Conservation Areas

Introduction

The streets and buildings of our towns and villages are part of the historic character of our community. Each townscape tells the story of its unique development, and gives us a sense of place, continuity and cultural identity.

Where these places are of special architectural or historic interest or deserve to receive careful protection, they can be designated as Conservation Areas. However, this does not mean that they have to remain frozen in time - change is often necessary to accommodate the demands of modern living. As our historic town and village centres are always likely to attract new development, the challenge is how to enhance, rather than detract from, their special, local character.

Within the Rochford District the Council has designated ten Conservation Areas and these are detailed in Related Content.

Conservation Areas and the Plans

Conservation Area Appraisals and Management plans for all the Conservation Areas in the District have been produced for the Council. The Plans recommend the Council make changes to some of the boundaries and to strengthen planning controls in order to preserve the distinctiveness of these areas.

Boundary change

On 6th July 2009, Rochford District Council agreed to adopt the recommendation in the Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plans and amended the boundaries of five existing Conservation Areas: Rayleigh, Rochford, Canewdon High Street, Canewdon Church and Great Wakering.

Please see Related Content below for maps showing extent of amended Conservation Areas.

Article 4(2) Direction - change to planning controls

Most alterations in a Conservation Area will require formal consent. You will need planning permission or conservation area consent from the council to demolish/ alter/ extend a building or structure (with certain exceptions) - this gives the council the chance to consider the contribution of an existing building to the area before making a decision on any proposed replacement.

Please note that trees within the Conservation boundary are also protected, written notification will need to be given to the Planning Department at least six weeks before any works can be carried out (i.e. cutting/ lopping/felling down trees).

However, some alterations are normally permitted within Conservation Areas without the need to acquire planning permission through what is known as Permitted Development Rights. One of the recommendations in the Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plans was that some Permitted Development Rights be removed in selected Conservation Areas in order to protect their character. These Permitted Development Rights may be removed through the issuing of an Article 4(2) Direction.

On 11th January 2010, the Council has confirmed the implementation of the Article 4(2) Direction for a number of Conservation Areas. The areas affected are:

  • Battlesbridge
  • Canewdon High Street
  • Great Wakering
  • Paglesham Churchend
  • Paglesham East End
  • Rayleigh
  • Rochford

The Article 4(2) Directions have removed the following Permitted Development Rights.

All references are to the General Permitted Development Order 1995:

  1. The enlargement, improvement or other alteration of a dwelling house, where any part of the enlargement, improvement or alteration would front a relevant location - Class A of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Order.
  2. The gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure would be within the curtilage of a dwelling house and would front a relevant location - Class A of Part 2 of Schedule 2 of the Order.
  3. The gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure within the curtilage of a dwelling house and fronts a relevant location - Class B of Part 31 of the Order.
  4. The painting of the exterior of any part, which fronts a relevant location, of; (i) a dwelling house, (ii) any building or enclosure within the curtilage of the dwelling house - Class C of Part 2 of Schedule 2 of the Order.
  5. The provision within the curtilage of a dwelling house of a hard surface for any purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house as such - Class F of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Order.

The above works within the seven affected Conservation Areas will now require planning permission before they can be implemented.

Advice and information

The Frequently Asked Questions section and the Conservation Area Guidance Note below provide some information for the Conservation Areas. However, we recommend that you seek advice from our Planning Department before carrying out any works in the Conservation area. We will endeavour to provide you with pre-application advice to ensure the best outcome for you and for the area.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Conservation Area?

Conservation areas are 'Areas of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance' (Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990).

How do I know if I need Planning Permission?

If your property is located within the Conservation Area, we strongly recommend that you contact the Planning Department before carrying out any alterations to the exterior of your property. We will endeavour to provide you with pre-application advice to ensure the best outcome for you and for the Conservation Area.

What is an Article 4 Direction?

Article 4(2) Directions restrict General Permitted Development Rights (the rights of owners to develop without first acquiring planning permission). English Heritage has urged local planning authorities to make much greater use of Article 4 Directions to safeguard conservation areas.

In general, they only apply to elevations fronting a highway, and only apply to houses, and not to flats or commercial properties.

What are the effects of Article 4 (2) Directions?

Once an Article 4(2) Direction has been made planning permission becomes necessary for specific changes as set out in the Direction.

It does not affect any alterations which have already taken place. 'Like for like' exact replacement and repairs are unlikely to require permission. There is no planning application fee for any application which is necessary only because of an Article 4(2) Direction.

We already live in the Conservation Area, why is there a need to introduce Article 4(2) Directions?

Article 4(2) Directions were not introduced as a means of stopping

owners/occupiers from improving their homes, but as a way of ensuring alterations and improvements are done in a way that fits in well with the character of the area.

By withdrawing the permitted development rights specified in the Article 4(2) Direction, we will be better placed to ensure that historic building features and traditional materials are retained or replaced sympathetically, and that any further harm to a Conservation Area's character and appearance can be prevented.

Do I need planning permission to paint the exterior walls?

The repainting of an exterior wall in the same colour is a form of repair / maintenance and does not constitute development under planning legislation, which means planning permission will not be required for such works even if the repainting is taking place in an area subject to the Article (4) Directions discussed above. However, a change to the colour of the paintwork of an exterior of a dwelling house is development and this will require planning permission within the areas that have now been issued with these Article 4(2) Directions.

Why have properties built in 1960s or after been included in the Conservation Area?

In designating Conservation Areas, the Local Planning Authority must consider the overall quality of townscape in its broadest sense, including the contribution made by green spaces and the spaces between developments. There would be little merit in identifying areas worthy of designating, only to omit pockets of land within them where development would not be subject to the same controls yet still have the potential to impact negatively upon the visual amenity of the area if not managed properly.

For further advice, please contact the Planning Department on 01702 318191 or email using this form