If you are planning to develop a commercial property in a conservation area, legal advice is essential. If you break the rules, you could find yourself in trouble.
To clarify your responsibilities, contact us and talk to a commercial property solicitor. Call us now on Southport 01704 532890, Liverpool 0151 928 6544 or complete a Free Online Enquiry and we will soon be in touch.
What is a conservation area?
A conservation area is an area of ‘special architectural or historic interest which it is considered desirable to preserve or enhance’. According to Historic England, 2.2% of England is a conservation area, of which 41% is found in urban areas.
What does it mean for commercial development?
Developing commercial property on a conservation area comes with restrictions. These are not as onerous as developing a listed building – although, of course, a property on a conversation area could still be listed. You must check first before carrying out any work, or you could face a hefty fine and other penalties.
Even if the building is not listed, you must still get permission for certain works. This differs to commercial properties which sit outside of conservation areas. Ordinarily, where building work is low-key, you can proceed without planning permission on the basis of permitted development rights. But in conversation areas, permitted development is restricted.
For example, trees in conversation areas are treated as though they have preservation orders attached to them. You will therefore need permission before felling the tree or removing branches. You are also likely to need permission before demolishing a commercial property in a conservation area, or doing anything that could impact its appearance.
Conservation areas intend to preserve the local character of the region. Because of this, signage and advertising can also be subject to strict conditions. You need to be aware of this if you are developing a commercial property, as it may not be a desirable prospect for some business owners.
If you are buying or developing a commercial property in a conservation area, legal advice is highly recommended. There are many rules attached to conservation areas. Local planning authorities also have their own conditions, and can impose further restrictions using a mechanism known as an Article 4 direction.
If you fail to adhere to the rules, you could face a fine or be asked to restore the building to its original condition. This could be costly, both in terms of money and time. To ensure you do not fall foul of the regulations, please contact the commercial property team at Breen Solicitors. We can advise you on your rights and responsibilities.
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