Cheshire East has a duty under present legislation to designate those areas of Cheshire East considered to have outstanding historic or architectural interest. Conservation Areas serve not only to protect the best of the townscape and natural environment but also to illustrate the evolution of Cheshire East and provide an historic framework for future development. The Local Planning Authority is required to keep the designation of Conservation Areas under review.
See list of Conservation Areas currently under review.
The designation of a conservation area does not prevent development taking place, but the Council has to pay particular attention when deciding planning applications; the council has to be mindful of the need to preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the area. Some developments that are normally allowed may need specific planning approval including the demolition of a building or structure. Written consent from the Council is also required for works to any trees.
There are currently 77 designated Conservation Areas in Cheshire East.
Designation and what it means for owners
If you own a building within one of the conservation areas, or within one of the proposed extensions if they are approved, you will require Planning permission for many works of total or substantial demolition. This can include the demolition of larger outbuildings and in some cases, garden and boundary walls. Such structures can sometimes be quite significant in a street scene.
Conservation area designation changes householder ‘permitted development’ rights – that is, the alterations to the exterior of a house that are normally allowed without the requirement for planning permission. Owners within conservation areas have an obligation to obtain permission for various types of façade cladding, dormer windows on the roof and the display of satellite dishes on roadside elevations.
If an extension requires planning permission, it will have to meet an expected standard of good design and be constructed in materials sympathetic to its surroundings. Planning applications will also need to be supported by a heritage statement, identifying the significance of the location and the site and demonstrating the measures that will be taken to protect its character and appearance.
Planning applications within conservation areas must be full applications, not outline ones. Outline applications do not usually offer sufficient information to judge the probable visual impact of a proposal on its surroundings.
You would also be obliged to give six weeks written notice to the Council if you wish to fell a tree within a conservation area or lop branches from it, if it is over a certain size. This gives the Council time to raise a Tree Preservation Order, if the tree makes a contribution to amenity or the street scene.