What is a Conservation Area?

Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 provides for Malvern Hills District Council to designate "areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance" as Conservation Areas.

The effect of designation is to give the council powers to control the demolition of non-listed buildings, and the felling, lopping or topping of trees must be the subject of prior notification. 

There is no right of appeal against designation.

These regulations aim to protect the character of the area, but successful conservation is a positive mixture of preservation, conversion and sympathetic new development and so all local authorities must from time to time review their designated conservation areas, to make sure that their controls are still effective.

How does Conservation Area status affect my property?

Individual residential dwelling houses have the benefit of permitted development rights, which allow for certain building work to be undertaken without the need to obtain planning permission. 

Within conservation areas these permitted development rights are reduced.  Planning permission may be required to extend your property, erect a structure in your garden or to site a satellite dish. 

Planning permission will be required to apply stone cladding to your building. 

Further advice on what you can and cannot do is available from Planning Services via the Customer Services Centre.

What about demolition?

You will need to apply to the district council for permission (Conservation Area Consent ) to demolish the following:

  • A building with a volume of more than 115 cubic metres.
  • A gate, fence, wall or railing over 1 metre high where it is next to a highway (including a public footpath or bridleway) or public open space; or over 2 metres high elsewhere.

You will also need to draw up and submit a detailed application for replacement buildings or structures, which enhance the conservation area before consent is given for demolition. 

There are some exceptions but it is advisable to seek advice from Planning Services before demolishing anything. 

Consent for demolition may also require approval under Building Regulations.

What rights have I to fell or lop trees in Conservation Areas?

Trees are an important feature of conservation areas generally and make a valuable contribution to the appearance of the conservation area.

Anyone proposing to do work on trees over a certain size within the conservation area is required, under Section 211 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, to give the District Council six weeks' notice in writing of any proposals to fell or prune trees. 

During this period the District Council will decide whether a Tree Preservation Order is necessary in order to safeguard the tree. 

Trees which are already the subject of a Tree Preservation Order must not be felled or lopped without prior written consent from the District Council.

Further advice is available from the district council's Landscape Officer, telephone number 01684 862407.

How are planning applications dealt with?

In exercising its development control function within a conservation area, the District Council must give special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of the area. 

The architectural characteristics of the area provide an important influence for all new development.

The council's Development Plan contains policies relating to new development in conservation areas and also policies relating to specific features of conservation areas i.e. boundary walls.

The district council will not accept ‘outline' applications for proposals within Conservation Areas.

What about advertisements in a Conservation Area?

Specific consent is required for the display of most advertisements and signs. 

There are exceptions, but the advertisement regulations are complex, so advice should always be sought before erecting a sign or hoarding.

What are listed building owners rights in Conservation Areas? 

Conservation Areas often include a number of listed buildings. 

These are buildings officially identified by the Secretary of State as being of special architectural or historic interest. 

Special controls exist to protect listed buildings and any proposals to demolish, alter or extend these buildings will require special permission known as Listed Building Consent, in addition to any Planning Permission or Building Regulations Approval that may be required.

How do I apply to carry out work to my property or to the trees in my garden?

Please see the Natural Environment page for more information.

Further help and advice

Please contact the Worcestershire Hub 01684 862151 or or alternatively email the Conservation Team developmentplans@malvernhills.gov.uk