Should I buy a house in a Conservation Area?
There are some wonderful properties in the Conservation Areas in Kent and East Sussex but buyers need to make sure they understand the strict planning rules designed to preserve the character of these locations.
I love character property and would happily buy in a Conservation Area but it’s important you’re aware of the rules and restrictions.
What is a Conservation Area?
The national legislation allowing local councils to designate Conservation Areas (CA) was introduced in 1967 and today there are approximately 10,000 around the UK.
CA’s were introduced to preserve the unique character of a location and can encompass parks, canals, streets and entire town centres or villages as well as areas of surrounding land with the aim of preserving setting. Their importance is not just the buildings, but the street layout and open spaces too, all of which combine to contribute to the character of the area.
They are protected by applying greater restrictions on the nationally applied permitted development rights to properties and works that can be done to trees. While government guidance says new development proposals within a conservation area are to be treated favourably where they preserve or make a positive contribution toward the character and appearance of the conservation area.
Properties within many CA’s are subject to extra local restrictions, known as Article 4 Directions, limiting further what changes the owners can make under ‘permitted development rights’ even as far as controlling the appearance of new windows and what colours a property can be painted.
Locally Authorities are required to regularly review their Conservation Areas, this can result in their extension, new Conservation Areas being created and even for areas to be removed where significant change has occurred to the extent that the original justification for inclusion has gone.
What are the restrictions?
Planning authorities may interpret and enforce a CA in different ways so it is recommended that residents living within a CA engage with their planning department to avoid any unwanted difficulties.
Some of the most prominent restrictions relate to alterations that affect the visual originality of an area. These can include; works to a roof, windows, chimney or even guttering; extensions; addition of satellite dishes or solar panels; repainting; tree felling or even tree maintenance.
This page on Ashford Borough Council’s website is very helpful and provides a clear summary of the rules.
It warns that “The demolition of an unlisted building in a Conservation Area without the permission of the local planning authority is a criminal offence.”
So the key is to check first as even removing a wall, fence or tree may require planning permission.
The Conservation Area in Woodchurch
These photos show how little has changed over the past century at The Pavement in Woodchurch. These pretty houses overlook the village green and are just a hundred yards or so from the historic church.
The Pavement, Woodchurch. From a postcard postmarked 1st July 1910.
The Current Day
The Pavement, Woodchurch. Photographed on 26th October 2021.
Much of Woodchurch lies within a Conservation Area and we always have a buyers looking for a really special location.
Where are the Conservation Areas in our area?
In Ashford, Tenterden and the surrounding villages, there are 43 designated sites.
A record of these can be found on the Ashford Borough Council’s website here. To use this map, navigate to the parish you are interested in and make sure you have ticked “Conservation Area”.
Advantages of buying a property in a Conservation Area.
The most obvious advantage of living in a CA is the reassurance that the charm, character, call it what you will, that you ‘bought into’ when you first fell in love with the house will be protected and the extent of change that is accepted will be more strictly controlled.
This is possibly more applicable in Ashford town than in the surrounding picturesque villages because there are relatively few locations that can boast architecturally significant homes. Owning a home in a CA in town puts you in a relatively exclusive club and will help to maintain its value.
Disadvantages of buying a property in a Conservation Area
If you are looking for a ‘doer-upper’ or have visions of extending and doubling the size of your chosen home, you ought to approach property in a CA with some caution.
I’m not saying it’s impossible to renovate and dramatically extend a home in a CA, but the considerations will be more involved resulting in a few extra hoops to jump through.
This will take additional time and may involve applications to the planning authority. The costs of the works are likely to be more expensive, particularly in terms of the choice of materials that can be used than for another house around the corner and outside the CA.
Are houses in Conservation Areas more expensive?
If you trust Google, you will be led to believe that homes in a CA command a small premium over others. However, a national average is seldom a reliable indicator where local property values are concerned.
Using Ashford as an example and comparing like for like (as best as possible), I have reviewed the price per square foot achieved for homes in and out of a CA. This shows that properties within a CA are worth between 5 to 10% more than the ‘same’ home outside a CA.
Making the same comparison in the villages and countryside is more difficult as direct comparables are few and far between. However, both Alex Davies and Sarah Holgate agree that properties with a CA are likely to command a premium too although this will vary from house to house.
Would I buy a house in a Conversation Area?
Personally, I’d favour an older property with a little more character and possibly a few ailments too, so I would happily buy in a Conservation Area.
But that is the whole point- it’s a very personal decision. You will have your own preferences as to the style, construction, and location.
So the most important thing to remember is not to be put off by the additional rules associated with owning a property in a Conservation Area but to make sure you fully understand them before making an offer.
We are very lucky at Hobbs Parker as our Planning Consultants are experts in this field and available to help our buyers. If you need help or advice do get in touch.
An assessment of the effects of conservation areas on value – this detailed research report was written by The London School of Economics on behalf of English Heritage.
Ashford Borough Council’s website is very helpful and provides a clear summary of the rules regarding development in a Conservation Area.
Hobbs Parker’s Planning Consultant’s team has published a dedicated page explaining how they can help with Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas.
Making the most of your property
Would you like us to send you a quick email when we publish our next article?
These will include tips and advice on how maximum your enjoyment and return on investement from you property.
Other Recent ArticlesView all
Should I put my house on the market before Christmas?
We get asked this every year in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This year’s answer might surprise you.Find out more
Gold award from our clients
Our estate agents team have been awarded Gold for the Best Agent in Ashford by allAgents.co.ukFind out more
Should I buy a house in a Conservation Area?
