About conservation areas


Conservation areas can be defined as "Areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance".

We are fortunate to have many fine buildings and areas within the borough which are distinguished by their architecture, landscape and history, creating an attractive environment that often is the product of several different eras.

Conservation areas are important examples of our social, cultural and aesthetic history and must be safeguarded against indiscriminate or ill-considered change.

Maps of conservation areas

Current maps of Conservation Areas in the Borough can be found on https://maps.reigate-banstead.gov.uk/ if the Conservation Areas tab is ticked under the Heritage map category. (Due to Conservation Area boundaries being reviewed and updated, documents such as the DMP, Conservation Area Appraisals and other documents only represent the boundaries at the time of their publication and should not be relied upon for the current location and extent of the Conservation Area boundaries or designations).

These areas often contain Listed Buildings.

However, it is not always enough to protect these buildings in isolation. Their surroundings and general environment are often of equal importance and conservation areas are intended to protect that environment. We have a responsibility to ensure that the character of these areas is not diminished in our lifetime.

Draft Conservation Area Character Appraisals

If you would like to view any of the current Draft Conservation Area Character Appraisals, please download the appropriate PDF from the download page below. All the Conservation Area Appraisals are at draft stage and have been approved by Planning Committee for consultation. Consultation will take place in Spring 2016 but if you have any comment please contact the Conservation Officer.

Living in a conservation area

The designation of a conservation area indicates the Council's positive commitment to these areas and its intention to preserve and enhance the quality of the environment.

However, conservation areas are not open-air museums but living communities which must be allowed to change over time in order to remain vital and prosperous.

Consequently the emphasis is to guide and control development rather than to prevent it. It is important though, that all new development should be sympathetic to the special architectural and aesthetic qualities of the area, particularly in terms of scale, design, materials and space between buildings.

The Council has statutory powers to control changes within conservation areas and these are summarised as follows:

Demolition of buildings

Conservation Area Consent is required for the demolition in whole or part of most buildings and structures, including walls and outhouses. If demolition is being considered then advice should be sought from the Council.


If you wish to fell, lop or top or uproot trees within a conservation area, you must give the Council six weeks notice in writing. It is an offence to carry out the work within that period without the consent of the Council.

Satellite dishes

The siting of a satellite dish on the chimney stack or on the roof slope or elevation fronting the road requires consent from the Council.

Design of new development

The Council has the power to require a very high standard of design which is sympathetic to the existing environment. New development must make a positive contribution to the character of the area.

In view of this the Council can require additional information in support of any planning application showing how the proposal will relate to the conservation area. This can mean the submission of elevations of adjacent buildings, full details of the proposal and examples of materials and colours. Usually only a fully detailed planning application will be considered, which should be accompanied by a design statement.

The Council must advertise all planning applications affecting the character of conservation areas both on site and in the local paper.

More information can be obtained by using the contact details above.

External alterations to buildings

Planning permission is generally required for replacement of windows and other external changes to buildings in the Borough’s Conservation Areas as there are no permitted development rights for commercial buildings and flats and Article 4 Directions have been served on most Conservation Areas in the Borough controlling external changes to dwelling houses.

The success of the conservation areas

The ultimate success of conservation areas will depend upon the care which individual owners take with the maintenance and repair of their properties and in any alterations or extensions they make.

For example original windows and doors should be repaired where possible, or replaced with new ones to match the originals in terms of materials used and details of their design. Cumulatively, even small changes can detract from the special character of an area.

If you would like to make any changes to your property or require further information please contact us.

Applying for planning permission

To apply for Conservation Area consent, you need to complete an application form.

You can download an application form from the planning application forms page.

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