This is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.
There are 31 designated conservation areas in the London Borough of Hillingdon. They range from old village centres and planned residential estates to canal side buildings and historic industrial areas. They have been designated over the 46 years, the first being in 1969 and the most recent in 2012. These are designated under Section 69 of Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
The character of conservation areas extends beyond buildings and includes a range of factors like the design and architectural quality of the buildings, their materials and setting, street alignment, street furniture, public and private open spaces, trees and landscape.
English Heritage advises that 'The assessment of an area's special interest should be made against local criteria. Local distinctiveness and community value, "specialness", in the local or regional context, should be recognised in drawing up the designation criteria'. Based on this, Hillingdon Council has an adopted Criteria for designating Conservation Areas and Areas of Special Local Character [13kb]. The council will consult all residents, stakeholders, local groups and other interested parties prior to designation. The designation would be determined by the council's Cabinet based on the outcome of the consultation, and officer's recommendations.
The council has a rolling programme of historic asset designation. The council will continue to review conservation areas and may from time to time extend existing areas, or designate new ones.
Conservation area policies
Hillingdon's Unitary Development Plan, Saved Policies (September 2007) contains relevant policies to preserve and enhance the Borough's conservation areas.
Policy BE4 states that: "New development within or on the fringes of conservation areas will be expected to preserve or enhance those features which contribute to their special architectural and visual qualities; development should avoid the demolition or loss of such features. There will be a presumption in favour of retaining buildings which make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of a conservation area. Applications for planning permission should contain full details, including siting and design, or replacement buildings. Applications for consent for demolition will depend upon the submission and approval of such details."
Living in conservation areas
Within conservation areas, normal 'permitted development' rights (permission granted automatically for certain works to single family dwelling houses) are restricted, enabling more control over the size, design and location of extensions and alterations.
In conservation areas, in addition to the normal restrictions, planning permission would be required for the following works:
- enlargement or alteration of a dwelling house, if the extension is situated to the side of the house or has more than one storey and extends beyond the rear wall of the original house
- the cladding of any part of the exterior of the dwelling house with stone, artificial stone, pebble dash, render, timber, plastic or tiles
- the enlargement of a dwelling house consisting of an alteration or addition to its roof
- the siting of a satellite dish on the chimney stack or on the roof slope or elevation fronting a road
- installing, replacing or altering a chimney, or installing a flue, biomass heating system or vent pipes on a wall or roof slope on the principal, or side elevation of the dwelling house, or on an elevation fronting the highway
- the construction of buildings (e.g. sheds, summerhouses) or enclosures (e.g. swimming pools) within the curtilage of a house if they are situated between the side of the house and its curtilage boundary
- the installation of solar panels on a wall on the principal or side elevation of the house or if visible from a highway, on a wall of a building within the curtilage of the dwelling house and would be visible from a highway
In the case of newly designated areas, please note that previously approved Certificates of Lawful Development may no longer be valid. You are urged to check with the council and where necessary, apply for planning permission.
Planning permission is required for demolition work of a substantial nature or for the total demolition of single buildings over 115 cubic metres in size. In recently designated areas, this includes demolition covered by unimplemented planning permissions. In general, consent will not be granted for the demolition of buildings, which make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of a conservation area.
Trees and other landscape features may contribute to the special character of a conservation area. There is a requirement to give six weeks notice (a 'Section 211 notice') to the council for proposals to prune, lop or fell a tree in a Conservation Area. This allows time for the council to make a Tree Preservation Order if considered to be appropriate.
The following tree work is exempt from the need to notify the council:
- dead, dying or dangerous trees - five days notice of the works should still be given, unless in an emergency
- council owned trees
- work on trees with a trunk less than 75mm in diameter
- work to a tree less than 100mm in diameter where the works will improve the growth of other trees
The council aims to enhance conservation areas through its own initiatives and by encouragement and advice to owners who may wish to alter or improve their properties.The following will be particularly important:
- extensions or alterations should not be out of scale with the original house, and should respect the property's original design
- side extensions should normally be set back from the original building line
- the original plan of the house should be respected, and there should be a relationship with the original form of the house
- materials and detailing should match the existing property (eg. existing features, window shapes and sizes, brick arches and eaves details)
- boundary treatment should be in keeping with the street scene
- back land development is unlikely to be acceptable
- shop-fronts should be of good quality design with appropriate advertisements and signage
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