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Conservation areas

Conservation areas are those of "special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance". We are required to give "special attention" to those areas and their enhancement. Conservation areas are a very important aspect of conserving built heritage.

There are 19 Conservation Areas within the St Albans District.

One of the main purposes of designating a conservation area is to ensure that development proposals preserve and enhance the character of the area. New development in the conservation area is expected to be to a high standard of design to ensure that the character and appearance of the conservation area is preserved or enhanced.

For certain areas within Conservation Areas which are vulnerable from changes which can be conducted without planning permission the council has placed Article 4 Directions on these areas. 

How and when conservation areas are designated Toggle accordion

Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 imposes a duty on local planning authorities to designate conservation areas. The Council, as the Local Planning Authority, is under a continuous duty to consider if it should designate new conservation areas, or extend existing ones. The Council can also remove the designation of an area or part of an area if it loses its special interest.

Find out if you live in a conservation area Toggle accordion

You can find out if you live in a conservation area by using the planning constraints map layer on the Council's District Mapping Service, or from your My St Albans account. 

Conservation Area Character Statements Toggle accordion

Conservation Area Character Statements outline the significance of the Conservation Area and its character and appearance. These documents are used in the decision making process when assessing planning applications. The documents help inform the design of development within the Conservation Area and ensure that change within the Conservation Area preserves or enhances the area’s significance.

Each conservation area has a conservation area character statement:

See separate section below for the St Albans conservation area character statement.

When appraising a conservation area the Council will take into account the factors that create special character within an historic area, for example historic buildings, historic street patterns, layout of property boundaries and thoroughfares; characteristic materials; landscaping and important open spaces; the quality of advertisements, shop fronts, street furniture and landscaping; views along streets and between buildings; and details that provide ‘local’ character and make the area of special interest.

St Albans Conservation Area Character Statement Toggle accordion

Development within the conservation area Toggle accordion

A designated conservation area does not mean that all changes will be prevented; it simply means that the Council must, and will, pay special regard to whether the proposed change will ‘preserve or enhance’ the character or appearance of a conservation area.

However, being in a conservation area does restrict some of the works you can conduct without planning permission. Please see the planning portal website for information regarding permitted development rights. For detailed information on how living in a conservation area may affect you and works which may require permission please see our leaflets Living in a Conservation Area and Conservation Areas: A Householder’s Guide below.

Planning permission is required for relevant demolition within a conservation area. It is a criminal offence to demolish a building within the conservation area without planning permission when planning permission is required.

Some areas within conservation areas have been identified as vulnerable to changes from works which would not require planning. These are called Article 4 Direction areas.