Conservation areas (CA) are designated for their 'special architectural and historic interest'. They vary in character, form and size from a small group of buildings to a major part of a town, but their designation means that they are all worthy of protection as areas of special merit.
Ashford borough has 43 conservation areas. You can find where they are on our interactive map by clicking in the Conservation Area box and can zoom in to street level to see if your property is in one of these areas.
The first conservation areas were designated in 1967 and there are now over 8,000 conservation areas in England. They are designated for their special architectural and historic interest. While individual historic buildings or structures can be 'listed', the conservation areas designation focuses more holistically on particular areas and ensembles of special physical appearance or history.
From time to time, the council must review these areas, and formulate and publish proposals for their continued preservation and enhancement. There are 43 conservation areas in the borough, and Ashford Borough Council is in the process of updating its Conservation Area Appraisals and Management Plans (CAMPs) - updates are planned for several of these through 2017.
The council commissioned independent consultant Tony Fullwood Associates in August 2015 to undertake conservation area reviews in Ashford town centre, Kingsnorth and Woodchurch.
As part of the reviews, a new Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan was prepared for each area, which provide a descriptions of the historical development of the settlement and sets out the important features of the area that should be protected and enhanced.
The benefits of the review are that it will provide a sound basis for decisions on any future developments, help to develop initiatives to improve the area and provide an educational and informative document for the local community. The boundaries of the conservation areas have also been assessed and revised.
The appraisals and the revised boundaries were adopted by the council on 21 September 2016. The documents can be viewed below:
Development in conservation areas is more strictly controlled than elsewhere, the intention being not to prevent change but to ensure that the main features of the area are conserved and that new development respects local character. You will need to apply for planning permission for demolition and for certain alterations which would normally be 'permitted development'. For example, planning permission is required when any of the following are proposed:
This list is not definitive, so if you are in any doubt whether or not you need planning permission, please see our making planning applications page.
The demolition of an unlisted building is a Conservation Area without the permission of the local planning authority is a criminal offence.
Trees contribute greatly to the character and appearance of conservation areas and designation provides a general protection for all trees over a certain size within the area. Visit trees in conservation areas for more information.
More information is available on our Contact Us page