There are some wonderful properties in the Conservation Areas in Kent and East Sussex but buyers need to make sure they understand the strict planning rules designed to preserve the character of these locations.Find out more
How I nearly made a pig's ear of selling my own house
Have you ever asked for advice and then ignored it? I guess we all have. Hobbs Parker was founded by my great-great-great-grandfather in 1850. My Dad worked here for 42 years and I’ve been working […]Find out more
Post Stamp Duty Holiday: What next for the property market?
When Rishi Sunak announced a temporary Stamp Duty holiday on July 8th 2020 to counter the effects of the Pandemic, homebuyers celebrated the chance to save on buying costs. Was he right to do it? […]Find out more
Wye - Kent's Super Village
So what is it about the village of Wye that creates it’s extraordinary reputation? Unlike many villages in my part of Kent that are equally as pretty and have local facilities, it has a selection […]Find out more
Millie Green - A Review of Ashford
The Kentish town of Ashford is known for many things: the International Station, the Designer Outlet and a plethora of secondary schools. These are all great assets to the town, but at Hobbs Parker we […]Find out more
Stamp Duty Savings - are you buying a house with an Annexe?
“We sell many homes with accommodation that is separate to the principal home but very few buyers are aware of the Stamp Duty savings they may be entitled to.” Alex DaviesFind out more
Very small ski chalet for sale!
It's tempting to take snowing photos of your home when selling it. But is this a good idea?Find out more
How many Ashfords are there in the UK?
Our website contains a database of all the villages, towns and cities in the UK. We combined this data with Google Maps to created this interactive map of all the Ashfords in the UK.Find out more
The 50 Most Popular Villages
Our website is very busy — every day up to 6,000 people visit our website. Many are researching the ideal location for their next home and spend some time reading about the towns and villages […]Find out more
Tips to help you establish a great Wild Garden
If you’ve been watching TV nature and gardening programmes lately, you’ll have seen a lot of interest in wild gardens. There are many advantages to wild gardens: they cover the ground in a beautiful mix […]Find out more
Five Predictions for the Local Property Market in 2021
2020 was a tumultuous year for Hobbs Parker with our estate agency business up by 25% breaking all previous records. Despite the gloomy start to 2021, with further lockdown measures introduced, I anticipate sustained activity […]Find out more
Tips for buyers and sellers when dealing with properties from a bygone era
The first clue upon arrival is the general look of neglect. Tired net curtains hanging at the windows, peeling paintwork, stains from a leaking gutter, a rusty gate opening on to an entrance path overgrown […]Find out more
The 'Race for Space' and house price inflation in 2020
Are rising house prices about more than just the normal supply and demand? With so much talk of the Covid crisis, it’s almost possible to forget about the numerous economic hurdles that affect house prices. […]Find out more
Why Rishi cannot claim all the credit!
What a strange world we live in when sales of houses are going through the roof against a background of a global pandemic. Whilst the Stamp Duty holiday is welcome, this was happening before the […]Find out more
Stamp Duty cut has immediate impact!
The temporary cut is with immediate effect and therefore reduces the cost of a property purchase straight away saving an average of £4,500 for residential property buyers providing they take advantage of it before the holiday comes […]Find out more
Will Netflix and Amazon affect property prices in Ashford?
There has been talk of an Ashford metamorphosis for almost as long as I can remember. The opening of the ‘Missing Link’ of the M20 motorway between Ashford and Maidstone in 1991 would surely bring […]Find out more
Might Estate Agents open first to help rebuild the economy?
A recommendation is reported to have been made in a report written for the Government by Conservative peer Lord Gadhia and Sir Jonathan Symonds, chairman of GlaxoSmithKline. Along with coffee shops and restaurants, Estate Agents […]Find out more
Do virtual tours and viewings work?
While lockdown and movement restrictions mean that buyers are prevented from physically viewing homes for sale, evidence suggests that many buyers are spending more time on property websites and portals to pass the time and […]Find out more
Post-Coronavirus property market predictions
Savills research team recently offered some interesting analysis of what a UK property market recovery could look like post-Coronavirus predicting transaction volumes could be down by up to 45% for 2020 with the greatest impact […]Find out more
Bucking the national property 'downturn'
It is true that we agreed 35 sales during October which we think are good results by anyone’s standards but I can tell you it doesn’t come easily and not without a lot of hard […]Find out more
Why 2019 is the right time to invest in Ashford
“If you have ever wished you’d invested somewhere that has regenerated, you will know that you are already too late.” These are the words of Alex Davies, Managing Director for Hobbs Parker Estate Agents, an […]Find out more
How do you get the best price for your house?
How do you get the best price for your house? Answer: When you put your house on the market for the first time make sure it is at the correct market value — do not be tempted to ask for […]Find out more
Historic Property Auction Particulars -- Mersham 1878
These have been hanging on the wall in our boardroom for as long as I can remember. I recently happened to ‘bump into’ two of the current owners of the cottages when I gave a […]Find out more
Listed Buildings Advice
The market for period property is booming and the older the house or cottage, the more likely it is to be listed. By listing a property, it celebrates a building’s special architectural and historic features […]Find out more
Will your second home also be your pension?
Recent research suggests that the level of income people aspire to retire on each year has increased from £35,000 to £42,000 yet this would require a pension pot of more than £1 million. Evidence shows […]Find out more
Will solar panels increase the value of my home?
As the weather gets colder and darker, and the heating and lights stay on longer, there’s one thing I can predict with even more certainty than the Queen’s Speech broadcasting on Christmas Day. The arrival […]Find out more
Why do kitchens sell houses?
The party is in the kitchen! When we have a party at our house my wife and I spend hours making our living room look nice and then most of the evening trying to get […]Find out more