What is a Conservation Area?

The Council may designate areas of special architectural or historic interest as Conservation Areas. The aim of this to enhance or preserve the character of such an area. There are 33 Conservation Areas in East Devon, covering parts of the main towns of Exmouth, Sidmouth and Honiton together with the historic cores of many smaller settlements.

How does an area merit this status?

The Conservation Areas vary considerably in size and character comprising a mix of nucleated, linear and scattered developments many containing individual, groups and clusters of buildings 'listed' in their own right as being of special architectural and historic interest. However, it is the quality and interest of the areas as a whole that merits Conservation Area status.

When the Council considers which area should become a Conservation Area it considers the whole area as well as individual buildings and landscape. The factors it considers include:

  • The history of the area
  • The layout of streets, plots and boundaries
  • The mix of land uses
  • Building styles and historic architecture
  • Use of traditional materials
  • Open spaces between buildings
  • Important views within the conservation area and of the conservation area
  • Shop fronts and advertisements
  • Street furniture
  • Landscape and Trees

How is a Conservation Area protected?

A range of additional planning controls exist to ensure that the special qualities and fabric of the designated area are not undermined by the loss or damage of important features or damaged by inappropriate, insensitive developments.

This does not mean that they cannot develop; change is often necessary to accommodate the demands of modern living as our historic towns and village centres are always likely to attract new development. Any development would, however need to preserve or enhance the character of the area and may require planning permission and/or planning permission for demolition in a conservation area.

We are particularly anxious to ensure that any new development through siting, scale, design and use of materials is complementary to the character and makes a positive contribution to the appearance of such areas.

You can check if your property is listed, in a conservation area or in an AONB.

Conservation areas and appraisals

Listed trees are dealt with by out Tree officers.

The countryside team deal with landscape and wildlife conservation issues.