Our town has part of the central area designated a conservation area. This is good in some ways but bad in others. For example zealous application of this means that buildings in the designated areas cannot just up and replace their windows. So people have to remain in draughty houses with single glazing and old rotting sash windows because the planners won’t let them change the character of the area by putting in UPVC DG -even as sash windows. This is of course nonsense given the cost of heating a home with single glazing and rotting wood frames and not terribly environmentally friendly either.
Can we as a Town council apply to remove the conservation area and use a NP instead?
If we had a Neighbourhood plan which had a community planning order or even a policy stating that it was ok to replace windows as long as they used UPVC wood effect sash windows if replacing that or UPVC white sash windows if replacing that then people would be released.
We could also make sure if it was a policy that we covered all or most of the other aspects of the conservation area.
Here is a response from one of Planning Aid England’s Advisors.
Conservation areas are designated by the Council for their special architectural and historic interest. Guidance on conservation areas can be found in Chapter 12 of The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-planning-policy-framework—2 ‘Conserving and enhancing the historic environment’.
A neighbourhood plan is not able to remove the conservation area designation as this would conflict with higher level policy (the NPPF) and the strategic policies in the adopted development plan. The replacement of windows in the conservation area is affected by special controls (called ‘Article 4 Directions’), which restrict work you can normally do without planning permission. In this particular circumstance the Article 4 Direction you are seeking to influence is outside of the remit of neighbourhood planning.
Thanks for that. So I would have to somehow persuade the county council to remove the designation first.
Obviously I’d need to convince them that the NP policy would do almost all that the conservation designation would do and possibly more.
Not likely is it. What a stupid system…............
At present there is no set timescale for a referendum to be called on a Neighbourhood Plan. This means that Principal Authorities are able to delay referenda to prevent having to hand over extra Community Infrastructure levy to Parish Councils. A national petition to Parliament requiring Parishes are compensated for unreasonable delays has been started by St Neots Town Councillors in Cambridgeshire. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/110724
Our NP Group has a similar issue but in the reverse.
At the Adopted Local Plan level there is a policy relating to Conservation Areas stating that the Council will carry out Conservation Area appraisals and during that process consider the need for an Article 4 Direction. We have been requesting such an Appraisal for over 2 years now but we are told that the Council has no resources to do this work. We plan to challenge the inclusion of this item when the plan goes toInspection during the current review.
Because of this reluctance the NP Group are consulting with our residents as to whether, in the central part of the village where 80% of the properties are listed, we should seek within the NP to have restrictions on inappropriate development which might change the character of this area.
Can we put a policy in place, with the appropriate evidence, to require non-listed buildings to seek approval for specific changes, i.e. colour of paintwork, replacement windows, doors etc similar to that for listed buildings?
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