using this tool can be found under the listed buildings section of this page.
Following the Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which came into effect on the 1st April 2013, applicants no longer need to apply separately for conservation area consent for demolition of an unlisted building within a conservation area. Instead, an application for planning permission is required for this type of works.
Further information and advice on the practicalities on living in buildings within conservation areas is provided within the 'Living in a Conservation Area' leaflet. Confirmation regarding what works would require planning permission can be obtained by contacting the Planning Duty Officer.
Trees that are located within the boundaries of the conservation area are protected from topping, lopping or felling by requiring owners to give Sedgemoor District Council six weeks' notice of their intention to carry out any such tree works. Further information, along with the relevant application forms can be found here: Trees in Conservation Areas and Application Forms
If you live within a conservation area, you will need planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area, meeting the following criteria:
- Demolish a building with a volume of more than 115 cubic metres - there are a few exceptions, see The Conservation Areas Direction 2015 for details, or contact us for further information.
- To demolish a gate, fence, wall or railing over 1 metre high next to a highway (including a public footpath or bridleway) or public open space; or over 2 metres high elsewhere.
- Even if your proposals do not include the work mentioned above you should still check if an application is required.
Further information on living in a listed building, as well as additional guidance documents for owners, occupiers and agents are detailed below:
Sedgemoor District Council are currently working on the preparation of Conservation Area Appraisals and Management Plans for each of the 14 Conservation Areas within Sedgemoor. Once adopted these documents shall be added to the website.
Application forms and guidance notes can be found on the Demolition in a Conservation Areas page.