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Conservation Area Character Appraisals

Conservation areas are “areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance” . They are designated by the local planning authority using local criteria.
Conservation areas are about character and appearance, which can derive from many factors including individual buildings, building groups and their relationship with open spaces, architectural detailing, materials, views, colours, landscaping, street furniture and so on. Character can also draw on more abstract notions such as sounds, local environmental conditions and historical changes. These things combine to create a locally distinctive sense of place worthy of protection.
Conservation areas do not prevent development from taking place. Rather, they are designed to manage change, controlling the way new development and other investment reflects the character of its surroundings. Being in a conservation area does tend to increase the standards required for aspects such as repairs, alterations or new building, but this is often outweighed by the ‘cachet’ of living or running a business in a conservation area, and the tendency of a well-maintained neighbourhood character to sustain, or even enhance, property values.
The first conservation areas were created in 1967 and now over 9,100 have been designated, varying greatly in character and size

A few examples of our work can be seen in the gallery below. More information on some of the character appraisal work can be found on individual project pages.

Over the last 20 years the Trust has been involved in assisting local authorities with the creation of character appraisals and conservation management plans for conservation areas throughout the region. Some of these have been as stand alone pieces of work, updating the information held by the Councils and used to guide works undertaken in a given area, and some as part of a bid for funding for work that the authority would like to do in a historic area, perhaps as part of townscape or conservation area improvement works.
Conservation areas vary in size and complexity, but all add to the interest and historic merit of an area, and the ability to identify what is special and therefore in need of protection for future generations is key.