Under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 local authorities have the power to designate as conservation areas, any areas of 'special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.'
Designation gives control over certain types of demolition or alteration to buildings, and provides the basis for policies designed to preserve or enhance aspects of character or appearance that define an area's special interest.
To find out whether planning permission is needed for works within a conservation area, or to make an application, please visit the Development Management pages.
Conservation Areas within Stafford Borough
There are 30 Conservation Areas in Stafford Borough. The designated boundaries and Conservation Area Appraisals for each can be viewed via the following: List of Conservation Areas.
Conservation Area Appraisals
Under Section 69.2 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Local Planning Authorities are obliged to review their Conservation Areas in order to justify their future status, and make amendments to boundaries where considered necessary.
The conservation areas of Meaford and Burton Manor Village are currently under review and will be subject to public consultation in due course.
Article 4 Directions
Planning legislation allows certain minor developments, including some alterations, extensions and improvements to buildings, to be carried out without the need for planning permission. Such work is known as 'permitted development'.
Within certain areas, including conservation areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB’s), these permitted development rights are automatically reduced so that more work requires planning permission. However, they are not removed altogether and a significant amount of development can still be carried out without the need for planning permission. Experience has shown that such work can have a significant impact on the character and appearance of conservation areas.
An Article 4 Direction can therefore be introduced to reduce permitted development rights further, Stafford Borough currently has three Article 4 Directions in place in Stone, Eccleshall and Burton Manor Village. The type of direction, applicable only to conservation areas, Article 4(1) Direction and the legislation has changed and takes away certain permitted development rights for works which affect elevations where they front a ‘relevant location’ (unless otherwise stated); a ‘relevant location’ comprises a highway, waterway or open space. The result of the Directions is that any works covered by them require planning permission and the submission of a formal planning application. There would be the usual right of appeal against any refusal of permission, or the imposition of conditions.
The intention of Article 4 Directions is not to prevent all change, but to ensure that any significant changes are subject to planning control, thus allowing for public comment on the proposals and for us to assess their impact on the character and appearance of the conservation area.
Examples of some alterations which will likely require planning permission as a result of the Article 4 Directions include the following:
- Extensions and enlargements;
- Demolition and/or erection of outbuildings within the curtilage;
- Alterations to windows and/or their replacement (including cills, lintels, headers and external joinery);
- Alterations to doors and/or their replacement (including lintels, headers, doorcases, external joinery and door furniture);
- Alterations to roofs and/or re-roofing (also includes installation of roof lights or roof dormers);
- External rendering or re-rendering;
- The demolition or erection of porches;
- The replacement of cast iron guttering with plastic, or the addition of new guttering and downpipes;
- The erection, or alteration, of fascia boards;
- The alteration, erection, rendering, or removal, of chimneys;
- The erection, alteration, rendering, or removal, of boundary walls, fences, or railings;
- The external painting of buildings, which includes brickwork, render, windows and doors. This also extends to outbuildings and boundary treatments;
- The installation of solar panels or wind turbines on a building or within its curtilage.
This is not a comprehensive list, and other developments may still require planning permission, listed building consent and building regulation approval, as before. Like for like repairs do not usually require planning permission, however dialogue with the Conservation Officer is recommended prior to carrying out works for additional guidance and clarity on any requirement for consent.
Currently, there are three Article 4 Directions designated within Stafford Borough.
- Stone Article 4 and guidance on its application
- Eccleshall Article 4 and guidance on its application
- Burton Manor Village Article 4
What is required under an Article 4 Direction?
Stafford Borough Council has adopted the following aims with regards to proposals made as a result of an Article 4 Direction:
- To retain all historic architectural detail where it survives;
- To encourage the reinstatement of such detail where it has been lost.
- To prevent any further erosion of the special architectural and historic character of the conservation area.
Materials and features which are original must be kept and repaired, or replaced in replica if beyond repair. Where unsympathetic alterations have taken place in the past, the requirement under the Article 4 Direction is to reinstate the original materials and features as opportunities to do so arise.
In order to establish the accurate design and detailing of lost features, so that reinstatements are as accurate and authentic as possible, properties within the same terrace or those of the same design nearby should be examined. Neighbouring properties may still have the original windows, doors or boundaries, for example, and evidence such as redundant sockets in plinth walls and paths might indicate where metal railings and gate posts once were. Historic photographs are also very useful points of reference.