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Living in a Conservation Area

What is a Conservation Area?

A Conservation Area is defined as:

"An area of special architectural or historic interest, the character of which is desirable to preserve or enhance"

Usually this constitutes the ’historic core’ of an area. It will probably itself contain a number of listed buildings, which have their own individual protection.

Most buildings within a Conservation Area may be unlisted, but are still important. They can provide the setting for buildings that are listed. They can enclose interesting spaces or form a group in their own right.

Babergh Mid Suffolk District Council has 60 Conservation Areas in total. For these, there are Conservation Area Appraisals adopted by the Council.

What makes up a Conservation Area?

It could be the number of listed buildings there. But Conservation Areas can contain other special characteristics, such as:

  • the way in which the buildings are grouped - in clusters, around greens, enclosing squares or market places. This can also include in rows which are formal or of an interesting mix of types or styles
  • the variety or special unity of the buildings, of which only some, or even none are listed
  • the spaces themselves - such as winding streets, green islands, or streets that focus at one/both ends on characterful buildings. These may be listed structures such as a church, or unlisted buildings with walls of brick and flint
  • street furniture - such as pumps, railings, sign posts and paving materials
  • soft landscaping, which can act as a foil for the buildings or become focal points in their own right. These range from oak trees, to grass verges, hedges or formal gardens

What does it mean to live in a Conservation Area?

Living in a Conservation Area means that a property owner is subject to more planning restrictions than usual.

The status given to the area is a recognition of its special character and is something to take pride in. Even if your building is not individually listed as being of special historic or architectural interest, it may have many interesting features.

These features could include traditional materials or local building details. Your building could also be part of a group of buildings that together, have a special visual quality.

This means that it will be rewarding to take care over any alterations - both visually and financially. Alterations could include:

  • the roof
  • walling materials
  • doors or windows
  • colour schemes

Remember that once an interesting feature is lost, it may be impossible or very expensive to recreate it.

Check to see if your property is located within a Conservation Area by using our interactive map

Article 4(2) Directions

Permitted development rights may be removed by the Council if Article 4(2) Directions is applicable. These directions allow for the control of additional minor works, such as:

  • door or window replacements
  • porches
  • other small extensions

The removal of these rights means that planning permission is needed to carry out these works. However, the applications are free. There are two Conservation Areas in Babergh and Mid Suffolk where Article 4(2) Directions apply. They are in Felsham and Glemsford.

Direction made under Article 4(2) - Felsham

Direction made under Article 4(2) - Glemsford

Permitted development rights can also be removed by the conditions of a planning permission.

Trees in Conservation Areas

Conservation Area status provides trees within the area special protection.

For more information, visit our Trees section

View our interactive map to find trees within Conservation Areas that have Tree Preservation Orders.