Section 69(1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 states that the statutory definition of a conservation area is "an area of special architectural or historical interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance".
Torridge District Council's Conservation Areas are regularly under review. Following Government advice reviews are accompanied by a character assessment which forms the basis of a Conservation Area Appraisal. This is a published document that may be adopted by the District Council as supplementary planning guidance. Such an Appraisal will assist in the application of development plan policies and provide a sound, defensible basis for development control and other decisions.
CONSERVATION AREA POLICY
Policy ENV3 of the Torridge District Local Plan Adopted 9th September 2004, 'Development affecting Conservation Areas' states
(1) Development within, a Conservation Area, or affecting its setting or views into or out of the area, will be permissible where:
(a) It preserves or enhances the special character or appearance of the Conservation Area; and
(b) Important features are retained and enhancements are incorporated where agreed; and
(c) It does not involve demolition of important buildings or structures unless it is demonstrated clearly that they cannot be preserved intact and that there is no scope for beneficial use.
(2) Development involving demolition within a Conservation Area will be permitted only where appropriate redevelopment proposals have been agreed and implementation secured within an agreed timescale.
ARTICLE 4(2) DIRECTION
Certain types of permitted development, particularly those applying to dwelling houses, if carried out in an insensitive manner, can have unfortunate effects upon the character and appearance of conservation areas. Torridge District Council has therefore made a number of Article 4(2) directions which controls certain categories of work to dwelling houses in specific conservation areas. Further information on the extent of an Article 4(2) Direction in a specific conservation area is available from the Council's Planning Services Department.
THE EFFECT OF DESIGNATION
(1) Conservation Area consent will be required for the demolition of all unlisted building (other than excepted buildings) in the Area.
(2) Planning applications for development which would in the opinion of the Local Planning Authority affect the character or appearance of the conservation area must be given publicity and representations received as a result of the publicity must be taken into account in determining the application.
(3) The Authority comes under a duty to pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of the area in the exercise of their powers under the Planning acts and Part 1 of the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953.
(4) It is an offence, subject to certain exceptions, to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy any tree in the area except with the consent of the Local Planning Authority.
(5) Permitted development rights in a conservation area are more restricted than in other areas.
(6) The Local Planning Authority is under a duty to formulate and publish proposals for the preservation and enhancement of the Conservation Area.
The information contained in this publication is correct at the time of printing (July 2006). Reviews of conservation areas are ongoing and up to date information on designations, Article 4(2) Directions and other relevant information can be obtained from Torridge District Council, Planning Services, Riverbank House, Bideford, Devon, EX39 2QG.Tel: (01237) 428709. www.torridge.gov.uk
This information was republished in July 2006 following review of original Conservation Area designation documents. A number of minor changes to boundaries have been made to correct previous errors in drafting and interpretation of original boundaries.