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Designations and constraints

Conservation areas

There are 38 Conservation Areas in the Lancaster district and these have been designated for their architectural or historic interest, the character and appearance of which is desirable to preserve or enhance. The Conservation Areas in the district vary in their character, from the Victorian seaside resort character of Morecambe to the rural character of many villages along the Lune Valley.  To see if your property is within a Conservation Area, please use the Council’s interactive map of heritage assets.

The Council is responsible for designating these areas of architectural and historic interest, and the designation shows the Council’s positive commitment to preserve and enhance the quality of these environments through appropriate development.  If you own a property in a Conservation Area, you are responsible for ensuring that any repairs or alterations are in keeping with the character of 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. The Conservation Team 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 – please contact them on or 01524582360

In a Conservation Area, you may require Planning Permission for some demolition work, alterations and extensions, which would normally be permitted.

  • New development – any new development must make a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the area. For applications for new development, the Council requires a very high standard of design (see policy DM29 and DM38 of the Council’s Development Management DPD).
  • Control of minor development – where normally it would be allowed under permitted development rights, Planning Permission may be required for certain works or changes to buildings, including boundary treatments, within a Conservation Area.
  • Control of development through an Article 4 Direction – where appropriate, the Council may restrict development further through the designation of an Article 4 Direction to protect historic features such as windows and doors which contribute to the architectural interest of the area. Please see further information on the Article 4 Direction page.
  • Control demolition – proposals which involve demolition of a building or structure within a Conservation Area usually require Planning Permission as this may impact the special interest of the area. Where the building or structure makes a positive contribution to the character or appearance, there will be a presumption in favour of its retention (see policy DM38 of the Council’s Development Management DPD).
  • Control of works to 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 (TPO), has to give the Council six weeks’ notice in writing. 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. Please see further information on the Council’s Tree web page.  
  • Control advertisements - special restrictions apply to the display of advertisements, such as externally illuminated signage and lettering.
  • Control of satellite dishes - special restrictions apply to the erection of satellite dishes.
  • Carry out urgent work – the Council has powers to carry out urgent works necessary to preserve any vacant building that has fallen into serious disrepair in the Conservation Area, and to recover the cost from the owner. However, this measure would only be used in exceptional public amenity or public safety circumstances.

Further information

For further information and maps, please refer to the main Conservation web page and the Tree web page

Last updated: 04 July 2023

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