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Planning constraints

There are a number of constraints that may affect the ability to carry out works to a property.  Further details are available from the links below:

Conservation areas

Local authorities have a duty to designate as conservation areas those “areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character of which is desirable to preserve or enhance”.  Lancaster district now has 37 conservation areas, which range from large, historic urban centres to small, rural villages.

Planning controls in conservation areas:

  • Conservation area consent is required for demolition of buildings
  • Six weeks notice must be given to the Local Authority before any works to trees are undertaken
  • Restrictions on normal permitted development

Further information:

Article 4 Directions

Article 4 Directions remove permitted development rights on specific properties within a conservation area. Article 4 Directions exist for some properties in the following conservation areas:

  • Bath Mill Conservation Area
  • Lancaster City and Castle Conservation Areas
  • Glasson Mill Conservation Area
  • Heysham Conservation Area
  • Westfield Memorial Village Conservation Area
  • Morecambe Conservation Area

Planning considerations for properties covered by an Article 4 Direction:

Permission of the local planning authority may be required for alterations including:

  • Replacement doors and windows
  • Alterations to the roof
  • Painting of the exterior of the building
  • Alterations to boundary walls
  • Other works that affect the external appearance of the building

Further information

Listed buildings

Listed Buildings are regarded as buildings of special architectural or historic interest.  There are three grades - Grade I, Grade II* and Grade 2.  The listing system is now maintained by English Heritage.

Planning controls for listed buildings:

Listed building consent is required for:

  • Any works (this includes even relatively minor works) that would affect a Listed Building's character or appearance.
  • The demolition of any part of a listed building
  • Extensions, including porches, fire escapes, and dormer windows
  • External Alterations, including painting, rendering, re-pointing, guttering and replacing doors or windows
  • Internal alterations to features that contribute to the buildings character, including staircases, fireplaces, wall panelling, doors and woodwork mouldings
  • Minor external fixtures, including satellite dishes, meter boxes, burglar alarms, security lighting, CCTV equipments, door furniture, nameplates, signs and advertisements and central heating or other flues

The above list is not exhaustive, and if you are in any doubt please email  forwardplanning@lancaster.gov.uk or call 01524 582535 or 01524 582340.

Further information:

Tree preservation orders

A Tree preservation order (referred to as a TPO) is an order made by the local planning authority in respect of trees and woodlands. Trees within a conservation area are also protected.

A local planning authority has the power to make a TPO in Part VIII of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 and in the Town & Country Planning (Trees) Regulations 1999.

In the Lancaster district there are approximately 409 TPOs in force.

Planning controls for trees covered by a TPO or located in a conservation area:

A TPO prohibits the following without the prior consent of the local planning authority:

  • Cutting Down
  • Uprooting
  • Topping
  • Lopping
  • Wilful Damage
  • Wilful Destruction of protected trees or woodland

Further information

Contaminated land

People refer to all sorts of land as ‘contaminated’ but Contaminated Land has a legal definition. Commonly when talking about land contamination we mean land that may be polluted by current or previous uses – landfill sites, gas works, former factories, etc. This is quite different from land placed on a public register after detailed consideration and legal decisions.

The public register identifies formal Contaminated Land within the Council’s area. At the present time there are no sites on the Council’s register.

Planning Considerations for Contaminated Land:

National Planning Policy provides that land contamination is a material consideration when determining planning applications.  People involved in developments – applicants, agents, developers, contractors and consultants – will need to consider the issue of land contamination.

Lancaster City Council's Environmental Health Service has produced a Technical Advice Note on Contaminated Land.

Further Information:

Flood risk areas

Lancaster District has a number of areas that are potentially at risk from flooding from either tidal inundation or river flooding.  Flood risk information is compiled by the Environment Agency.

Planning considerations for flood risk areas:

  • Development within areas of flood risk should be avoided unless the costs and environmental impacts of flood defence can be justified.
  • New development should not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere by reducing the storage capacity of flood plains or by increasing run-off.
  • The Environment Agency will be consulted on development in flood risk areas

Further information

Article 3 Directions

An Article 3 Direction removes permitted development rights for most forms of development where an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required. 

There are no such directions in place in the Lancaster District.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Lancaster District covers parts of the Arnside and Silverdale and Forest of Bowland Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Planning considerations for AONBs:

The primary objective within AONBs is to conserve the natural beauty of the landscape.  The City Council intends to do this by resisting inappropriate development and insisting on high design standards for proposals which are approved.

Proposals in areas immediately adjacent to AONBs may have an impact on views into and out of the AONB or generate traffic through an AONB. Development proposals which have a significant adverse effect on an AONB will not be permitted.

The two AONBs are living communities for which rural employment, affordable housing and village shops are of considerable importance. The economic and social well being of communities within the two AONBs will be a major factor in considering development proposals within them.

Further information





01524 5823

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