Importance of conservation areas and listed buildings
Jun 24, 2014
Conservation areas and listed buildings are places that are protected by local planning authorities, supported by heritage trusts, which demonstrate a special architectural of historical interest. In many cases these sites are protected by planning permissions which prevent any additional building work to be undertaken on the property or piece of land.
This isn't true all the time, however, and in cases where it can be proven that improvements to the building (like installing oak windows!), can actually enhance the property and improve its longevity, permission is often granted.
This can be a real pain for a lot of people, and we have a great deal of our clients annoyed by the process they have to go through just to install new windows. We hear you! But there's an often overlooked facet to this story that I think many people ignore as it causes them an inconvenience.
Conservation areas and listed buildings are extremely important pieces of our shared cultural heritage. They are as important as the pieces of art that hang in the national galleries; they are snapshots of our past, of artistic expression, technology and innovation.
Conservation areas themselves vary greatly in their nature, ranging from centuries old market towns to remote fishing villages and even a whole city centre. However, it's not just the architecture and the visage of the buildings that makes these areas so important, it's their legacy laid out in the way the roads meander – the cobblestones underfoot, which all contribute to the place's organic character. It is the cherished local 'feeling' that is preserved for generations to enjoy.
Listed building, as you might imagine, are solely the building which have been protected. These can often fall within conservation areas, or can be stand alone properties with their own distinct and important heritage. In the UK around 2.5% of these are of international importance, bringing in a great deal of tourist trade. These places are simply drenched in history and include the phenomenal architecture of Queens' College Cambridge and Buckingham Palace.
Not all of the country’s listed buildings are these grand world renowned structures, however, with over 94% given the classification of Grade II. These places demonstrate special architectural significance, such as the stone cottages you find dotted throughout the countryside, or some of the grand Victorian town houses sat astride wide London streets.
Without an organisation put in place to protect these places, we would lose so much of what makes England and the UK beautiful and unique. These places are part of the rich tapestry that has been woven by this country's wild and varied history! A world without these stunning structures lacks character and colour, and we would hate to see it changed.
Image by Salford City Council