What is a Conservation Area?
A Conservation Area (CA) is defined under the Planning Act 1990 as an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.
Why are Conservation Areas designated?
Increasing pressure from new development, if not properly controlled, could destroy what remains of any area. Designation as a conservation area provides a statutory recognition and protection to such areas. This places a duty on the local authority to ensure that their character and appearance are protected and ensures that any future developments makes a positive contribution to such areas.
Implications for Residents
Successful protection of such areas requires a partnership between the local authority and the residents of such areas. There are thus responsibilities that residents of Conservation Areas must be aware of :
Design Control – there is an enhanced level of control over alterations. Whilst some alterations can be carried out without planning applications it is incumbent on residents to check before carrying out work.
Local authorities must carefully consider applications within Conservation areas and this may require a higher standard of materials to be used.
Control of Demolition – to ensure that there is no loss of value within a conservation area all demolition requests need to be requested of the local authority prior to work commencing.
Protection of Trees – Before any work is carried out to trees, notice must be given to the local authority.
Listed Buildings – Special additional controls exist around Listed Buildings which need to be carefully complied with. There are many listed buildings in Cobham’s Conservation areas.
Shop front and Advertisement Control – Special conditions exist to protect the street scene within Conservation areas.
Elmbridge has set up Conservation Area Advisory Committees (CAAC), comprising a cross section of local people, including representatives of local residents groups and professional bodies concerned with the environment, to advise it on planning applications affecting the character and appearance of the Conservation Areas. Cobham’s CAAC is chaired by Jean Corbett.