On March 2018, Colchester’s Local Planning Committee approved a six-week formal public consultation on the designation of a new Conservation Area (Colchester Conservation Area 5: Mill Field Estate). The consultation period commenced on April 2018 and was completed on June 2018. Following the end of the consultation period, the Local Plan Committee approved the designation of the new Conservation Area in February 2019.
The boundary of the new Conservation Area can be seen on our interactive map and the map below.
The Local Plan Committed also approved the use of an Article 4 Direction for the new Conservation Area in order to secure more effective control over alterations that could alter its distinctive character and cohesive quality.
Residents generally enjoy what are known as “permitted development” rights, which allow certain types of small-scale work to be undertaken to a property without the need to apply to the Council for planning permission.
The effect of an Article 4 Direction is to withdraw certain of the permitted development rights. This means that in future, residents wishing to carry out the work specified in the Direction will need to make and to obtain Planning Permission from the Council, before they can undertake these works.
Planning permission will be required for the following works:
The Direction was made by the Council on February 2019 and comes into effect on the date this Notice is served on the date that is served to the owners/occupiers of the dwelling/houses within the new Conservation Area. In accordance with article 6(7) of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, the direction shall expire at the end of six months from the date upon which is made unless confirmed by the Authority before the end of that six-month period. The Authority desires to confirm the Direction before the end of the six months but any representations that you wish to make will be taken into account before the decision whether or not to confirm the Direction is made.
Representations should be made in writing within 28 days of the Direction coming into effect.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org with the reference “Article 4 Direction-Mill Field Estate CA” in the header.
According to Section 69(1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Conservation Areas are “…areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.”
The special interest of Conservation Areas does not relate only to buildings; other features such as the historic layout, paths and boundaries, paving materials and street furniture contribute to its unique and distinctive character that merits protection.
There are 25 Conservation Areas in Colchester which can be viewed in our interactive map.
Conservation Areas have extra planning controls and considerations applied to them in order to preserve or enhance their character and protect their setting.
A common misconception is that these controls do not allow a Conservation Area to evolve and develop to the detriment of those who live and work within it. However, these constraints do not aim to prevent any change within the Conservation Area but manage it in a manner that preserves its special interest.
Owners of buildings within Conservation Areas are encouraged to repair and maintain their properties without loss or damage to their character or integrity. Repairs should be considered as the preferred option, with replacement only where it would enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area. Historically correct solutions should be adopted, using appropriate design, materials and construction methods to match the original.
The protection of a Conservation Area’s character is mainly carried out through the development management application process, the use of good design and managed change.
Planning Permission is required for new development such as the erection of new buildings or extensions within the Conservation Area. Under Section 72(1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Local Planning Authorities have a duty to 'pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of that area' when considering these applications. The proposals will also be advertised more widely than usual with adverts placed in the local paper and a site notice placed outside the property and Their impact on the special architectural and historic character of that area will be a material consideration for decision of the application.
Planning applications in Conservation Areas should be accompanied by sufficient details to enable the impact of the proposed development on the character of the conservation area, to be assessed. This includes details of scale, massing, design and materials of buildings and their relationship to existing buildings and the impact on their setting. Applicants are required to describe the significance of all assets affected by development, proportionate to the proposal. This should be done through Heritage Appraisals and Impact Assessments or as part of a Design and Access Statement.
Permitted development rights (works that can be carried out without planning permission) are slightly different in Conservation Areas when compared to other areas. According to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted
Development) (England) Order 2015, planning applications are required for some forms of development which would not need such applications outside Conservation Areas, such as some residential changes like two-storey extensions, addition of stone cladding, insertion of dormer windows etc. Further restrictions apply to properties that are non-domestic buildings, flats or listed buildings.
Other rights can be removed by additional special controls called 'an Article 4 Direction'. These controls are specifically tailored to protect key features that contribute to the Conservation Area’s special character. When a Local Planning Authority decides that an Article 4 Direction should be made then it must consult the public and take into account the views of residents and property owners prior to deciding whether to pursue the direction. The areas which are covered by an Article 4 Direction within Colchester can be found in the Council’s interactive map
Certain categories of advertisement which have ‘deemed consent’ under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 2007 are restricted within Conservation Areas. Further clarification and advice can be obtained from the Planning Department.
Within Conservation Areas trees are given special protection. Written application for consent must be made to the Council giving six-weeks notice of intent to top, lop, or fell a tree over 75mm (3 inches) in diameter, measured at 1.5 metres above ground. This period of six weeks must be given for the council to either approve the application or to serve a Tree Preservation Order.
For this reason, planning permission is required for the substantial or total demolition of certain buildings exceeding 115 cubic metres and the demolition of a boundary wall or fence over a metre high where it fronts an highway or two metres in height to the side or rear of the property. Exceptions apply and therefore advice should be sought from the Council prior to making an application.
The protection and enhancement of Conservation Areas is part of the Council’s planning policy , as set out in the Core Strategy policy UR 2: Built Design and Character Development Policy DP14: Historic Environment Assets of the Adopted Local Plan 2001-2021.
People value conservation areas for their distinctiveness, visual appeal and historic character. Research by the London School of Economics and Historic England has found that this value is reflected in the price of properties in Conservation Areas.
Additional clarifications can be provided from the Council’s Planning Department. If you have specific proposals that you wish to discuss prior to a planning application, the Council offers a service of Pre-application Advice.