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Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas

This section looks at the special protection that is given to listed buildings and conservation areas. The importance that is given to these buildings and areas has led to the creation of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990; this law provides specific, extra protection for these valuable sites. This means that any development proposal that would affect a listed building or conservation area will also have to be given listed building consent or conservation area consent, in addition to the usual need for planning permission.

More detailed advice can be found within the NPPF here


Any building that has a special architectural or historical interest can be protected as a listed building. When a building is listed, it comes under the influence of the planning system which helps to protect it for the future.

Any person may suggest a building that is considered worthy of listing; this request can be made to your council or to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). This request will then be passed to English Heritage; this is the specialist body that advises the Government on heritage issues and following an investigation, it will provide a recommendation to DCMS on whether it thinks the building is worthy of listed building status.

Any works that would alter the character or appearance of a listed building will always need to receive listed building consent. In some situations, planning permission might not be necessary; if you are unsure, you should always discuss any plans with your local council.


Where there are groups of buildings that contribute to the attractiveness of the environment or have some historical importance, a council may declare a conservation area. On their own, buildings in the area might not be important enough to be given listed building status, but together they are worth protecting.

A council can create (or designate) a conservation area, but it would have publicise its plans before doing so. Once the area is created, there are a number of extra controls the council would have over any new development to make sure that the character of the area is protected. These extra controls include; the need for the council to give consent for the demolition of any building or for works to any tree and there are some restrictions in the permitted development rights available to property owners. These controls are put in place so that the council can meet its duty to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area.

The following websites provide more information on listed buildings and conservation areas:

Department for Communities and Local Government

Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

English Heritage


Laws and Regulations