What is a Conservation Area?
Conservation Areas are designated areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. Conservation Area designation covers all of the buildings within the defined area, but also the roads and footpaths, trees and open spaces, street furniture, garden walls and railings, and anything else that contributes to the character of the area.
There are currently 18 Conservation Areas within Worcester City for which the Council regularly provides and reviews Conservation Area Appraisals and Management Plans. These describe the special character and significance of the Conservation Areas and set out any proposals for their enhancement:
- Historic City
- St Johns
- Lansdowne Crescent and Rainbow Hill Terrace
- Britannia Square
- Sidbury and Fort Royal
- St Georges Square
- Foregate Street and The Tything
- Warndon Court
- The Canal
- Field Terrace
- Shrubbery Avenue
- Royal Infirmary
- Battenhall Villas
You can find out if your property is within one of these Conservation Areas through My Local Area.
When considering proposals for development within, or within the setting of, a Conservation Area, the Council has a legal duty to ensure its preservation and/or enhancement. Design of new development is therefore highly important in or adjoining Conservation Areas. The Council provides a pre-application service for advice prior to submitting a planning application.
The Council uses a Conservation Advisory Panel (CAP) to provide feedback on planning applications relating to Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings. The comments from this group are then considered and applied by the planning officers, and considered by Planning Committee when decisions are made on the application.
Designation of Conservation Areas
Among the duties of the Council, it should consider all parts of the city to see if any have special qualities that make them of special architectural or historic interest. Information on how Conservation Areas are designated and the Conservation Area appraisal process can be found on Historic England’s website.
How does being in a Conservation Area affect me?
Conservation Areas are subject to extra planning controls than other non-designated areas. This means that there are more restrictions and you will need to apply to the Council for permission to carry out the following developments in a Conservation Area:
- Demolishing any building or certain boundary treatments
- Altering or building a structure or boundary
- Cladding any part of the exterior of the dwelling house with stone, artificial stone, pebble dash, render, timber, plastic or tiles
- Painting a building not previously painted
- Front, side and two storey rear extensions (single storey rear extensions are subject to certain criteria)
- Enlarging a dwelling by making an addition or alteration to its roof
- Providing a building, enclosure, container or pool to the side of a dwelling house
- Installing, altering or replacing a chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe on a dwelling house, on a wall or roof slope fronting the highway or on a principle or side elevation
- Installing satellite dishes or other telecommunications equipment on a chimney, wall or roof slope which both faces onto and is visible from a highway, and on a building over 15 metres high
- Surfacing, ground works and works to trees
- Some changes of use
- The alteration or certain extensions of shops and other commercial buildings
- Wind turbines
- Solar equipment and flues on commercial buildings (on domestic buildings this is subject to certain conditions)
- Displaying additional or lit advertisements
Otherwise permitted development is allowed the same as elsewhere, unless the area is designated under an Article 4 direction. The Council provides a permitted development advice service to find out if what you are proposing is permitted development.
The Council and Historic England provide guidance which applies to design in conservation areas or if you are planning to make repairs or alterations to improve the environmental efficiency of your property.
Article 4 Directions
Article 4 Directions withdraw certain permitted development rights, for example, rights to alter a front elevation or remove a boundary wall without planning permission. The directions are only put in place where it is considered important to retain original features in order to maintain the historic and architectural character of a Conservation Area. Property owners in areas affected by an Article 4 Direction need to apply for planning permission to undertake works set out in the Article 4 Direction. No fee needs be paid where an application for planning permission is required as a result of an Article 4 Direction.
Currently the following Conservation Areas have Article 4 directions applied to them:
York Place (Britannia Square Conservation Area)
There is currently an Article 4 Direction in place for York Place in the Britannia Square Conservation Area. The Direction has been in place since 1986 to protect the historic group value of the unlisted buildings on York Place and to retain the repeated historical features that give York Place its special character.
Shrubbery Avenue Conservation Area
The Article 4 Direction covering Shrubbery Avenue Conservation Area was approved by Worcester City Council’s Planning Committee on 13 December 2018 and came into effect on 20 December 2018. The Article 4 Direction seeks to protect the historic group value of the unlisted buildings, retain their historic features and prevent further historic boundary treatments from being removed for parking, thereby eroding the character of the street.
- Article 4 Direction Notice
- Article 4 Direction with Plan
- Shrubbery Avenue Conservation Area Design Guide
If you wish to have any further information in relation to our Conservation Areas then please complete our enquiry form and we will aim to reply within 3-5 working days.