There are 38 conservation areas in the Lancaster district - areas of special architectural or historical interest and where the existing character and appearance is desirable to preserve or enhance. These areas are varied in character but they all contain buildings, structures or features of historic or architectural value, which combine to create a unique environment. The designation of a conservation area indicates Lancaster City Council's positive commitment to these areas and its intention to preserve and enhance the quality of the environment through positive development rather than no development.
If you own a property in a conservation area, you must make sure that any changes you make to your property through repairs, maintenance or alterations, are in keeping with the character of the building and the area. You should take care to match original materials and methods of construction and avoid damaging or removing features of historic or architectural value. Our conservation officers may be able to advise you and your builder about the most appropriate methods and materials to be used in repairing and maintaining your property.
In a conservation area you may need planning permission for some demolition work, alterations and extensions, which would normally be permitted. That is because we have additional powers under planning law, which help us to achieve the aim of preserving or enhancing. These include:
Policies relating to new development - we require a very high standard of design, which is sympathetic to the existing environment. New development must make a positive contribution to the character of the area.
Control minor development – where normally it would be allowed under permitted development rights, planning permission is required for certain works or changes to buildings, including boundary treatments, within a conservation area.
Control demolition – In conservation areas there is a presumption that buildings, which make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of a conservation area, will be retained. Where other buildings are to be demolished, permission is generally only granted subject to an alternative approved development being ready for construction to replace it.
Protect trees - anyone proposing to cut down, top (reduce the height of) or lop (reduce the canopy of) a tree over a certain size in a conservation area, whether or not it is covered by a tree preservation order, has to give us six weeks’ notice. It is a criminal offence to cut, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or fell any tree in a conservation area without permission. The maximum penalty is a £20,000 fine in the magistrates court, or an unlimited fine in the crown court.
Control advertisements - special restrictions apply to the display of adverts
Control of satellite dishes - special restrictions apply to the erection of satellite dishes
Carry out urgent work - we have the power to carry out urgent work necessary to preserve any vacant building that has fallen into serious disrepair, and to recover the cost from the owner. However, this measure would only be used in exceptional public amenity or public safety circumstances.
For further information and maps, please refer to Conservation Areas – A Guide for Owners and Developers (pdf, 246kb) and our main Conservation web page.
Last updated: 16 January 2018