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House design in a conservation area

Getting permission to build in a protected area can often seem more difficult and costly compared to a location without special controls. Architect Julian Owen discusses how to boost your chances of planning success
ADAM SCOTT
Ian McChesney architects (www.mcchesney.co.uk) negotiated extensively with the local planning department for the design of this fivebedroom house positioned in the Sydenham Park conservation area. The result is a timber frame house clad in opaque glass

UK conservation areas were conceived in 1967 in order to preserve and enhance regions of special architectural or historic interest. That’s the official description, which makes it sound rather simple and obvious, but unsurprisingly the reality is a little more complex when it comes to self-building in these zones. More than 50 years after being introduced, they are a well-established feature of the planning system, but individual councils’ interpretation of the phrase ‘preserve and enhance’ differs wildly. So if you’re going to build a new house in a conservation area, then you’ll need to do thorough preparation and research before any design work begins. Here are the main considerations.

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Get the advice and inspiration you need to complete your home building project on time and on budget with the March edition of Build It, including: - How to get more for your money - Is gas central heating energy efficient? - Getting sunroom extensions right - Ultimate guide to garage conversions - Do you need an architect? ... and more!