Conservation Areas
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Conservation Areas

What is a Conservation Area?

Conservation areas are areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.
Conservation areas are designated by the Council, normally after local consultation.

What does designation mean?

Designation is not designed to stop change but rather to make sure that change is managed so that the special character of the area and its setting is preserved or enhanced. To do this the Council has extra controls within conservation areas:

Demolition – Planning permission is required for demolition in a Conservation Area.

New Development – New buildings, extensions and alterations should preserve or enhance the special character of the conservation area and its setting.

Minor development – In conservation areas permitted development rights are restricted. This means that planning permission is required for some works that normally wouldn’t need it, such as small extensions, dormer windows, cladding, some garden structures, satellite dishes and radio masts.

Advertisements – There is also greater control over advertisements and signs in terms of their size and type.

Works to trees – The Council must be notified six weeks prior to any proposed tree works - see the Related Page. 

Click to expandWhat 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’ Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

A conservation area will typically have a concentration of historic buildings, but the area’s character and interest comes from more than just buildings alone. The historic layout of property boundaries and roads, the spaces between buildings, mix of uses, characteristic materials, boundary treatments, shop fronts, views, trees and green spaces, street furniture, colours and textures all contribute to the special character of areas. Conservation areas protect the whole area not just buildings.

Click to expandWhy designate conservation areas?

The Council designates conservation areas to recognise, protect and celebrate areas of special character. Public consultation is normally an important part of the designation process.

Conservation areas are not designated to stop change but to manage change to ensure that what is special about the area is looked after and there for future generations to enjoy.

Click to expandWhere are the conservation areas in Leeds?

There are 78 conservation areas in the Leeds district. Conservation area appraisals and management plans are available for some of them.

Adel – St John’s
Armley Mills
Barwick in Elmet
Beeston Stank Hall
Boston Spa
Bramley Hill Top
Bramley Town
Burley The Village
Calverley Bridge
Central Area Canal Wharf
Central Eastern Riverside
Chapel Allerton
East Keswick
Far Headingley
Farnley Upper Moor Side
Gledhow Valley
Headingley Hill, Hyde Park and Woodhouse Moor
Horsforth Cragg Hill
Kirkstall Abbey
Leeds City Centre
Methley Church Side
Morley Dartmouth Park
Morley Town Centre
Nether Yeadon
Pudsey Fulneck
Queen Square
Rawdon Cragg Wood
Rawdon Littlemoor
Rawdon Little London
Rawdon Low Green
Seacroft Dawson’s Court
Thorp Arch
Tranmere Park
West Park
Woodhall Hills
Woodhouse Blenheim Square
Woodhouse Clarendon Road
Woodhouse Hanover Square
Woodhouse Lane University Precinct
Woodhouse Moorlands

Click to expandHow do I find out if a property is in a conservation area?

​A list of all conservation areas is provided on this page together with a map showing their location in the unitary area along with maps of the individual conservation areas. Please refer to the Conservation areas documents page for the document list.​​

Click to expandWhere can I find out more about conservation areas in Leeds?

​Conservation area appraisals and management plans are available for some of the conservation areas and can be downloaded in pdf form from the conservation area appraisals webpage.

The appraisals set out what makes is special about the area and briefly describes the historic development of the place. The management plan identifies ways that the special character can be preserved or enhanced in the future.

Click to expandHow does a conservation area affect my property?

Conservation area designation is not intended to stop change but to manage it to make sure that the special character of the area and its setting is protected or enhanced. To do this the Council has stronger controls in conservation areas than elsewhere. The details are complex but there are stronger controls over demolition, new development including extensions and alterations to existing buildings, advertisements and works to trees.

Property owners are encouraged to retain and repair surviving historic features and replace inappropriate and poorly detailed replacement fittings and fixtures.

Click to expandDo I need consent to demolish a building or structure in a conservation area?

Conservation Area Consent is needed for most demolition in a conservation area. Demolition has been defined by the courts as the removal of all or almost all of a structure. The exceptions to this are listed buildings that are separately controlled through listed building consent, buildings under 115m3 and gates, walls and fences less than 1 metre high fronting a highway or less than 2 metres high elsewhere. Where the building or structure to be demolished makes a positive contribution to the character or appearance of the conservation area the Council is unlikely to give permission for its demolition.

Click to expandHow does being in a conservation area affect new development proposals?

Any new development, including new build and extensions and alterations to existing buildings, in a conservation area will need to demonstrate that it preserves or enhances the special character of the area. This does not mean that all new buildings have to be exact replicas of past styles. Poorly designed and detailed pastiche development can be as eroding to special character as development that shows no regard for its setting.

The Council welcomes innovation and imagination in design and recognises that the evolution of places is what creates the richness of the historic environment. It is important to provide a contribution from our own time that is also rooted in its location.

Successful new development in historic areas will:

  • Relate well to the geography and history of the place and the lie of the land;
  • Sit happily in the pattern of existing development;
  • Respect important views;
  • Respect the scale of neighbouring buildings;
  • Use materials and building methods which are as high in quality as those used in existing buildings;  
  • Create new views and juxtapositions which add to the variety and texture of their setting.

Cabe and English Heritage, 2001, ‘Building in Context: New development in historic areas’

Click to expandHow are advertisement controls changed by being in a conservation area?

Stricter rules apply in conservation areas regarding the type and size of advertisements that can be erected without advertisement consent.

Click to expandAre trees in conservation areas protected?

Trees are an essential part of the character of most conservation areas. The most important may be specifically protected by Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) but conservation area designation gives some control over most of the rest. The exceptions are trees which are dying, dead or dangerous; cultivated for fruit; or whose trunks are smaller than 7.5cm in diameter.

Any proposed works to trees must be notified to the Council at least 6 weeks in advance. This gives the Council time to assess the contribution the tree makes to the character of the conservation area and decide whether to control the proposed work through making a TPO.

More information about tree works can be found on the tree management webpage.

Click to expandHow can I get the right advice?

Due to the need to make sure that development in conservation areas is of a high standard, it is recommended that all but the simplest work is handled by a suitably qualified professional with appropriate experience. The links provided give contacts for finding an architect or chartered surveyor.

Click to expandWhat should I do if I notice unauthorised work being carried out in a conservation area?

If you are concerned that unauthorised works are being carried out in a conservation area then you should contact the Council’s Enforcement Section who will investigate the case and take the necessary action which may involve negotiation, serving enforcement notices or instigating prosecution proceedings as appropriate.

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