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From: Heritage and Environment in Epping Forest District – York Hill, Baldwins Hill and Staples Road, Loughton. Conservation Areas – Conservation Areas Leaflet: 1997

What is a conservation area?

A Conservation Area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. A Conservation Area may be the historic centre of a town or village, an older unspoilt residential area, or an important country house in large landscaped grounds. Conservation Areas are designated by the District Council in recognition of their special character and to protect an important part of our heritage.

What does this mean to residents in practical terms?

Conservation Area designation aims to ensure that the special architectural or historic character of the area is properly preserved and enhanced. Buildings, paved areas, trees, hedges, walls, open spaces and other landscape and architectural features can all contribute to the character of an area.

Designation of a Conservation Area does not mean that changes cannot occur, but rather that any changes should preserve and enhance the special character of the area.

Are there any special restrictions?

There are several special restrictions that apply to Conservation Areas. These are in addition to normal planning controls:

  • The size limit for extending your home without obtaining planning permission is 50m3 or 10% of the house’s original volume, up to a maximum of 115m3.
  • Consent must be obtained from the District Council for the demolition of any building within the Conservation Area – this may also include gates, walls and fences.
  • You must give the District Council six weeks notice in writing before felling or cutting back any tree unless the tree is:
    • dead, dying or dangerous;
    • causing a nuisance in law;
    • a cultivated fruit tree;
    • less than 236mm (9 1/2″) in girth around the trunk when measured 1.5m (4’l0″) above the ground.
  • Some additional restrictions apply to the siting of advertising hoardings or other advertisements and satellite dishes.
  • There are further restrictions in the Staples Road Conservation Area under an Article 4 (2) Direction.

Apart from these special restrictions, the rights and obligations of the property owner are not affected.

Are there any benefits?

Protecting the special character of the area will be of benefit to residents, businesses and visitors alike. The designation of a Conservation Area places a duty on the District Council to pay special attention to the desirability of preserving and enhancing the character and appearance of Conservation Areas in carrying out its planning functions. Enhancement schemes may be prepared and implemented. as resources permit. In special cases, English Heritage in partnership with the District Council may be prepared to give grant aid for the structural repair of specific buildings which add to the special character of a Conservation Area.

Where can I obtain further information?

More detailed information can be obtained by contacting: The Conservation Section, Planning Services: Tel: (01992) 564119.

See also Valid Reasons for Objection to Planning Application