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Historic Environment

Building Conservation is "the process of managing change to a significant place in its setting in ways that will best sustain its heritage values, while recognising opportunities to reveal or reinforce those values for present and future generations." (Historic England, Principle 4.2, Conservation Principles: Policies and Guidance for the Sustainable Management of the Historic Environment, 2008).

Designated heritage assets are defined within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) as "A World Heritage Site, Scheduled Monument, Listed Building, Protected Wreck Site, Registered Park & Garden, Registered Battlefield or Conservation Area designated as such under the relevant legislation." (NPPF, Annex 2: Glossary, 2012)

Sedgemoor District Council has a statutory duty to preserve or enhance the special architectural or historic interest of designated heritage assets. Further information and guidance on listed buildings and conservation areas is provided below.

Within Sedgemoor, there are also the following types of designated heritage assets:

  • 79 Scheduled Monuments
  • 1 Registered Park & Garden
  • 1 Registered Battlefield

The above assets are designated and protected by Historic England, and further information regarding these designated heritage assets can be found on the Historic England website.

Listed Buildings

A listed building is a building, object or structure that is considered to have special architectural and or historic interest and deemed to be of national importance to be protected for future generations. 

Listed buildings are included on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE). Buildings are assessed and included within the List by Historic England on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) of the UK Government. Further details about how and why buildings become listed, including designation selection guides can be found on the Historic England - What is Listing?  webpage.

Further information on listed buildings, as well as some other historic buildings and sites, in Sedgemoor may also be available via the Somerset Historic Environment Record (HER), which is maintained by the South West Heritage Trust. This record can be accessed the  Somerset Historic Environment Record website.

You can find out whether your property is designated as a listed building or located within a conservation area, by using the Interactive Mapping Online tool. The following provides a step-by-step guide to use this tool:

  • Go to Interactive Mapping Online, (link below) and launch the service.
  • Enter your address or postcode in the "Search for an Address" box and click on the Search button.
  • Select your address in the list.
  • Your property will be shown on the map.
  • In the Map Legend, click the box next to Conservation (click on the triangle next to the word Conservation to see the key). This will display Conservation Areas, Listed Buildings and Tree Preservation orders on the map (please note that you may need to zoom out).

Click here to launch Interactive Mapping 

Listed buildings are protected by the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (the Act). Section 7 of this Act states that works that consist of the demolition or the alteration or extension of a listed building in any manner which would affect the building's special character or appearance require listed building consent. This is a separate type of consent to planning permission. Confirmation on whether particular works will require listed building consent can be obtained by contacting the Conservation Officer via the contact details at the bottom of this page. This can be confirmed in a formal manner by the submission of a Certificate of Lawfulness, for further information please go to our  Certificate of Lawfulness page.

It is a criminal offence to carry out works which need listed building consent without obtaining it beforehand. This is outlined within section 9 of the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

Any concerns regarding unauthorised works to a listed building should be reported in accordance with Sedgemoor District Council's Enforcement Policy, which can be found on our Planning Enforcement  page.

Associated structures within the grounds of a listed building, which are not specifically included within the List, may also be considered to form part of the listed building. These structures are known as curtilage protected structures. Clarification on whether a structure would be considered to be protected under the legislation can be obtained by contacting the Conservation Officer, via the contact details at the bottom of this page.

Further information on living in a listed building, as well as additional guidance documents for owners, occupiers and agents are detailed below:

The Pre-Planning Application Advice service is also available which provides confirmation about the acceptability of proposed works that will affect the character and appearance of the listed building. To be clear, this service does not replace the requirement to obtain listed building consent. There is a fee for this service and further details can be found within the booklet below.

As part of the application process, the proposed works to a listed building are considered in line with the following guidance and policy documents:

  • Section 12 of the National Planning Policy Framework;
  • Policies within Sedgemoor District Council's Local Plan;
  • Historic England's Good Practice Guidance Notes;
    • Note 1 - The Historic Environment in Local Plans - this document sets out information to help local planning authorities make well informed and effective local plans.
    • Note 2 - Managing Significance in Decision-Taking - this document contains useful information on repairing, restoring, making additions and altering heritage assets to help local authorities, planning and other consultants, owners, applicants and other interested parties in implementing national historic environment policy and guidance.
    • Note 3 - The Setting of Heritage Assets - this document sets out guidance on managing change within the setting of heritage assets, including archaeological remains and historic buildings, sites, areas and landscapes.
  • Conservation Principles: Policies and Guidance for the sustainable management of the historic environment.

Application forms and guidance notes can be found on the  Listed Building Consent Application.

To view information about a de-listed building

1. Go to the Heritage Gateway website   Heritage Gateway - Search for information on England's historic sites and buildings, including images of listed buildings

Note: These records only reflect decisions made since 12 November 2012. Records removed from the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) before this date, together with records for buildings and sites assessed but not designated before this date, are not available to view on the Heritage Gateway.

2. Enter part of the property or street name i.e. Stones Farmhouse or Brook Street and click on the search button.

3. De-listed building will be displayed under the National Designation Decisions heading.

For help with searching, or to report an error with the Heritage Gateway website, please email them directly at, or telephone them on 01793 414883.

Conservation Areas

"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)

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.

There are currently 14 Conservation Areas designated within Sedgemoor. These include:

  • Axbridge
  • Bridgwater Central & Docks
  • Bridgwater Northfield
  • Bridgwater St John's
  • Burnham-on-Sea
  • Cannington
  • Cheddar
  • Lympsham
  • Nether Stowey
  • Shapwick
  • Spaxton
  • Stone Allerton
  • Weare
  • Wedmore

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 Conservation Areas page.

Consultation - Bridgwater St John's Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan 2018

pdf Conversion of Agricultural/Rural Buildings: Flowchart [429.49KB] pdf Conversion of Agricultural/Rural buildings: Planning Guidance Note [1.44MB] pdf Double glazing and buildings in the historic environment - window policy guidance note [6.7MB] pdf Living in a Conservation Area [2.16MB] pdf Living in a Listed Building [1.48MB] pdf Heritage Statement Guidance [94.58KB] pdf Local Validation Checklist [1.01MB] pdf Planning charges and application fees [340.26KB] arrowPlanning Duty Officer arrowConservation Areas arrowListed Building Consent Application arrowMake a Planning Application arrowInteractive Mapping Online arrowPlanning Application Validation arrowWildlife Assessment Check arrowPlanning Portal