DO YOU REALISE THAT YOU MAY LIVE IN A CONSERVATION AREA?
The first Conservation Area in England was first designated in 1967 and according to English Heritage, there are now over 8000. A conservation area can be defined as a tract of land that has been awarded a protected status, due to either its natural features, its cultural heritage or its ecological value, to ensure that it is protected for years to come.
Wigston has five locally designated conservation. The areas designated for protection within the Borough are deemed to be particularly good examples of special architectural and historic interest, which are not only to be protected but enhanced also.
The legislation on Conservation Areas is contained in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. The act does define a conservation area as an “area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve and enhance”.
The 5 Conservation Areas within the borough are:
The Lanes Conservation Area designated in 1981
All Saints Conservation Area designated in 1977
Midland Cottages Conservation Area designated in 1989
South Wigston Conservation Area designated in 1989
Spa Lane Conservation Area designated in 1989
There are, however, some limitations to living in one. These properties can have restrictions and related maintenance costs, but most people find that these are outweighed by the benefits of owning your own piece of history.
Once an area has been given conservation area status, the local authority develops and enforces policies as to how the desirable features of the area should be preserved or enhanced. Thus, the policies will vary from one such area to another, and indeed can vary over time as new guidelines or restrictions are introduced (in consultation with local residents).
If your home falls into a conservation area, there will be restrictions as to what you can do to it, as far as it affects the appearance of the outside of your property. These restrictions will be particular to your individual zone, which will have its own character. Because of the restrictions, any improvements, extensions or repairs you make are likely to take more time, involve more paperwork, and cost more money.
Most of the guidelines are open to interpretation, especially since they often concern matters of taste. If you are planning something it pays to check in advance: