Conservation Areas

Conservation Areas (CAs) are places of special architectural or historic interest, which have a particular character or appearance worthy of preservation or enhancement. Groups of buildings, walls, trees and hedges, open spaces, views and the historic settlement patterns all combine to create an individual sense of place. It is this character, rather than individual buildings, that CA status seeks to protect.

What are the implications of Conservation Area status?

Conservation Area status does not mean that no further change or development will be permitted in that place, but rather that any potential changes will be managed in a way that preserves or enhances the CA. An accumulation of poorly judged additions or losses of traditional features, each apparently minor in its own right, can cause significant harm to the character of the CA as a whole.

Planning

Planning applications for development within CAs, including new buildings and alterations to existing buildings, must demonstrate how the proposals would preserve or enhance the character of the area. Special attention should be given to the design, scale and use of materials, so that the existing character of the area is not harmed.

CA status brings with it certain restrictions to the Permitted Development rights (PD rights) enjoyed by homeowners and businesses (i.e. the rights to carry out development without Planning Permission).

Listed below are examples of forms of residential development that may require Planning Permission within a CA, but that may not require it outside a CA. Please be aware that this is not a definitive list, and for the avoidance of doubt over whether Planning Permission is required you should contact the Planning Department.

  • Extensions to the side of a property
  • Two-storey extensions to the rear of a property
  • External cladding of a property (including stone, artificial stone, pebble dash, render, timber, plastic or tiles)
  • Alterations to roofs for the enlargement of a property (including dormer windows)
  • Windows and doors, in some limited circumstances
  • Satellite dishes, antennae, chimneys, flues and other elements added to, and protruding from walls or roof slopes fronting the highway or forming the main or side elevation of a property
  • The erection of some structures within the grounds of a property (including garages, sheds, outbuildings etc.)

Demolitions

For the demolition of structures in CAs with volumes exceeding 115 cubic metres, an application for Conservation Area Consent will usually be needed in addition to any other permissions required for subsequent development. If a replacement structure is proposed, particularly where the structure it is proposed to demolish has some merit, the relative merits of the proposed replacement will need to be set against those of the existing structure. The two are not indivisible, and in such cases applications for Conservation Area Consent should not be made in isolation.

Trees

Owners of trees in CAs must give the Council six weeks notice of their intention to carry out works (i.e. lopping, topping or felling) to a tree or trees prior to carrying out any works.

Conservation Areas: Maps, Character Appraisals and Management Plans

The dropdown below lists all of the District’s 50 Conservation Areas and includes maps showing the CA boundary in each case. The accompanying CA Appraisal and Management Plan documents, where these have been prepared, are also available:

Conservation Area character appraisals and management plans

P and E - Proposal for Preservation and Enhancement

 

West Oxfordshire District Council
Elmfield
New Yatt Road
Witney
OX28 1PB