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Most people will have heard of having to obtain planning permission and/or building regulation approval for alterations or extensions to their property, but many will not know about the further restrictions placed upon them by their local authority if their home is situated within an ‘Article 4 Area’ or ‘Conservation Area’. If your property is located in one of these areas you may find that there are additional steps you must take before making changes to your home.
The first Conservation Areas were designated in 1967 and there are over 8,000 in England today. They are generally designated by the local authority and apply to areas of special architectural or historic interest, including historic towns and cities, fishing and mining villages, 18th and 19th century suburbs and historic transport links. There are additional planning controls over certain works carried out within a Conservation Area, for example, demolition requires separate consent. The designation does not prevent development from taking place, but does require that any works preserve or enhance the historic character of the area, such as ensuring that newly constructed buildings are of a high quality design.
If you live in a Conservation Area you may need permission from the council before making certain alterations to your home. Generally speaking if the changes affect the external appearance of the property or its boundaries consent may well be required. The rules imposed by Conservation Areas are regularly reinforced by Article 4 directions also decided by local authorities.
In 1995 the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development Order) set out the types of works which can be carried out to houses that do not require separate planning permission to be granted, the aim was to ease the burden on the local authorities and to allow home owners to make changes that are not likely to have an unacceptable impact on the area. When this legislation was put in place local authorities retained the power to restrict these rights and under Article 4 of the Order they can remove permitted development rights from certain areas and properties if they feel it is necessary to prevent changes to the buildings in that area.
Changes such as cladding, changes to boundary features, alterations to the roof, inserting windows, adding solar panels or satellite dishes or adding conservatories or other extensions can all require separate planning consent from the local authority, as would full or substantial demolition of a building.
Trees within Conservation Areas are also protected, so if you wanted to carry out pruning or to remove the tree you must give your local authority 6 weeks’ notice, so they have sufficient time to assess the contribution of the tree to that area and whether they need to grant a Tree Preservation Order i.e. a directive protecting the tree and requiring permission to be sought before pruning etc. Fines can be substantial if these rules are not adhered to with a maximum fine of £25,000.00 for cutting down a tree that is protected.
The rules imposed can vary from area to area so if you are unsure about whether any works you are undertaking will require consent it is always best to speak to your local authority before carrying them out.
In 1990, Mrs S instructed her usual Solicitor to draft a will providing for her estate, which included her house, to be left equally to her sons, Bill and Nick. In 2005, Mrs S suffered a fall which caused her to become frailer and more dependent upon Nick, who lived with her.
Owners of leasehold flats are often put off purchasing the freehold in favour of a lease extension when dealing with a short lease or looking to increase the value and marketability of their property.
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