Its local history month and below we have provided a blog regarding Conservation in Architecture, it’s background, what it means and how it can affect your home.
Essentially, conservation in architecture is either a statutory requirement or a personal choice to preserve a building’s style, heritage, character or materials, and seeks to protect it’s status or character by avoiding it being altered through removal, maintenance or alteration.
What it means
There are three main reasons for conservation to play a role in a building’s setting, which are by no means exhaustive:
1. Conservation can refer to an area of a locality. A conservation area is generally put in place to preserve it’s character, for instance if the street is tree lined, to preserve those trees or other architectural street scene features such as natural stone public footpaths, ornate street lamps etc. The reason for this area to be designated as a “Conservation Area” is because of it’s local historical importance.
2. If we go one step further, the conservation in a building’s setting, could refer to it being listed, which is a statutory list which seeks to protect the individual building. In such a scenario, the building is described in the listing in great detail, picking out important architectural features. In such a scenario, the building is outlined as locally and historically important.
3. In other cases, the term conservation in a building could also be applied to a person’s choice. For instance, peeling off “backer board” on an internal door that reveals wood paneling, or taking off the plaster on your chimney to discover an original fire place. Bringing these features back to life in your home is essentially “conservation”.
How can it affect my home?
Your home may fall in one or all three criteria noted above.
Your home maybe in a Conservation area. This means that for most things which are generally allowed in concessionary settings, such as constructing an out building, you may need planning permission to do so, so what ever changes you make are not “harmful” to the Conservation Area’s character. Trees are often protected in Conservation areas with Tree Preservation Orders, and where they are not, in most cases requires prior approval before any work can be carried out to them, i.e. “pruning” or complete removal.
For guidance on permitted changes to your home – when not in a Conservation area – see link to the Interactive House, which outlines Permitted Development Rights for a householder.
If your building is listed, you will be limited to what changes and alterations you can make to your home. Check whether or not a building is listed using the tools on the Historic England website, using an address search.
Every listing is different, and a listed building will have unique characteristics which formed the basis for its protected status.
Having a listed building does not mean you cannot extend the home, but it does mean that it may be limited to what can be done and will require specific agreements on complex matters such as the use of materials, building techniques etc.
If your home or future property doesn’t fall in to either of the above, it may be that you would like to protect or repair features of the home.
Often when homes are extended or adapted, we seek to enhance, compliment the existing structure, and that can be achieved by going “uber modern” – which emphasises the original structure – or design and build something “in keeping”, to make it appear that it was always there.
In any case, your building whether new, old, listed or in a conservation area, they all have a place in history.
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