Conservation areas

A conservation area is an area of special architectural character and historic interest which is protected by law against certain changes. Unlike listed buildings, which are designated by Historic England, conservation areas are appointed and managed by the local council. 

Find out more about conservation areas on the Historic England website

Living in a conservation area

Because conservation areas are subject to additional planning controls, if you live in a conservation area, you will need planning permission for the following alterations. 

  • roof extensions
  • cladding with render, stone, timber, tiles, plastic, or any other material
  • side extensions
  • rear extensions of more than one level
  • satellite dishes and radio antennae - any that are visible from a highway and on buildings over 15 metres in height
  • demolition of unlisted buildings over 115 cubic metres
  • demolition of walls, gates and fences which are
    • one metre or above and next to a highway – including a public footpath or bridleway, waterway or open space
    • two metres or above elsewhere
  • tree works – you need to give us six weeks’ notice if you want to cut down, top or lop a tree in a conservation area
  • advertisements, including illuminated signs on business premises and hoardings around development sites
  • new developments – they must make a positive contribution to the character of the area

Flats, regardless of being in a conversation area or not, have limited permitted development rights.

Article 4 Directions

Sometimes, certain works that would usually require planning permission can call under a General Permitted Development Order (GPDO), meaning they do not need planning permission. This usually applies to works that are unlikely to have an impact, such as addition of driveways, conservatory extensions, or antennae and satellite dishes. 

However, in some conservation areas, GPDOs are voided by legislation called an Article 4 Direction, which allows the council to have greater control over building works in the area. 

Appraisals and management plans

For each conservation area, we create an appraisal document which outlines the character of the area, including its design features, green spaces, and particular areas of beauty or interest. In general, it covers:

  • the special characteristics of a conservation area
  • how these are managed by the council
  • how we maintain and improve their historical character. 

The management plan details the council's role in:

  • how these areas are maintained
  • where there are areas for improvement
  • guidelines on new development and how we encourage it to enhance or preserve the area in question

These documents are freely available for access and can be downloaded below. 

Great Weston

The Great Weston conservation area was created in 2018, and brings together the properties and streets previously in the Birnbeck, Melrose/Grove Park, Boulevard and Montpellier, Beach Lawns and Ellenborough Park conservation areas. It also includes properties and streets in Weston town centre, the Whitecross area, Milton Road Cemetery and the Bristol Road Lower area.

The Great Weston Conservation Area has four separate character areas:

  • Seafront
  • Town centre
  • Hillside
  • Whitecross.

Area appraisals and management plans have been created for all areas, and are available to download below. 

Banwell and Churchill

The conservation area appraisal and management plans for both Banwell and Churchill are available on request by emailing