Conservation Areas

Conservation [1]


A Conservation Area is defined as an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.

Historic areas are recognised for the contribution they make to our cultural inheritance, economic well-being and quality of life. Public support for the conservation and enhancement of areas of architectural and historic interest is well established. By suggesting continuity and stability, such areas provide points of reference in a rapidly changing world: they represent the familiar and cherished local scene.

Over 9000 Conservation Areas have been designated nationally since they were introduced in 1967 and there are over 80 in South Somerset.

Maps showing all the conservation areas are included in the Inset Maps attached to the Local Plan

List of Conservation Areas in South Somerset

West Charlton Conservation Area extended

The boundary of the West Charlton Conservation Area, which was first designated in 1990, has been reviewed and amended to include parts of Charlton Mackrell. It is now known as the Charlton Mackrell and West Charlton Conservation Area and the designation took place on 27th August 2015.

What is a Conservation Area?

Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 Act imposes a duty upon local authorities to identify appropriate parts of their areas, to designate them as conservation areas and to keep them under review

The designation is a matter for local planning authority decision and is the principle means by which a local authority can apply conservation policies to a particular area.

The character of a Conservation Area is made up of a combination of many elements. The buildings, their interrelationship and the spaces they create, their variety of styles and details, street patterns, open spaces, walls and trees, vistas and monuments as well as smaller details such as paving, walls, signs and railings all go towards making a place unique and distinctive.

Conservation Areas are important parts of our regional cultural heritage and are valuable assets in terms of the local economy and tourism. Old buildings and historic places enrich our quality of life and help preserve a sense of continuity in a changing world.

Some Conservation Areas have Conservation Area Appraisals describing in detail their character and historic interest. 

Conservation Area Appraisals available.

Alvington Conservation Area Appraisal

Bruton Conservation Area Appraisal

Ansford Conservation Area Appraisal

Castle Cary Conservation Area Appraisal

Chard Conservation Area Appraisal

Crewkerne Conservation Area Appraisal

Higher Flax Mills Conservation Area Appraisal

Ilchester Conservation Area Appraisal

Ilminster Conservation Area Appraisal

Langport and Huish Episcopi Conservation Area Appraisal

North Cadbury Conservation Area Appraisal

Thorne Conservation Area Appraisal

Wincanton Conservation Area Appraisal

The Park (Yeovil) Conservation Area Appraisal

Town Centre (Yeovil) Conservation Area Appraisal

Hendford Hill (Yeovil) Conservation Area Appraisal


It is the quality and interest of areas, rather than that of individual buildings, which should be the prime consideration in identifying conservation areas. There has been increasing recognition in recent years that our experience of a historic area depends on much more than the quality of individual buildings - it is the historic layout of property boundaries and thoroughfares, a particular 'mix' of uses, characteristic materials, appropriate scaling and detailing of contemporary buildings, the quality of advertisements, shop fronts, street furniture and hard and soft surfaces, vistas along streets and between buildings and the extent to which traffic intrudes and limits pedestrian use of spaces between buildings. Conservation area designation should be seen as the means of recognizing the importance of all these factors and of ensuring that conservation policy addresses the quality of townscape in its broadest sense as well as the protection of individual buildings.



Once a survey to determine if an area is of sufficient quality has been carried out, it is necessary to define its special architectural or historic character. Current best practice usually means that a Conservation Area Appraisal needs to be prepared to achieve this as a preparation for the proposal to designate a new or revised area. A schedule of properties affected supported by a carefully prepared map to indicate the boundary is also necessary as the conservation area will become a local land charge. The decision to designate is made by a Council Area Committee.  There is no statutory requirement for consultation but generally those affected will be consulted before a decision is made. South Somerset considers this to be good practice particularly as there is no right of appeal against the decision and the effectiveness of designation relies to an extent upon community support. The designation takes affect from the date of the decision and must be formally advertised in the local press and in the London Gazette.


 Implications of Designation

The local authority is under a general duty to ensure the preservation and enhancement of conservation areas and to prepare proposals to that end (S.72 of the 1990 Act). The provisions for ensuring the repair or upkeep of listed buildings can be applied to unlisted buildings within a conservation area providing the preservation of the building is important to maintaining the character or appearance of the area (S.48-54 of the act).

The designation of a conservation area does not prevent change from occurring altogether.  Instead, designation seeks to manage change in order to enhance conservation areas and ensure that new development makes a positive contribution to the existing character. Extra publicity is given to planning applications affecting a conservation area. The desirability of preserving or enhancing the character of the area must be taken into account, in accordance with local planning policies.

To manage changes, normal permitted development rights (works that can be carried out without planning permission) are restricted. The following is a summary of development associated with dwellinghouses that will require planning permission in a Conservation Area. This is a summary as a guide; the regulations are complex and you are advised to always seek advice from our planning duty officer.

  • All extensions to the side elevation of a dwellinghouse.
  • Two-storey extensions and single storey extensions longer than 4m to the rear of a dwellinghouse.
  • All enlargements to the roof of a dwellinghouse, including the addition of dormer windows.
  • Cladding of any part of the exterior of a dwellinghouse with stone, artificial stone, pebbledash, render, timber, plastic or tiles
  • The erection of any outbuildings situated to the side of a dwellinghouse.
  • The installation, alteration or replacement of a chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe on the principal or side elevation wall or roof slope of a dwellinghouse, where that elevation fronts a highway.
  • The installation of a satellite dish on a chimney, wall or roof slope, which faces onto, and is visible from a highway or anywhere on a building more than 15m high.
  • The installation of solar panels on a wall which fronts a highway.
  • The installation of stand-alone solar panels nearer to the highway than any part of the dwelling or block of flats.
  • Special controls over the location of air source heat pump units, wind turbines, biomass heating flues etc. Seek advice.



Conservation Area designation also gives protection to trees by requiring notice to be given to the Local Authority before any works are carried out to any tree that is over 75mm in diameter. Contact the Council's Tree Officer for advice.


Planning permission is required for the demolition of any unlisted building within the designated area, providing the building is over 115m3 , or to demolish a gate, fence, wall or railing over 1m high next to a highway (including a public footpath or bridleway) or public open space; or over 2m high elsewhere

(Please note that the planning regulations are too complex to be set out in full here and this is a simplified list, so always seek clarification from the Development Control team at the District Council)

The normal permitted development rights can be restricted further by the application of an Article 4 Direction which can be applied to all or part of a Conservation Area and serves to manage small-scale change that can gradually erode the character of a conservation area, such as alterations to windows or the creation of car parking space at the front of a property. Where an Article 4 Direction is applied, planning permission would be required for specified developments, and each case would be determined on its own merits.

Conservation Areas with Article 4 Directions in force



Castle Cary

Yeovil - The Park

Yeovil - Hendford Hill