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Conservation areas

A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.

Fife has 48 conservation areas. More than 7% of the total in Scotland.

The council is responsible for designating conservation areas, consulting the public over boundary changes, or if a new area is to be designated.

Conservation area appraisals

Most of Fife's 48 conservation areas have a Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan.

The appraisal is a management tool that helps to identify the special architectural and historic character of an area. It provides the basis for the development of a programme of action that is compatible with the sensitivities of the historic area. Also it enables local authorities to fulfil their statutory duties to protect and enhance conservation areas. Appraisals also inform policy and help development control. They provide an opportunity to educate residents about the special needs and characteristics of the area and help developers with their proposals.

Appraisals include an analysis of the historic development of the area, its buildings and townscape, street patterns and open spaces. Other topics can include identifying buildings at risk, and reviewing the effect of existing street furniture and signage. The associated management plan sets out the framework for active management of an area.

You can look at a map of Fife’s conservation areas below. You can do a postcode search to find out if you live in a conservation area, and link to a conservation area appraisal where one has been completed for the area.

Although not a statutory requirement, current Scottish Planning Policy recommends the preparation of appraisals, and guidelines for their format and content are contained in Planning Advice Note 71: Conservation Area Management.

Planning and conservation areas

Planning Permission

Planning permission is required for many alterations, additions and changes of use. However, some work can be carried out without planning permission; this is referred to as ‘permitted development’. Within conservation areas, fewer alterations are permitted development and most changes to the outside of a building, including changing the colour, require planning permission. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992 (as amended) sets out the requirements for planning permissions.

If you believe your building work is ‘permitted development’ and doesn’t need planning permission, you can apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness. This is a legal document from the Council which confirms that the development is lawful.

General Principles

Designation of a conservation area does not mean development is prohibited. However, when considering development within a conservation area, special attention must be paid to its character and appearance. Proposals which fail to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the area will normally be refused. Guidance on what contributes to character is given in the conservation area character appraisals. The aim should be to preserve the spatial and structural patterns of the historic fabric and the architectural features that make it

significant. Preservation and re-use should always be considered as the first option. Interventions need to be compatible with the historic context, not overwhelming or imposing. Without exception, the highest standards of materials and workmanship will be required for all works in conservation areas.

What other consents might be required?

Listed Building Consent

Conservation areas generally contain a relatively high number of traditional and listed buildings. Listed building consent is required for works affecting the character of listed buildings, including the interior and any buildings within the curtilage or boundary. Planning permission may also be required in addition. If your building is listed, the Listed Buildings Guidance should be followed.

Advertisement Consent

Advertisements are defined as any word, letter, model, sign, placard, board, notice, awning, blind, device or representation, whether illuminated or not, and employed wholly or partly for the purposes of advertisement, announcement or direction. While many advertisements require permission, certain types do not need permission as they have “deemed consent”. You can check this by consulting The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (Scotland) Regulations 1984.

You can contact us regarding conservation areas here