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Conservation areas

Many of our villages and towns have a special character and appearance which is created by the arrangement of buildings, trees and other elements of the street scene.

Conservation areas are designed to protect these areas and prevent the loss of buildings and features which contribute to the collective quality of the area.

We have the power to designate conservation areas. The criteria is judged against local and regional importance rather than its national importance.

You can download a map of each conservation area within the district or use In My Area to search for your address and check if it is within a conservation area.

Living in a conservation area

A conservation area means that there are extra controls over:

  • demolition
  • trees
  • minor development

Apply for planning permission for demolition and other permissions

Notify us of proposed tree works in a conservation area (online via the planning portal)


You will need to apply for planning permission to demolish a building in a conservation area.


Trees in Conservation Areas which are protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) are subject to the normal TPO controls. But the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 also makes special provision for trees in conservation areas not covered by a TPO.

You will need to notify us of proposed tree works, giving six weeks notice, if you want to carry out work to a tree (with a stem diameter of 75mm or more) within a conservation area.

If it appears that the proposed work may not be appropriate, we may seek to protect the tree by making a Tree Preservation Order. Otherwise we will either:

  • inform you or your contractor that the work can go ahead within the six-week period
  • allow the six-week period to expire, after which the work may go ahead

Once approved, work may be carried out up to two years from the date on which the initial notice of intention to carry out work was given.

If a tree within a conservation area has to be removed it is usual to require a replacement of an appropriate species in the same general location.

What happens if I carry out work without approval?

It is an offence to remove or carry out work to a tree within a conservation area  without approval. A Magistrate's Court can impose a fine of up to £20000. If the case is referred to the Crown Court an unlimited fine may be imposed.

It is possible to prosecute those who cause or permit unauthorised work, not just those who actually carry it out.

Minor development

Buildings within a conservation area will require permission before making changes which would normally be permitted elsewhere. This is to ensure alterations do not detract or have a negative impact on the area's appearance.

Aspects which will require conservation area consent include:

  • certain types of cladding
  • inserting dormer windows
  • satellite dishes which are visible from the street

This is not an exhaustive list and it is advisable to contact us if you are contemplating work on a property within a conservation area.

More information

  1. Conservation areas (you are here)
  2. Ashton Conservation Area Review