Conservation Areas

The first conservation areas were designated in 1967 and there are now over 8,000 conservation areas in England. 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. 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 out 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.

Conservation Area Reviews

From time to time, the council must review the conservation areas, and formulate and publish proposals for their continued preservation and enhancement through a management plan. The adopted Heritage Strategy includes more information on the conservation areas in the borough. At present none of the original Conservation Area Appraisals are publicly available as they are considered outdated, having been produced predominantly in the 1990s. Progress with the delivery of new and updated Conservation Area Appraisals and Management Plans (CAMPS) for all conservation areas in the borough is one of the recommendations of the Heritage Strategy which we are taking forward.

This process started in 2015 when the council commissioned an independent consultant 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 descriptions of the historical development of the settlement and sets out the important features of the area that should be protected and enhanced. The appraisals and the revised boundaries were adopted by the council on 21 September 2016. The documents can be viewed below:

We are continuing the process of carrying out (or facilitating communities to carry out) Conservation Area Assessments and Management Plans for the remaining areas which will be formally adopted.

In 2019, Chilham Parish Council commenced the process for the Conservation Area in Chilham. The Conservation Area and Management Plan was adopted by the council on 16 July 2020. View Chilham Conservation Appraisal and Management Plan [pdf] 6MB.

What impact does being in a conservation area have on my property?

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:

  • Erect or alter a building, such as a garden shed, in the curtilage of a dwelling house which is larger than ten square metres and more than twenty metres from the rear of the dwelling or sits beyond the side wall of the dwelling
  • Install external cladding such as weather-boarding or false stone
  • Install roof dormers
  • Planning permission is required to demolish a building which exceeds 115 cubic metres or to take down any wall, gate or fence which exceeds 1 metre high where it abuts a highway, or more than 2 metres high elsewhere

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 in 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.

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